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Why You Should Always Protect the Paint on Your Car – And How to Do It Right

It’s surprisingly easy for the paint on your car to get damaged. Dings and scrapes can results from poor road conditions, environmental factors, cleaning mistakes and careless parking. Fortunately, it’s also easy to protect your paint from these common threats.

Why Choose Paint Protection?

Protecting your paint may seem like a lot of extra work and unnecessary expenses just to avoid a few cosmetic defects. So why bother?

  • Your car is valuable. If you plan to trade in or sell your car, you want it to be in as close to pristine condition as possible. What may seem like a small imperfection to you might stand out like a sore thumb to a potential buyer, and some apparently minor paint problems can get worse over time and require pricey repairs.

  • Unprotected paint is vulnerable. The clear coat topping off your paint doesn’t provide much protection. Over time, paint oxidizes and deteriorates, and even routine cleaning can leave behind unwanted marks.

  • The environment is harsh. Road salt is usually considered the arch nemesis of paint in cold, snowy climates, but harsh weather conditions, direct sunlight, tree sap, smashed bugs and bird droppings also threaten your paint job.

  • It requires less upkeep. Investing in paint protection can actually save you time because your car doesn’t need to be buffed as often to shine like new.

Paint Protection Tips

With everything from the environment to the car wash conspiring to damage your paint, it’s clear you should take steps to protect your car.

1. Clean Regularly

If you don’t already have a car cleaning routine, start one. Find a touch-free carwash you can easily visit during your daily commute, and take the vehicle through whenever filth starts to accumulate. Invest in a deep cleaning at least a couple of times a year to get dirt out of nooks and crannies the car wash can’t reach. If you enjoy cleaning and detailing your own car, make sure you have the right tools and cleaners so that you don’t unwittingly do more harm than good.

For in-between cleaning, carry specially formulated wipes or a gentle car cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Wipe away bird droppings and sap as soon as possible to prevent them from eating through the clear coat.

2. Wax and Seal

Apply a coat of wax about once per month after washing the car for added protection. For a longer-lasting defense against the elements, use a sealant once every four to six months.

Carnauba Paste Wax

Paint Sealant

3. Commercial Paint Protection

When you buy a new car, you can choose to have paint sealant applied at the dealership. Another option is paint protection film, a durable clear covering designed to ward off damage from gravel, dirt and other debris often kicked up on the road. Because both of these options can be expensive, weigh the cost against the expenses of fixing any damage your car may sustain in the future.

4. Go Under Cover

One of the easiest ways to protect your car’s paint from the weather is to park in the garage whenever you can. However, since this isn’t possible for everyone, a car cover provides a good alternative. It can be a bit of a pain to put on until you get the hang of it, but a cover provides valuable protection at a fraction of the cost of other options.

To bring your car’s paint back to its former glory and maintain that like-new look, get any existing damage fixed, and start practicing these smart paint protection strategies. Use the same techniques to keep every vehicle you own in stellar condition.

About the Author

Theresa “Sam” Houghton is a writer, speaker and health coach from Troy, NY. She’s a regular contributor to, and her work has appeared in the Honest Weight Food Co-Op Coop Scoop, Natural Awakenings Magazine and the 2017 Daily Dozen calendar. She has been a featured guest on Focus on Albany, WMAC’s Food Friday and the Just Ask David podcast. When she's not writing or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, cook tasty plant-based food and knit socks.You can find out more about Sam at

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