how to protect car paint

Maintaining your paint job does more than make your car look spiffy.

When you maintain your car’s paint job, you’re maintaining the overall appearance of your car. This can pay off in the long run if you plan to sell your car in the future.

But maintaining your paint job requires more effort than a once-a-month car wash.

We take a look at how to protect car paint the right way below.

So let’s dive in.

1. Keep Your Car Clean

You should never leave a layer of dirt or dust on your car for too long. If you do, the grime will bond to the paint. This will give the paint a rough feeling, and it takes a lot of work to get the paint job in good condition again.

Make sure you wash your car every few weeks to keep it clean. The exact amount of washings you’re car will need depends on where you live. If there’s a lot of dirt in your area, you may need to wash your car more often.

But there’s a right and a wrong way to wash your car.

Here are a few tips you should know.

Don’t Use Commercial Car Washes

Never take your car to a commercial car wash.

The brushes in these machines are rough, and they can damage your paint job. Even jets that don’t actually touch the car spray water at a high pressure.

If you want your paint job to last, you’re better off washing your car yourself.

Do It Yourself Car Wash Tips

Auto shops can be another good option when it comes to car washes, but taking your car to the shop every time it gets dirty can get expensive fast.

It’s not hard to wash your car on your own, but there are some things you need to know before you pick up that hose.

  • Don’t Use a Sponge 

Sponges trap tiny pieces of dirt inside their pores. This dirt can leave dirty smudges behind or even scratch your paint. The only material you should use on your car’s paint is microfiber.

  • Don’t Use Household Soaps 

Most soaps and detergents designed for home use chemicals that can damage your car’s paint. When it comes to washing your car, you should pick something that doesn’t contain a lot of chemicals. It’s a good idea to choose soaps meant for cars.

  • Don’t Use Dirty Water

You should always have two buckets of water ready when you wash your car. One should be full of clean water, and the other should contain your detergent of choice.

Every time you need more soapy water, rinse off your microfiber cloth in the clean water first. This way you can avoid washing the paint with dirty water.

2. Keep It Covered

The best place to park your car is inside a garage or a port. This will protect your paint job from various weather conditions. It will also keep dirt from building up on its surface.

If you don’t have a garage on your property, you might want to consider buying a car cover. While not as good as a garage, it will at least keep bird droppings and other debris off your car.

3. Don’t Spill

Be careful not to spill any type of mechanical fluid on your car, such as brake fluid or gas. If this fluid gets onto your paint, it can cause the paint to discolor.

Over time, the paint will also start to peel off.

Make sure you wash your car if you ever spill any fluid on your paint. Do this as soon as possible to prevent any damage from forming.

4. Stay Away from Temperature Inflations

This might not be possible, but try to stay away from any temperature inflation if you can.

When the outside temperature changes from hot to cold (or cold to hot), the paint on your car expands and contracts. If this happens too often, it can cause your paint to crack.

Water can then find its way under the paint job and form rust.

Again, one of the best ways to prevent this type of paint damage is to park your car in a garage where the temperature is more regulated. The better insulated your garage, the more protection it will provide.

5. Repair Scratches as Soon as Possible

Keeping your car clean and parking it in a garage should do a good job protecting your paint, but if you do end up with a scratch or chip in your paint job, you should repair it as soon as possible.

This will prevent the paint from continuing to flake off and make the problem worse.

You can repair shallow scratches with touch up paint. After the paint dries, use a rubbing compound to finish it off.

Deep scratches require you to sand off surrounded paint. You also must apply a primer to the car before repainting the damage. It’s a good idea to take your car into an auto shop if the scratch is this deep.

6. Drive Carefully

Anything rough can scratch the paint off your car. This includes anything from a hard clothe to a rock.

Remember to drive slowly and carefully any time you get on the road. Other vehicles kick up small rocks and other debris with their tires when they drive, so keep your distance.

Reckless driving could cause harm to your paint job.

How to Protect Car Paint the Right Way

If you want to learn how to protect car paint on your vehicle the right way, you’ll have to make sure it doesn’t get too dirty. Wash it often, and park it in secure, enclosed spaces to prevent weather changes from damaging it.

Repair chips and scratches in your paint right away.

Want to learn some other helpful car maintenance tips? Don’t forget to check out our blog!