6 common things that can ruin your car's paintwork

A little bit of dirt and dust on your car won’t do any harm, right? Err, Wrong! Here are some common culprits that could be causing your car’s paintwork to deteriorate faster than it should.

February 3, 2022

Keeping the exterior of your car clean is one part of car maintenance that often gets overlooked – but it is important; not just for how it looks, but for how long the paintwork will last on your car. This is particularly important if your car is parked outdoors for prolonged periods.

Bugs and bird droppings 

Both are acidic and can eat into the paintwork of your car and need to be removed as soon as possible. Rinse with clean water first.  

Tree sap

If you’ve ever parked under a tree to try to escape the heat, you’ve probably fallen prey to tree sap. This can be sticky and very damaging to your paintwork and the longer you leave it, the more damage it can do.  

Salty air

If you live near the beach (or visit a lot), the salt that blows in from the sea is terrible for your car and can cause damaged paintwork to rust. This is going to happen a lot, so the best thing to do (rather than move house!) is to add car washing to your list of regular maintenance.  


If you accidentally drip some petrol onto your paintwork while filling up, make sure you rinse the area with water as soon as possible, or it can stain and cause damage.

General grime

Every car is going to pick up dirt and grime, no matter how careful you are. Don’t wipe it off as it can cause tiny scratches. Always wash it with mild soap and water.

No finger writing!

And finally, resist the urge to write your name in the dirt on your car (and definitely never do it on someone else’s car!). You are pushing the small particles of dirt and debris into the paintwork which can cause small scratches on the surface.  

The best way to protect your car’s paint is by washing and waxing it often, and whenever it is exposed to damaging things. Always rinse with plain water before you start washing, use clean, soft cloths and use car wash soap whenever possible. Baby shampoo is also a good, gentle alternative.