We love our cars. We spend hours washing, buffing and detailing them so they look their best, so the last thing we want to find is a scratch. While you can’t prevent every single mark, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances that your car will end up scratched. Here are a few things that will keep your daily driver or project car from coming up with scratches on its exterior.
Be Mindful of Other Drivers
You can be the most skillful driver in the world, but you have no control over other drivers. Their carelessness or distracted driving could leave you with unsightly scratches and dents all over your favorite car. Learn how to drive defensively. You can take defensive driving courses or start studying the keys of defensive driving on your own. Be focused, stay alert and, most of all, make sure you’re on the lookout for the other guy.
Parking lots are the biggest hotspots for scratches and other superficial damage. A passerby could brush against your car with their keys on their hip or open their door a little too quickly when they park beside you. The easiest way to avoid scratches when you’re out and about is to be smart about where you’re parking your car.
Avoid heavily populated or frequented areas as much as possible. Give yourself as much wiggle room as possible, and try to park out of range of neighboring vehicle doors.
Careless drivers and people in parking lots aren’t the only danger to your car’s finish. The weather can also be problematic, especially if you have trees over your driveway or you live in an area prone to hailstorms. The easiest way to avoid letting Mother Nature scratch up your ride is to park it indoors or under a cover. A carport can be sufficient if you don’t have a garage attached to your home.
When you’re out and about, opt for parking garages instead of parking under the burning sun.
Clean Your Garage
The garage tends to turn into a catch-all for the clutter that won’t fit in the rest of the house. Even if you’ve made enough room for your car to fit, that clutter can be a major scratch hazard. All it takes is for one rake to fall over or one box of Christmas ornaments to fall out of the attic, leaving all sorts of scratches on your favorite car.
Clean and organize your garage by sorting your belongings into piles — keep, toss and donate. Turn the space into a safe spot to park your car by getting rid of your clutter.
Wash Your Car
Bird droppings and tree sap aren’t just unsightly — they might be damaging your car’s clear coat and the paint beneath. Take time every other week or so to clean your car and remove anything that might lead to scratches. While you wash, make sure you’re only using cleaning solvents and soaps designed for automotive use. Keep your sponges clean as well — sand can add micro-scratches to the clear coat while you’re trying to clean it up.
Keep Your Car Scratch-Free
Sometimes, all you need is some common sense to keep your car scratch-free. Be careful about where you park, and clean all the clutter out of your garage before you park in there. You’ll have a perfect paint job for years to come.