No matter how high-end your auto is, it’ll always be one of your most vulnerable possessions. It’s constantly exposed to the elements, unless you park inside it a garage. But if you frequently use it for your regular cross-country road trips, then your garage’s protection can only do so much.
Your car’s paint will be the first to take the toll on your road trips. In fact, at the moment, you may already be noticing some chips and other signs of degradation on your auto’s paintwork. It starts with the luster wearing off, and from then on, the damage will progress.
Sadly, there’s nothing to blame here but nature and the elements, and a few careless mistakes. By knowing how they affect your car’s paint, you can take steps to preserve its shine.
How Road Trips Damage Your Car’s Paint
1. Bugs Have Acids That Eat Away at Your Car’s Paint
Bug splatters on your car are most common during spring or summer road trips. Your windshield and bumper are the most affected. Some acids in bugs can eat away at your car paint’s if you don’t clean them off immediately. Worse, if dead bugs leave bloodstains on your car, the paint can suffer permanent damage.
2. Tree Sap Leave Stubborn Stains on Your Car
If you camp out in your car, under the shade of a bushy tree, don’t let the sap come in contact with your car. Tree sap leaves stubborn stains on your car, and you won’t be able to remove it with wash. It can also react with the paint, causing a rough patch. Only a special treatment can fix those damages.
3. Ice is Tough On Your Car
Though you won’t likely be out on the road in the middle of a snowstorm, it’s still worth noting how tough ice is on your car. Even if road salt can improve driving conditions in snowy weather, it can corrode your car’s paint, coating, exhaust system, brake and gas lines, and undercarriage. Even in a thin layer of snow settling on your car can cause damage; a coarse snow brush can scratch the paint.
4. Asphalt Can Leave Tar on the Paint
Driving on a hot summer day, particularly on a smooth, asphalted road, may seem easy on your car. But the paintwork near the wheels is taking the toll. Asphalt can leave tar on those areas, and it’ll be hard to remove it. Only a special treatment can do the job.
5. Gas Residue Eats Away at Your Car’s Wax
When you refill your tank in the middle of a trip, be sure to remove the gas residue afterward. A small spill out of the pump can evaporate and leave a stain on the paint. It can even damage the clear coat. If your car is waxed, the gas may eat away at it first.
6. Acidic Foodstuff Damages the Paint
If you stop in the middle of nowhere to have a picnic, don’t let any food or beverage touch your car’s paint, especially acidic ones like coffee and soda. Acid eats away paint and corrodes it. If you accidentally spill your drink on the hood or the trunk, wipe it away immediately to keep damage from taking place.
How to Preserve Your Car’s Paint
Obviously, reducing the frequency of your road trips isn’t an option. Luckily, you can still take as many trips as you want without worrying about your auto losing its shine. Take these steps to preserve your car’s perfect paintwork:
1. Keep it Clean
This may sound like a no-brainer, but believe it or not, some car owners don’t realize how cleaning prevents many kinds of damages. You don’t need to take it for a full car wash often. Blasting it with a garden hose can already take off the fresh stains.
2. Apply Ceramic Coating
Coating is the secret to car paints that never lose their shine, even with age. Choose the nano-ceramic coating used for aviation. If it can keep a plane looking pristine for long, imagine the magic it’ll do to your car. Coating adds a protective layer on top of the paint and is resilient enough to resist the beating of the elements.
3. Apply Wax
To protect your car’s paint even further, apply wax. It’ll reduce the effect of the sun’s radiation on the paint. Re-apply the wax every third or fourth wash.
Taking these steps will allow you to take guilt-free road trips because you know that your auto’s surface is well-taken care of. Buy special treatments as well to have an instant solution available for accidental paintwork damages. And of course, always inspect your car thoroughly after a trip. Just because you’ve taken protective measures doesn’t mean damage won’t be sneaky.