Five Ways to Protect Your Vehicle’s Exterior from Dings, Scrapes and Grime

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But, Don’t be Obsessive

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA with Nalley Collision Center, GA.

DEM with JAGSome automobile owners, like me and other medical professionals, take pride in their cars. Regardless of whether you bought a new car from the showroom or bought your car used, you want to keep your vehicle looking like new for a long time.

Unfortunately, modern life is the enemy of a great-looking car. Tar and stones from roadways can wreak havoc on beautiful finishes. Other drivers can carelessly dent your car in hospital or mall parking lots, and refuse to accept responsibility for the damage. Debris flying out of trucks, birds, and other problems add to the long list of threats to your car.

The Steps

Rather than accepting dings, scrapes and grime on your car as a fact of life, follow these five steps to keep the exterior of your car looking fabulous.

1. Get Covered

Rain, snow, and sunshine can all adversely affect the exterior of your car. You can do little about the weather while driving your car, but when you get home, you can cover your car to protect its beautiful finish. Although garages offer the best protection against outside forces for your car, you might find out that you can get similar results by using a car port or a portable garage. A portable garage is a flexible cover that you can put over your vehicle to protect its exterior while not in use.

2. Paint Protection Film 

Special products exist that help protect the finish of your car at all times, even while you drive. Paint protection film creates a layer of protection between the exterior surfaces of your car and the environment, so your car can withstand an array of road hazards. This type of product eliminates expensive trips to your dealer’s body shop for touchup work and preserves the resale value of your car.

3. Wash Your Car

Although a carwash can put the exterior of your car in jeopardy, it can help prevent harmful grime build up. If you care a lot for your car, you will give it a loving hand-wash, detail and wax periodically to keep its finish looking great. While you wash, you can look for new scrapes and dents that either you or your dealer can quickly repair before they become ugly and embarrassing.

4. Cautious Parking

Parking lots pose some of the most severe threats to auto exteriors. It is my pet peeve. Regardless of how carefully you park, someone else will come along and park too close to your car, giving your car a free dent. Although often minor, parking-lot damage can cost a lot to repair. Motorists these days live with the fear that a claim will cause their insurance premiums to rise, so they might not take responsibility for denting or scraping your car.

It’s time to take parking into your own hands. You can try taking up two spots when you park, making it impossible for other car doors to reach your vehicle. Also, you can park far away from other cars where most people will never park. The long walk will give you valuable health benefits, and the remote parking spot can help prevent damage to your car.

5. Common Sense

Your best defense against scrapes, dents, and grime might reside under your own hat. Common sense should tell you to avoid roads while they undergo paving line-painting work. Avoid attempting to enter narrow alleys and resist the temptation to drive up to your mailbox when you get home at the end of the day. Never drive your car near trees and bushes. Always avoid dirt or gravel roads. Also, keep your garage and carport clear of tools and other objects that can easily fall and damage your car.


Classic XJ-V8-WB Jaguar


DE's Jaguar Touring Sedan


Jaguar front seat


My Jaguar's engine after a steam




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3 Responses

  1. I am obsessive about my Jaguar

    Dr. Marcinko – Like you, I am obsessive about my CAT.

    It is a 2000 Jaguar sedan Vanden Plas model with Westminster Blue (Vanden Plas only) paint. It is fully equipped with power windows and locks, a trip computer, alloy wheels, automatic climate control and a leather interior with burl walnut trim.

    Other standard equipment includes traction control, rain-sensing wipers, child seat tether anchorages and depowered front airbags. My heated seat package has a six-disc CD Autochanger, an upgraded sound system with integrated Jaguar Navigaiton System.

    I love it and taking care of it. Many thanks for this essay.

    Dr. Murphy
    [Long time reader – first time commentator]


  2. Dick Van Dyke

    What a “ding” to his jaguar!



  3. How Proper Maintenance Helps Resale Value

    The day you bring home your new or used car is well-worth celebrating. The day you trade it in for a new vehicle can be just as exciting, especially if you have maintained your vehicle well over the years. Here’s why proper maintenance is so important, both during ownership and when trading in.

    Cost vs. Benefit

    There are two primary reasons individuals don’t get proper maintenance on their vehicles: time and money. Those who don’t have enough time to keep their vehicle maintained will definitely not have enough time to get it repaired down the road. Those who are worried about the cost of maintaining a vehicle need to examine two things: the cost of getting a vehicle repaired due to a lack of maintenance, and the increase in resale value as a result of proper maintenance.


    So you followed your maintenance log that came with your vehicle, right? Great! You also documented each and every oil change, tune up, tire rotation, windshield wiper switch, and whatever else you could think of documenting, correct? Having this information on hand makes your vehicle much more attractive to buyers. If you tell a prospective buyer that you’ve meticulously maintained your vehicle, he or she will be more likely to believe you if it’s properly documented in a log book, especially when accompanied by receipts.

    Recommended maintenance and what to record

    If you haven’t kept a log, gather your receipts. If you don’t have receipts, go through credit card statements. Make sure your records are accurate.

    Here are some of the things you should document: Fluid changes; Tire rotation; Paint or body shop receipts; Engine repair paperwork; Car detailing receipts; Inspection reports and Smog certificates; etc.

    Other recommended maintenance

    Obviously, nobody wants to buy a car that doesn’t run well, but in your haste to document and maintain mechanical aspects of the vehicle, don’t neglect to maintain the exterior and interior. Unsightly blemishes on the exterior or a torn, ripped, or dirty interior can distract from your well-organized documentation as well.

    Pre-sale preparation

    In addition to routine cleaning of the car’s exterior and interior, there are a few things you’re going to want to pay special attention to when preparing a car for resale.

    Clean the windshields inside and out. Use a high-quality product to return the luster to vinyl surfaces and components on the inside. Vacuum the upholstery and carpets. Wipe down surfaces. If you’ve been doing this all along, you’ll have no problems when it comes to preparing the vehicle. Keep the exterior free of debris and give it a good detailing when preparing it for sale.

    There are more factors than routine maintenance when it comes to maintaining a car’s value. Take note, however, that an unmaintained vehicle will fetch less money, regardless of its make or model.



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