Scratches can devalue a car and make it look less attractive. They tend to be less of a concern to those with older cars, which are typically already scuffed up. However, if you’ve got a new car with immaculate paintwork, the smallest scratch could be quite noticeable and could drastically reduce the value of your car.
Sadly, you can’t avoid all scratches. However, you can prevent the bulk of them by taking certain protective measures. This post delves into some of the most effective ways to protect your car from scratches.
Watch where you park
Many scratches are caused by parking in the wrong places. Parking close to other cars in narrow parking bays could increase your risk of getting scratched by an opening car door – or worse, a driver accidentally brushing you while exiting the space. Parking on the curb of a busy street could also increase your risk of being scratched by another passing vehicle or from debris being thrown up. Where possible, avoid these parking spaces. Off-road parking locations with cars few around are the best options for protecting your paintwork. If you have a garage, it could be worth storing your car in here where possible rather than parking your car out on the road.
Hand wash your car
Washing your car regularly can be important for preventing damage from dirt and other substances, which can slowly corrode your paintwork over time if ignored. However, you may want to steer clear of your local automatic car wash. While such car washes are fast and convenient, the brushes from them have been known to cause scratches on cars. Hand washing your car is a much safer way to avoid scratches. Just make sure you’re using the right car cleaning products, including a suitable cloth or sponge. Aim to wash your car no more than once per week.
Wax you car
Ever wondered why some people wax their cars religiously? Aside from making your car shine, applying wax can provide an added layer of protection to your car’s paintwork. Many minor scratches could be prevented by regularly waxing your car. Just how often should you wax a car? Ideally, every three months – in each case straight after you’ve just washed it. Try not to wax your car any more regularly than this, as it could result in visible build-ups of wax and a cloudy appearance.
Apply paint protection film
Waxing your car will only provide so much protection. In fact, some stone chips may still be enough to create dents and scratches when flung up while driving. This is why those who are serious about protecting their paintwork often opt for PPF (paint protection film). Applying PPF involves wrapping your car with an ultra-thin layer of polyurethane, which acts a bit like flexible laminate. PPF wrap installation must be carried out by a professional and is more expensive than waxing your car. But it provides better protection, as well as lasting a lot longer – while wax needs to be reapplied every three months, PPF can last 7 to 10 years. PPF should not be confused with vinyl wrapping, which involves changing the appearance of a car with a thin layer of plastic opposed to adding protection.
Explore other coating options
PPF is not the only coating that you can add to your car to protect it from scratches. Ceramic and graphene are other materials used to coat a car’s bodywork and protect it from scratches. Both tend to be more permanent than PPF – while you can easily peel off PPF, ceramic and graphene harden on and are much more difficult to remove. That said, these coatings may offer greater protection against certain forms of damage (although PPF is still very hardy).
Invest in scratch and dent insurance
Scratch and dent insurance won’t prevent scratches from occurring. However, it can help pay for them to be repaired. This can be useful to have on a brand new car that you want to keep in immaculate condition for as long as possible. Just be warned that this type of insurance can be quite expensive for some cars and sometimes not worthwhile. Installing a protective coating such as PPF can reduce your scratch and dent insurance rates. Take your time to shop around for different covers online. Remember that this insurance must be taken out before a scratch occurs in order for that scratch to be covered – you cannot take out insurance to pay for the repair of scratches and dents that are already on your car.