Preventing Car Damage

There are two types of people in the world:

Car people and everyone else.

It’s easy to pick out a true car person.

How so?

They usually look back at their vehicle as they walk away from it. Everyone else walks away without a second thought or concern.

And why not? After all, a vehicle is just transportation.

To a car person, the loss, damage or complete destruction of their cherished vehicle can be devastating.

Not like the death of a family member or friend. No, it simply throws off our groove.

Safe Parking

I hate parking lots, especially if they’re full.

I just know that some old battle wagon is going to pull up next to me and give my car a door ding.

I recently bought an SUV. It has complicated my parking situation. Unlike my sport sedan, the SUV barely fits into most spaces. It also doesn’t have door trim!

My friends, it’s a sitting duck for a ding.

Learn From Experience

I recently attended Sneak Preview Night at the Los Angeles Car Show.

As normal, I headed for the top of the parking structure to find a corner parking space.


The corner (end spaces) reduce your chances of a ding by 50 percent.

In many cases, the corner and end spots are also larger. It’s true.

I found an end spot and parked as far over as possible.

After getting out of the car, locking it, and walking away, I had a funny feeling and return to my SUV to move it.

A bewildered BMW owner sitting in his car popped his head out of the window to ask me why I moved.

“Simple reason,” I said, “I don’t want to be hit when someone rounded the corner too close.”

You just can’t win!

Magnetic Door Guards

Here’s a story about a solution…

A while back I started using a magnetic door guard on my Porsche 911.

My son, Andrew, has a habit of opening doors with great enthusiasm. The guards are made of rubber and stick to the sides of the door.

They have saved my doors, and Andrew, from certain death.

I highly recommend door guards. Great investment.

The Use of Parking Pads

Speaking of SUVs and parking in the garage, did you know the standard garage is 22 feet deep?

That seems like sufficient room until you realize the average SUV, full-size pickup and full-size sedan are 16 to 17 feet long.

If you have storage or a work bench, there’s just enough room to pull a vehicle all the way in and still be able to walk behind.

I solved this issue with a little device which can only be described as a parking pad!

You put it in the garage where you want to stop.

Perfect parking every time! It’s really great. I’ve come to depend on it.

Running For Cover

Back in the 1980s and 90s I worked as an independent consultant.

My work took me all over the east coast. For most jobs, I enjoyed driving to the client’s site. It gave me time to think and relax.

Any time I traveled away from home I brought a car cover along.

During the day, the cover protected my car from sunlight and birds as well as airborne contamination.

That’s not all. At night, it kept my car dry and away from the prying eyes of potential thieves.

When I moved back to the coast of California, I continued to use a cover. This time for a completely different reason.

Anyone living near the ocean knows about salt air corrosion. Even if you keep your car in the garage, the salt air creeps in, laying down a thin film of salt.

The bottom line:

A car cover is the only way to protect your car from damaging effects of salt air.

In fact, a car cover is an essential accessory for anyone with a nice car.

Let me clarify…

Without a garage, you need an all-weather cover (water resistant). If you do have a garage, you need a dust cover.

Sun Lovers Beware

When I was a kid, my parents let me run around outside for hours without skin protection.

I was a fair-skinned boy. I’d get burns that’d make my skin blister.

In the last 20 years or so we’ve come to realize just how damaging the sun is.

These days it’s different. Most parents cover their children with SPF-30 or better sun protection.

Are we as smart about our cars?

Sure, modern cars are being designed with protection features, BUT these features do not offer full protection.

For instance, automotive glass is tinted. However, the tint level cannot fully protect an interior against long hours of ultra violet (UV) light exposure.

Likewise, many of the new paint clear coat systems have UV inhibitors. Make no mistake, the measure isn’t total protection.

Unfortunately, car salesmen oversell these benefits. New car owners mistakenly believe sun damage is impossible.

Take it from me: They are mistaken.

UV radiation strength is actually increasing.

Protection from this type of damage continues to be necessary maintenance. That is IF you want your car’s look to hold up more than 5 years.

Here’s my ‘how-to’ list for keeping your car sun damage free for 10 or more years:

  • Use a synthetic sealant product on your paint every 3-4 months. No product on the market retains UV protection effectiveness more than 2-3 months.
  • Use a vinyl and rubber protectant with UV inhibitors on all exterior vinyl and rubber twice a month.
  • Treat cloth upholstery and carpet with a UV and stain blocker treatment once a year.
  • Treat vinyl, plastic and leather upholstery every two months.
  • Tint the rear and passenger side windows.
  • Use a sun shield in your windshield when parked outside.
  • Cover your car when parked outside for extended periods.

Your vehicle’s appearance can remain in excellent condition for ten or more years.

On the other hand, if you take no precautions, you’ll see a noticeable deterioration in five or so years.

Proper Engine Care

Don’t forget cleaning the inside of the engine, too.

Many car experts recommend cleaning the inside of your engine every 25,000 to 30,000 miles with a motor flush. While you can’t see it, varnishes and sludge accumulate inside your engine.

Changing your oil does little to remove this harmful contamination. A motor flush product will break down internal contamination build-up, so it can be flushed away when the oil is drained.

Keep what’s under the hood clean, and not just for appearance’s sake. Dirt and grease build-up can be harmful to your car’s engine. A build-up of grease and grime can contaminate your engine, binding linkages, clogging vital passages and inhibiting heat transfer.

Read more about detailing an engine because it’s another very important aspect to maintaining a vehicle.

Let’s Review What We’ve Covered

Parking lot damage, UV radiation damage and excessive wear and tear are all within your control.

Have a nice vehicle? Want to keep it nice? You must provide it with the proper care.

Also check out tips for making your car last longer!