Skip to content

Things that Damage Your Car’s Paint

Things that Damage Your Car’s Paint

When it comes to your car, one of the most common forms of damage (and thankfully one usually very reparable albeit at a cost), is to your paint job. Vehicle paint consists of various specialty formulae (they vary) and is applied through a very specialized set of processes that require professional training to wield properly.

Needless to say, over the over a century that vehicles have carried us about our hectic lives, there has been a lot of effort and science into creating durable paints that can stand up to the ravages of nature and damage afflicted by high-speed impacts with things like insects, debris and precipitation.

Unfortunately, no form of paint can be truly indestructible. Really, no form of anything can. You might be surprised at the things that can actually ruin your paint job. Some of them are things you’d think are temporary forms of “dirtiness” that merely require a loving wash to do away with. However, that is sadly not always the case.

In many instances, the longer these elements are present, the more damage they’re doing to your paint job, too. Knowing this, and the further danger to your vehicle’s longevity and resale value which can be brought about by compromised paint, it’s high time we look at five commonplace things that can cause serious damage to your paint.

Some of these may surprise you!

Tree Debris

On top of being a nuisance and a source of dirt, trees can do active damage to your paint job. Pollen usually only provides an annoying layer of crud to be washed off, but some breeds of this stuff can actually be abrasive, not unlike comet or some other granulated cleaning supply. This calls for caution and very gentle washing-away.

Furthermore, sap, which possesses sugars and organic acids, can eat away at your paint job as well. The acids are fairly obvious, eating at the enamel and base. The sugars can crystallize, resulting in the paint being pulled away when the sap is removed, or peeling as it expands and contracts from eating.

Acorns and other tree seeds/nuts can also act similarly to hail, causing dings or scratches that you really want to avoid. Avoid parking under trees, and keep your trees trimmed if at all possible.

Bird Droppings

Ah, the most infamous (and darkly-humorous) nemesis of a clean car – the bird dropping. Yes, we all know the woes of a freshly-washed car seeming to magnetically attract loaded avian nemeses. But, did you know that these droppings do more than just make your car dirty? Like tree sap, they contain acids, though these are quite a bit nastier than the ones coming from trees.

Originating in the digestive tracts of complex animals, these acids are designed to break pretty much anything down, and they will do precisely that to paint and metals alike. If a bird does what birds do, your aesthetic appreciation isn’t the only reason to wash it off immediately.

Bug Splatter

This one sits right next to bird droppings in the category of cliché problems for keeping cars clean, and is another “funny when it’s not you” situation. Bugs are usually a problem in the spring and summer and can be severe, depending on where you live.

Like bird droppings, bug splatter can actually cause damage to your paint job, due to organic acids being present. However, they can do more than this, because bugs are usually a high-energy impact. Anyone who’s had a bug hit their face on a motorcycle, or on an arm hanging from the window of a fast-moving vehicle can vouch for the fact it stings.

Most insects are actually fairly dense, rugged things that will also put dings or microscopic scratches into your paint, which will then be further exacerbated by that awful acidic organic soup.


Yes, even the sun is your car’s enemy. The sun doesn’t just put out warm light and heat. Considering that the sun, like all stars, is a massive, powerful nuclear reaction, spewing out intense radiation across the known spectrum. UV is one of the biggest offenders, and on top of causing sunburn and potentially cancer, UV can also fade and break down things like car paint.

To learn more about car paint care, and the forces stacked against you, fill out our contact form today.

Contact us

Skip to content