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Damage Car Paint: 25 Common Causes You Need to Avoid

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by Peter Morris
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Each and every car owner takes great care in how their car looks and the paint on the car is a vital component of that. It’s what people initially notice, and it greatly affects how appealing the vehicle looks.

But it’s not always simple to keep the car paint looking new. Your car may experience paint damage by a variety of things, some of which are evident and others of which are surprising.

This post covers the 25 common causes of car paint damage that you should avoid. Additionally, we’ll offer advice on how to keep the car paint glossy and appealing while defending it from these destructive elements.

What Takes Paint Off a Car?

Car paint is more delicate than it first appears; it’s a finely balanced mixture made to stick to the car’s paint surface, withstand the elements, and look good for years.

However, some things or situations, such as extreme weather conditions, abrasive materials, harsh chemicals and even some things that seem harmless, can cause the car paint to degrade, fade or peel. Let’s look into some of these common causes of car paint damage.

25 Typical Factors That Lead to Car Paint Damage

These are the frequent reasons why car paint is damaged:

1- Brake Fluid on Car Paint

Although brake fluid is necessary for the proper operation of your car’s braking system, it’s not the friendliest substance for car paint. The majority of brake fluids are corrosive and glycol-ether based.

Brake Fluid on Car Paint

Brake Fluid on Car Paint

They may chip away at the clear coat’s protective coating if spilled on your car’s paint, eventually causing the paint to peel or get discolored. It’s crucial to wash any brake fluid spills from your automobile as soon as possible with a mild detergent and some water.

Also Read: Brake Cleaner on Car Paint: Damage and Dangers

2- Bird Droppings on Car Paint

Being ready for unforeseen problems with your car’s paint is essential. One such issue that can happen is discovering bird droppings on your car’s exterior.

Bird Droppings on car paint

Bird Droppings on car paint

Bird droppings should not be ignored because they may result in significant paint damage as time passes because of their high acidity levels, which are comparable to those found in bug deposits and have a pH level equivalent to lemon juice.

It is crucial to get rid of the bird droppings as soon as possible to prevent long-term damage to the car paint.

You may accomplish this by washing and waxing your automobile for additional protection or by using a soft cloth and cleaning solution. By following these instructions, you can guarantee that the car paint stays in outstanding condition and prevents future expensive repairs.

3- Bugs on Car Paint

Although they may appear innocuous, bugs may seriously ruin the car paint. Bugs can burst when they touch the paint surface of your car quickly, producing an acidic residue that can chip away at the paint.

Bugs on Car Paint

Bugs on Car Paint

Once dried, bug deposits can be extremely difficult to get rid of, and cleaning them might make things worse. There are specialized insect removal sprays that can aid in dissolving the bug deposits, making them simpler to wash away without causing car paint damage.

4- Tree Sap on car paint

Another material that might harm the car paint is tree sap. It can solidify as it drops on your car and attaches to the paint, making it challenging to remove without harming the finish.

tree sap on car paint

tree sap on car paint

Additionally, tree sap may react with the car paint and discolor it. It’s a good idea to routinely wash your car if you park under trees to get rid of any tree sap before it has a chance to set.

5- Gasoline on car paint

Another element that damages your car’s paint is petrol. When you fill-up your automobile, you run the risk of spilling petrol on it, which can discolor the paint and, if left unattended, peel.

gasoline on car paint

gasoline on car paint

Always clean up any petrol spills right away, and you can think about giving your car’s paint an additional coat of protection by using a protective wax.

Also Read:Does Gasoline Damage Car Paint?

6- Silly String and Shaving Cream on car paint

Shaving cream and silly string may be entertaining at events, but they are not so entertaining for the car paint. Both compounds have the potential to adhere to the paint and are challenging to remove without damaging it.

Shaving Cream on car paint

Shaving Cream on car paint

Leaving them on the car paint for too long may potentially cause discoloration. It’s preferable to remove any silly string or shaving cream from your car as soon as possible using warm water and a mild car wash detergent.

