damage car paint

Watch Out for These Things That Damage Car Paint

Whether you have a newer car or something vintage, you always want to keep your paint job as nice as possible for as long as possible. Keeping your car’s exterior looking good can boost its resale value in the future if you ever decide to sell it. It can also prevent further damage caused by dings or scratches that may create even bigger issues.

While some of these damages can be repairable, some are not, so being aware of them can help you avoid them altogether or know to quickly take care of any messes before serious damage occurs. If you take great pride in your vehicle and its appearance, you’ll want to steer clear of these things that can damage your car’s exterior paint.

Brake Fluid

It’s important to keep your brake fluids at proper levels, but if you accidentally spill the smallest amount of a non-silicone-based brake fluid, it can act as paint thinner and damage your paint job. Not all brake fluids will have this effect on your paint job, but you should still take caution when using brake fluid near your car. 

If you happen to get some brake fluid on your car, resist the temptation to spread it by wiping it. Instead of wiping the area, dab the brake fluid off instead, then clean the area with soap and water, followed by rinsing thoroughly.

Animal and Plant Material

Bird droppings, bugs, and tree sap are unavoidable but will start to damage paint if they sit too long, especially in the sun. To avoid permanent damage, it’s best to immediately clean off any of these materials before they dry and eat away at the paint. Try not to scrub and let the cleaner do the work for an easy wipe that won’t damage the paint.

Tree sap is especially annoying and tricky to remove, but it’s best to remove it sooner than later. Using a clean washcloth with rubbing alcohol or a cleaning solution, set it on top of the area with the sap. After 30 seconds or so, gently rub the area until the sap is gone.

It may take a few times to clean the surface completely, so repeat the process as needed. If the sap is on your windshield, use the same process but make sure to avoid using your windshield wipers until the sap is completely cleaned off.


If you take care of any drips or spills of gasoline right away, it shouldn’t be much of an issue if it gets on your paint. But if gasoline has been left on your car’s exterior for too long, it can cause stains that can be difficult to remove. You may not initially see any damage as gas evaporates quickly, but over time those drips can stain your car’s finish. You can add a layer of protection against this by getting your car waxed a few times a year.

Silly String or Shaving Cream

It’s all fun and games as a prank, but using silly string or shaving cream on someone’s car can cause serious damage to a paint job when left to dry in the sun. If you’ve been the target of a prank with silly string or shaving cream, clean off your car with mild soap and water, or take it through a car wash. Any remaining residue can be removed by using WD-40 to wipe the surface completely clean. 

Coffee or Soda

Both coffee and soda have high acidity levels that will eat away at the protective layer of your car’s paint. If you or someone else has set a drink on the roof of your car, make sure not to drive away and spill it on top of your car! If you do spill, clean it up as soon as you can with a wet paper towel, so it doesn’t cause any serious damage.


While salt helps keep roads safe during the winter, it is also the most corrosive thing to car paint. So when living in cold or coastal areas, be sure to wash your car frequently to keep salt off your car to avoid rust that can happen over time. In addition, it’s a good idea to treat your paint with a wax sealant before the first snow as a precaution for the rest of the winter while driving on salted roads.

Keep Your Paint Job In Good Condition With Caversham Coachworks 

If you’ve already experienced damage to your car’s paint job or you want a consultation with an expert about keeping your car’s exterior in top shape, you can reach out to us at Caversham Coachworks.

We take care of everything from insurance, crash, and car body repairs to dent and scratch repairs and many other services. As the leading independent vehicle repair centre in Berkshire and Central Oxfordshire, we promise exceptional service and quality work.

Contact us today or use our free and easy estimator tool.

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