Nicks, marks and scratches on your car happen for a multitude of reasons – some avoidable, others less so. Sadly, scratches can obliterate your resale value and lead to problematic, and often expensive, rust issues so it’s better to get them sorted sooner rather than later.

The best way to stop damage occurring is to stay cautious of the primary culprits of paintwork damage. These include…

1. Weather

The weather is a big offender in this respect, particularly during the winter months when the roads are rife with grit. In coastal regions, you will need to be mindful of rainy weather, as precipitation can carry salt and leave challenging water stains. If you can, it’s better to keep your car covered. Unfortunately, you’re not safe in the sun either. Excessive rays can cause paintwork to fade and look worn. Try to keep your car in the shade when temperatures are soaring.

2. Bird droppings and dead bugs

Nope, this one’s not a joke. Ever wondered why it’s so damn hard to scrape bird droppings and dead bugs off your car? Their acidity causes them to fuse to, and eat away at, your paintwork. Whilst not at the top of the food chain, bugs and birds possess one thing that evolution has not yet granted us – flight. This basically gives them the opportunity to do whatever they want, wherever they want and the only way to stop it being a problem is to carry microfiber cloths everywhere.

3. Loose stones, rocks and pebbles

Braking distances aren’t the only reason to stay a good distance from the car in front. Road debris becomes a problem when it gets flicked up at breakneck speed from other cars, leaving big dings in your car. Pebble chips are not hard to spot. They are generally characterised by circular dents in your bumper, bonnet or side panels, although the sheer depth of them never seems to get any less surprising.

4. Construction sites

Construction sites are warzones for cars. Dust, wet concrete, nails and bricks are the weapons. If you care about your paintwork at all, do. not. leave your car near a construction site.

5. Hedges

This is a bigger risk if you live out in the sticks and your morning commute involves squeezing into tight laybys to let tractors past. Over time, the small branches and twigs will grate away at your paintwork, gradually causing it to lose its sheen. Unless you can find an alternative route or you’re happy to reverse all the way into a bigger spot, your best bet is to regularly buff your car and silently curse the existence of other drivers.

6. Abrasive cleaners and dirty cloths

Some people use general household soaps and detergents to clean their car, but this is something that should be avoided at all costs. Certain detergents will strip the protective paint sealant, exposing your car to the elements. Avoid washing your car with a dry or dirty cloth. Scratches from dust and dirt will defeat the object of cleaning your car in the first place and dry cloths have been known to cause friction damage.

7. The front bumper on pavements

Out of sight, out of mind, they say. Until we hear the agonising scrape of our bumper against a protruding pavement. It doesn’t matter whether you’re turning a corner or parking, poor spacial awareness gets the better of us all from time to time. Be conscious of those curbs, particularly where there’s a camber in the road.

8. Kids

Whether they’re your own, or complete strangers, kids are careless and equally ruthless in their attempts to conceal misdemeanours. If you’re a parent and you’re wondering why your once pristine car is littered in minor scratches, it’s likely down to bike handlebars or the markings of a wayward football. If possible, keep your car carefully concealed from your little ones. For more information on how to stop your kids making a mess of your interior, click here.

9. Other drivers

Most accidents happen in car parks when people misjudge their surroundings, either reversing into someone, opening their doors too quickly or scraping the sides of their car as they turn. Aside from parking in the furthest reaches of the car park, there’s little way to avoid the dangers posed by other cars. Plenty of newer dashcam models have a parking mode so if you do have the misfortune to be struck by someone, they won’t get away with scampering off.

10. Car washes

To clarify, not all car washes harbour this issue. It’s the ‘hands-on’ ones that have achieved a reputation for their abrasive nature, often lashing cars with the dirt from their earlier customers. Many older car washes also favour brushes over cloth, which can leave small scratches in a cars finish. Rather than risking your car, go for a non-touch car wash. Or, even better, hire an affordable, professional car detailer to get your car back to its showroom glory.

Autoprep is a car body repair specialist based in Exminster, Devon. They handle everything from paintless dents repairs as well as bumper and alloy wheel repairs to scratches and scuffs. Autoprep offers showroom quality repairs at trade prices for everyone. For more information, head to autopreprepair.co.uk/services

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