7, 8- Coffee & Soda on car paint

Two other items that can lead to paint damage are coffee and soda. Both are acidic and, if left untreated, may eat away at the car paint. Additionally, spilled drinks could leave behind sticky residues that draw in dust particles and other contaminants and cause more paint damage.

If you accidentally spill soda or coffee on your car, wipe it up right away with a moist towel before using a light car wash soap to wash the area.

Also Read: Will Baking Soda Damage Car Paint? + Best tip to use it

9- Shoe Polish on car paint

Shoe polish can leave stains on the paint of your vehicle that are difficult to get rid of. Discoloration can result from shoe polish colors and chemicals reacting with the paint.

Shoe Polish on car paint

Shoe Polish on car paint

It’s crucial to remove any shoe polish that may have gotten on your car as quickly as you can. To carefully remove the shoe polish, use a soft cloth and a commercial car paint cleaner.

Also Read: How Many Times Can You Polish a Car?

10- Dust on car paint

Although dust may appear innocuous, it may seriously ruin your car’s paint. Dust particles may become a gritty paste when it condenses on your car and mix with water or dew, which can harm the car paint.

Dust on car paint

Washing your car on a regular basis might assist in getting rid of dust particles and stop them from hurting your car.

11- Acid Rain on car paint

The atmosphere’s water vapor and sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions mix to generate acid rain, which subsequently precipitates as rain on the land. By eating away at the clear layer and producing discoloration and fading, this acidic precipitation can harm car paint.

Acid Rain on car paint

Regularly washing and waxing the automobile will help to eliminate any acid buildup and avoid acid rain damage to the car paint. To lessen exposure to acid rain, it is also advised to park the vehicle in a covered space or garage.

The car paint can also be shielded against acid rain by having a protective coating or sealer applied to it. Supporting initiatives to lessen air pollution and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide can also assist in stopping acid rain and the potential harm it can do to car paint.

Also Read: Does Rain Damage Car Paint?

12- Vandalism on car paint

Many car owners must unfortunately deal with vandalism. This can include using corrosive compounds that may cause the car paint to peel or become discolored as well as keying, which can leave deep scratches in the finish.

Vandalism on car paint

Vandalism on car paint

It’s critical to notify the authorities and your insurance provider if your car has been vandalized. The car paint could need professional restoration to be restored.

13- Using Dirty Rags & Towels

Cleaning with a dirty cloth is definitely not a good idea to use on your car. By scratching the paint surface and spreading abrasive particles, using filthy rags and towels to wipe a car’s paint may damage it.

Swirl marks or swirls, which are little scratches that give the paint surface a hazy look, may arise from this. It is crucial to use clean, microfiber towels made particularly for auto detailing to avoid this type of paint damage.

Dirty and micofiber Rags on car paint

These towels are less prone to scrape the paint surface and are kind to car paint. Additionally, you should refrain from using any cleaning supplies that contain abrasives or harsh chemicals. Use a light soap made especially for cleaning cars instead, and rinse the car well before drying it.

14- Tar on car paint

It might be challenging to remove road tar from your car’s paint without causing paint damage. If road tar is left on the car paint, it may discolor and eat away at the clear layer that serves as protection.

Tar on car paint
The car paint may be safely removed from paint surfaces using specialized road tar removal chemicals.

15- Salt on car paint

Your car’s paint can corrode and rust due to salt, whether it comes from the ocean or is used as road salt during the winter. It’s crucial to periodically wash your car to get rid of saltwater if you live near the seaside or in a region where road salt is used.

Also Read: Salt on Car Paint: How Much Damage Can It Cause?

salt on car paint

salt on car paint

16- Ashes on car paint

The car paint can be harmed by ashes, whether they come from a cigarette or a wildfire. When wet, they can generate a caustic material that can eat away at the paint and be abrasive enough to damage it.

You should get rid of any ashes that end up on your car as soon as you can.

17- Eggs on car paint

Eggs may really harm the car paint. The egg whites and yolk are acidic and can eat away at the paint, while the egg shells can scrape the car paint. Cleaning off your car as soon as you can after it has been egged can help to reduce the paint damage.

