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What Can Damage Automotive Paint?

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

From dust to bird droppings, there are a lot of things that can cause damage to car paint. Keep reading to learn about things to steer clear of to keep your vehicle’s paint in good condition.

Brake Fluid

Brake Fluid that isn’t silicone-based acts like paint thinner and can eat away the coating of your paint causing it to peel. If you do happen to get brake fluid on your car’s paint, get a towel to soak up the fluid immediately, but don’t wipe it or spread it around. Then clean the spot with a clean rag and soap and water. Rinse the area thoroughly.

Bird Droppings

Everyone will get bird droppings on their vehicle at some point. Beyond the visual inconvenience, droppings can leave behind permanent damage since it’s so acidic. And under the sun, it can harden and eat away paint. To clean off, use a wet towel and soap, cleaning the area without scrubbing so you don’t scratch the paint.

Silly String

Silly string is fun when it comes to pranks, but you might want to think twice before using it on someone’s car. Silly string contains colorants and resin that can cause damage to a car’s paint when left to dry in the sun. To clean, simply wash your car with a mild soap and water or run it through a car wash. If there’s still residue, you can use WD40 to wipe the surface clean.

Shaving Cream

Just like silly string, shaving cream can also damage a car’s paint. If you get shaving cream on your car, take the same course of action—clean your car with soap and water and follow up with WD40 if there is additional residue.

Coffee and Soda

When grabbing a coffee or a soda, be careful not to let it get on your car paint. Both coffee and soda have high acidity levels and can eat away at your car’s protective layer of paint. If you do spill one of these drinks on your car, wash it as soon as possible.


Ever seen a car with “wash me” written in the dust on its surface? While funny, the driver should take note and wash their car! An accumulation of dust can negatively affect your car’s paint. And when dirt mixes with rain, it can create an acidic compound that damages the surface and leads to corrosion over time. So, take pride in your car’s appearance and get it washed every now and then. This will help to preserve its value in the long run!

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