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A paint job can be a thing of beauty – until it’s ruined by one of the many elements your car faces every day. Even if you’re careful enough to park it far from anyone else in a parking lot or make sure it’s sheltered in a garage each night, you can’t be watching and protecting your vehicle 24/7, and it’s sure to come into contact with something at one point or another that can have a damaging effect on its exterior appearance. There are several methods of paint protection out there, but the importance of choosing one and investing in it may require a little more realization on your part of all the everyday harmful factors and situations you don’t always take into consideration. There are things in the environment that are damaging your car’s paint job right now that you may not even be aware of.

Getting a Car Wash

Running through a quick automatic car wash may seem like a cheap and easy solution to cleaning a dirty car, but in actuality, you may be putting your paint job at risk for scratches and swirl marks. The brushes used in car washes aren’t frequently cleaned and may be rubbing dirt and grit from the previous car that went through all over your vehicle. The same goes for unintentionally using dirty tools when you wash your car at home. Soil that attaches itself to mitts or towels after being dropped on the ground often goes unseen, but still poses a problem when it’s there.


Tailgating is obviously illegal and dangerous if you suddenly found yourself having to come to a skidding stop, but it’s also harmful to your vehicle’s paint. Following too closely behind another car means the front end of yours and your windshield is catching all of the rocks and debris that are bouncing off the tail end and tires of theirs.

Pumping Gas

We all want to make sure we get the very most out of our money and squeeze every last drop of gas into our tank, but “topping off’ means the possibility of an overflowing gas pump, which can be horrible for a car’s paint job. The chemicals in gasoline are certain to stain if there’s any accidental leakage that’s just left ignored on the car.

Dripping Sap

Parking under a tree will get you shade, but it is also a sure fire way to guarantee sap will drip right onto your car. It may not seem like a big deal other than the sticky mess it makes when you try to wipe it off, but the substance actually has a damaging effect once it hardens that can scratch or corrode the paint right off your vehicle.


Whether or not your house is in any danger during fire season, your car better be protected from all of the falling ash that has the ability to reach places that are miles away from the actual wildfire. The alkali that forms from ash will wreak havoc on a paint job and leave scratches behind that won’t be pleasant to try and remove.

Household Items

A forgotten coffee cup on the top of your car, a ring left from your soda can, a prank involving Silly String, spilled brake fluid – each of these common household items are innocent until they touch the paint on your car. It’s best to keep these things away from your car if you can help it, or you may be dealing with corrosion, discoloration and gooey residue.


We’ve all seen the work of a jokester who thinks it’s funny to write messages in the dirt or dust of a vehicle. In reality, their fingertips are creating the same hazardous effects that sandpaper would if it was dragged across your car’s paint. Scratches may form, and in some cases, even after a good washing the message can still be seen.

You may not be able to avoid each of these damaging situations, but you can keep from leaving your car exposed. Paint protection will make your vehicle look good far longer than it would without any kind of shield.

My name is Tiffany Olson and I regularly blog on automotive topics such as car bras, paint protection, and auto insurance. I live in Northern California and when I’m not blogging you’ll usually find me cooking, reading, or hanging out with good friends.