18- Ice or snow on car paint

It may be surprising, but Ice might harm the car paint in a variety of ways. If you try to scrape off ice that has built up on your car, you risk damaging the paint.

ice on car paint

The car paint may peel and break as a result of the freezing and thawing cycle of the ice scraping. It’s better to either wait for the ice to melt naturally or apply a de-icing spray if your car becomes covered in it rather than do ice scraping.

19- Food on car paint

Food spills may damage the car paint and are challenging to clean up without doing further paint damage. Additionally, some meals are acidic, which can chip away at the car paint. It’s advisable to wipe up any food spills as quickly as you can on your automobile.

20- Sun Damage on car paint

Sun protection is a crucial component of keeping the car paint looking great and protecting it from sun damage. The paint may fade and lose its luster after being exposed to direct sunlight for a long time.

sun damage on car paint

You may help prevent direct sunlight damage to your car’s paint by parking in the shade, using a car cover or using a sealer or wax.

21- Water Spots on car paint

In addition to other items like bird droppings or tree sap, minerals found in hard water can also contribute to water spots on a car’s paint. If these blemishes are not removed, the clear coat may get etched with the minerals, which can harm the car paint.

Regular car washing, complete drying after each wash, and staying away from parking in hard water locations are all critical ways to prevent water marks.

Additionally, applying a coat of wax or sealer to your automobile can add another layer of defense against water stains and make it simpler to clean up any that do form.

Also Read: White Spots on Car Paint: Top 10 Effective Ways to Remove Them

22- Fingerprints on car paint

The car paint may become discolored if fingerprints leave behind oils. They could be harsh, leading to paint damage as well. The car paint should be handled as little as possible and any fingerprints should be removed as soon as you see them to prevent damage from fingerprints.

23- Stone Chips on car paint

Your car’s paint may get tiny, deep scratches from stone chips. These are typically brought on by gravel or stones passing automobiles that have stirred up. Stone chips can cause corrosion if they are not repaired.

You can fix stone chips and stop future paint damage by using specialized touch-up paints, which are readily available.

24- Car Magnets on car paint

The old vehicle magnet may be gone, but its outline is still visible, making it one costly marketing error you’ll never forget. Both sun fading and magnet rust coloring are undesirable. Instead, we advise you to invest the money in a premium vinyl cover.

25- Washable Paint & Markers

Certain brands of window-safe erasable markers have been observed to linger even after thorough cleaning. Therefore, opt for a window marker with positive evaluations if you don’t want a permanently colored glass.

Even though washable paint can be removed with water, there is still a chance that the clear coat can become scratched owing to the roughness of the paintbrush or foam pad used and the pressure being applied.

While certain items harden to the point where the employment of harsh chemicals is regarded as required, washable paint combined with prolonged exposure to bright sunlight has also been connected to the yellowing of plastics.

Forgetting to Wash Regularly

The exteriors of cars need to be washed often to maintain their pristine appearance. The lack of regular washing may cause rust spots to appear rapidly, especially if the car is left outside throughout the winter.

washing the car

It is advised to clean and shampoo your automobile every two weeks, particularly in the fall and winter. Another crucial step in maintaining the paint job on your car is waxing; for full protection, wax at least twice a year.

How to remove dust from your car

The quantity of dust particles that may accumulate on your car’s paintwork, dulling the gloss and impairing vision, is one of the significant mistakes that can result from failing to wash your automobile. Giving your automobile a thorough shampoo while it is clean but coated with dust particles may seem excessive.

Instead of wetting the automobile, use a high-quality duster to gently remove the dust particles from the paint job. To prevent minor dings and abrasions, use a high-quality duster that is intended for use on automobiles.

To remove the dust particles from the car paint surface, sweep slowly and gently without using too much pressure.

What Ruins Car Paint the Fastest?

While any of the aforementioned elements can damage the car paint, some can do it more quickly than others. If they are not removed right away, acidic substances like bug deposits, bird droppings and acid rain can swiftly cause paint damage.

