People who buy cars are choosing to keep them longer. According to information from IHS Automotive, cars on the road today have an average age of 11.5 years. That’s a record.
This trend has a lot to do with the fact that today’s vehicles are built to last. They offer improved quality and reliability, and they provide enduring performance that encourages car owners to keep them on the roads.
Car owners know they can extend the lifespan of their vehicles by being attentive when it comes to regular maintenance. But one aspect that often gets ignored is the paint. Certain common hazards can take a toll on your car’s paint job. This can have a negative effect not only on its appearance, but its resale value, too.
There are steps you can take to protect your car’s paint, and reduce the likelihood that you’ll need an expensive paint job to keep your ride looking good. Below, we’ve listed a few tips.
1. Know the Limitations of Clear-Coat Paint Finishes
Most cars made within the past couple of decades are made with clear-coat paint finishes. A clear-coat paint finish is a layer of clear resin that’s applied over a car’s coat of base paint, and it gives the paint a deeper and more vibrant look. It also provides protection against certain environmental threats. It also can prevent fading and extend the life of your paint job.
However, it’s important to remember that a clear-coat paint finish doesn’t provide absolute protection. For example, while a clear-coat paint finish can diminish sun damage, it doesn’t completely shield your car from this threat. You’ll still need to take steps to shelter your car from the sun’s harmful UV rays if you want to preserve the look of its paint.
Also, a common misconception is that cars with clear-coat paint finishes don’t need to be waxed. Waxing will protect your car’s paint, even if it has a clear-coat finish.
2. Regularly Wax Your Car
Regularly waxing your car can help shield its paint from damage. Wax creates a barrier between the paint and the environment. It can protect your car’s paint job from the sun’s rays during the summer, and it can shield against harsh weather when winter rolls around.
For maximum benefits, it’s recommended that you wax your car every three months. You can tackle this task yourself, or you can have it handled by professionals at a car wash.
Keep in mind that when getting your car professionally waxed, there is a world of difference between a hand wax job and wax applied by an automated car wash. A hand wax job provides meaningful, long-term protection for your car. The wax application you get when driving through an automated car wash is much less thorough. At best, it provides only short-term value.
At a car wash, a basic hand wax job usually costs between $40 and $90.
3. Promptly Remove Bird Droppings
Bird droppings contain substances that are highly acidic. They can damage your car’s paint, even if it has a clear-coat paint finish.
If you notice bird droppings on your car’s surface, remove them immediately. These droppings are much easier to get rid of when they’re fresh.
There are wipes on the market that are specially designed to remove bird excrement without harming your car’s paint. Another option is to remove the droppings with club soda and a soft cloth.
4. Quickly Clear Tree Sap
Tree sap won’t immediately damage your car’s paint, but it eventually can bake itself in and leave unsightly stains. If you notice tree sap on your car, it’s essential to get rid of it.
Keep in mind that hot weather can exacerbate the damage caused by this threat. And the longer tree sap is allowed to remain on your vehicle, the harder it will be to remove.
Professional products that can help banish tree sap are available. Soap and hot water also may be used.
Read more about how to clean tree sap off your car.
5. Park in a Covered Structure Whenever Possible
The sun’s rays can cause your car’s paint to fade over time. Parking in a covered structure can help your vehicle avoid this damage.
Covered parking structures also protect your car from tree sap and bird droppings.
6. Invest in a Car Cover
Parking in a covered structure can protect your car’s paint, but open-air parking is the only option for many drivers. In cases like this, it’s a good idea to invest in a car cover.
A car cover provides a barrier that shields your car’s paint from bird droppings, tree sap and dust. Some covers also provide padding that can protect your car from dents and dings. Car covers can range in price from $20 to more than $100.
If you have questions about this story, please contact us at Editors@carfax.com