How to Protect Your Car Paintwork From Scratches and Dents

By Alex Stringfield

Looking after your car’s exterior isn’t just about being proud of your wheels. It’s also about protecting your car from damage, vandalism and more – and keeping the exterior in top nick does all of that. Click To Tweet

Looking after your car’s exterior isn’t just about being proud of your wheels. It’s also about protecting your car from damage, vandalism and more – and keeping the exterior in top nick does all of that.

That’s why we need paintwork protection for our cars. From a sleek wax to scratch insurance, here are six ways to keep your car gleaming.

1. Wash and wax

The easiest and cheapest way to keep your vehicle looking glossy is the traditional way: wash it regularly, and then apply wax to give it some extra shine. It’s not as hard-wearing as some of the other options, but it definitely helps if you do it regularly. 

If you can, it’s worth getting a clay bar treatment once or twice a year to remove dust and pollutants that might otherwise scratch the surface when you’re waxing the car. 

Then apply wax – whether it’s a traditional wax or a spray-on, there’s plenty on the market to suit your preferences.

If you can, it’s worth getting a clay bar treatment once or twice a year to remove dust and pollutants that might otherwise scratch the surface when you’re waxing the car.  Click To Tweet

2. Apply paint sealant

A more durable option is a synthetic or ceramic paint sealant, which can be applied at home and should last anything from six months to two years, depending on which you choose and how you use your car. It’s a bit more of a hassle to apply than a classic wax, but the results can be superb, with hydrophobic properties that make the rain bead on the car surface.

Choose carefully – some sealants can reduce the gloss on your paint finish, while others will bring it to a sparkling shine. The synthetic ones are likely to offer better protection, while water-based ones use fewer chemicals and may be healthier. 

You’ll probably need to leave it overnight, so ensure you have a covered area to avoid dust or droppings ruining it. Also, while the sealant itself might seem cheap, you’ll probably have to buy all sorts of peripherals to do it properly, such as microfibre mitts and towels, so factor that into the cost when debating between the DIY option or…

3. Professional spray-on protection

If home-applied sealant seems like a bit too much effort, why not leave it to the professionals? Your local car wash or garage should be able to give your car a professional spray-on sealant, which may well give you a better finish than you can achieve at home, and is likely to be longer-lasting too. 

If you’ve bought your car new, you may well have been offered this as an extra service – it can seem expensive, but if you can get them to throw it in as a sweetener then go for it. It might well improve the price if you sell your car.

4. Protective plastic film

The most extreme – and expensive – of the paint protection options, a clear plastic film applied to part or all of your car is almost guaranteed to keep the actual paintwork free from most scratches. 

However as the plastic itself gets messed up through wear and tear, it might start to look a bit damaged, so there’s a strong likelihood you’ll need to reapply. From a resale point of view, it’s an excellent option. 

But given that it could cost several hundred pounds, it might be a better option to simply do a scratch and dent insurance comparison to find the best one for you so that any damage could be repaired by your insurer.

5. Garage or car cover

It might not protect you from prangs and nicks while you’re out and about, but keeping your car under cover when it’s not in use will certainly avoid some of the other hazards of paintwork damage, from bird droppings to mulched leaves, acid rain and UV damage from the sun. 

A garage offers the optimum coverage, but a good car cover can be highly effective too. Do some research to make sure the one you choose isn’t scratchy on the inside as that would defeat the point.

Even when you’re away from home, it’s possible to minimise the damage your car might incur by parking carefully – not under a tree shedding blossom, for example, or opting to park next to a pillar in a parking garage so that your car will only be at risk from other vehicles on one side.

Even when you’re away from home, it’s possible to minimise the damage your car might incur by parking carefully – not under a tree shedding blossom, for example, or opting to park next to a pillar in a parking garage so that your car will only be… Click To Tweet

6. Scratch and dent insurance

Despite your best efforts the reality is that most cars will suffer occasional scratches and dents. 

If so, you’ll want to know: does your car insurance cover scratches and dents? Or does it include a huge excess that makes it pointless to claim for small repairs? And is scratch and dent insurance worth it?

The reality is that very few standard car insurance policies cover scratches and dents, but check your policy to find out. If yours doesn’t, then the cost of repairs can range anywhere from hundreds to thousands of pounds.

That’s why scratch and dent insurance can often be such good value for money. Considering what it offers, it’s pretty cheap, and when you claim for something like paint chips, for example, the insurers will often simply send round a mobile repair unit to your home or work, so it’s highly convenient. 

It’s really important to check just what’s included, though – do you get a certain number of claims per year, or is it up to a certain value? Are there some types of damage that aren’t covered? Do some research to find the best scratch and dent insurance in the UK – or at least the best one for you.

Find out more about scratch & dent insurance

FinEdge offers scratch and dent insurance to help with chips, scuffs, scratches and prangs from as little as £15p/m. Find out more here.