Similar to this, abrasive materials like dust particles, stone shards and ashes can result in paint scratches right away. If your car is under prolonged exposure to sunshine, the car paint may also fade and lose its shine quickly.

Damage Types and Their Sources

Different damage sources have the potential to produce various forms of paint damage. For instance, continuous direct sunlight exposure typically results in solar damage and car paint fading.

Dust particles, ashes, stone chips, and the usage of soiled rags and towels are just a few of the things that can damage car paint. Exposure to strong chemicals, such as those included in brake fluid, fuel, diesel and some cleaning solutions, frequently leads to paint oxidation and clear coat peeling.

Last but not least, damage like deep scratches or stone chips that reveal the metal beneath the car paint sometimes results in premature rusting.

Tips for Keeping Your Paint in Good Condition

In addition to keeping the aforementioned points in mind as a car owner, there are numerous steps you may take to preserve the state of your car’s paint:

Use a clay bar

An expert instrument known as a clay bar can be used to remove impurities from car paint surfaces. Additionally, it can get rid of tree sap, industrial waste and other contaminants.

Use a wax or sealant

The car paint can be shielded from pollution, direct sunlight and other environmental elements by using a wax or sealer. The color and gloss of the car paint may be preserved in this way.

Avoid parking under trees

Trees are capable of exuding tree sap along with other debris that might damage the car paint. To shield the automobile from direct sunlight and car paint damage from tree spas, make an effort to park in a covered or shaded space.

tree damage on car paint

Regularly inspect and touch up paint

Check your car’s paint frequently for paint chips and scratches, and touch up as necessary. By doing so, corrosion and other damage may be avoided.

Keep the inside of the car clean

Avoid letting the car’s inside get soiled. An unclean exterior might result from a filthy inside. The dashboard and other paint surfaces should be cleaned with a microfiber cloth, and the automobile should be frequently vacuumed.

Conclusion

This brings us to the end of our thorough explanation of the typical reasons why car paint is damaged and how to prevent it. Your car’s paint has to be kept in good condition if you want to keep both the vehicle’s visual appeal and structural integrity. You can contribute to keeping your automobile looking its best for years to come by being aware of the typical causes of car paint damage and taking precautions to avoid them.

Take the time to maintain the car paint since, as they say, prevention is always better than cure. You’ll receive a high-quality finish on your automobile in return that will last for a very long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can damage the car paint?

Car paint is susceptible to paint damage from a wide range of elements and situations, direct sunlight, road tar, corrosive chemicals, abrasive materials, incorrect cleaning and maintenance, severe weather, and even certain items that might appear harmless, such as bird droppings, bug deposits, and tree sap.

What Deals the Most damage to car paint?

Bird droppings, bug deposits and acid rain are examples of acidic chemicals that, if not removed right once, can swiftly cause paint damage. The same is true for abrasives like dust particles, ashes and stone chips, which may scrape paint surfaces right away.

How do you restore damaged car paint?

Touch-up paint or a paint repair kit may frequently be used to fix minor paint damage on cars. Repair by an expert may be needed for more severe paint damage.

What pressure damages car paint?

Particularly if the paint is already chipped or broken, high-pressure water can damage car paint. It’s best to use a low-pressure setting if you’re planning to wash your automobile.

What can really damage a car?

Many of the same elements that can damage the paint can also harm the tires, glass, and interior of the car in addition to the paint.

Can light damage car paint?

Yes, direct sunlight may damage car paint. After sitting in direct sunlight for a while, car paint might start to fade and lose its sheen.

What makes car paint last?

The paint of your car can last longer if you regularly wash it, shield it from direct sunlight and take care of any damage right away.

What doesn’t ruin car paint?

Water won’t harm a car’s paint when used properly. But in order to prevent water stains, it’s crucial to completely dry your automobile after washing it.

Will battery acid damage car paint?

Yes, battery acid damages the car paint. Because of how seriously damaging it may be, it is exceedingly corrosive.

Do eggs damage cars?

Yes, eggs can really cause paint damage to your vehicle. Egg whites and yolk are corrosive and can eat away at paint, while egg shells may lead to paint damage.

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