When it comes to collision shops, most people think of dented-in bumpers and smashed-in side doors, totaled vehicles, and expensive repairs. While we are often faced with the challenges of fixing large scale damage to vehicles from accidents, we also see our fair share of cosmetic dings and scrapes that need attention.

If you have ever owned or driven a vehicle, chances are you’ve experienced small cosmetic damage to your car that was more of an eyesore and annoyance than anything. There are three glaringly obvious situations that can lead to cosmetic damage. Here are three of the most infamous irritants for vehicle owners:

Bumper carts. If your anxiety levels increase looking at stray carts in the grocery store parking lot, you’re not alone! Here are a few ways to combat cart damage to your vehicle:

  • Take time to place abandoned carts in cart corrals (consider it “car”-ma)
  • Park in a less crowded location, if possible. Prime parking spots are great, but not if they come at the expense of your vehicle’s exterior. Parking further away from the store is a less popular location, meaning there will be fewer people leaving carts scattered about.
  • If possible, back into your spot! Rear bumpers are typically more durable than the front of your vehicle, which means they can stand up to a bit more of a beating against cart damage. Backing into your spot leaves less room for carts to come crashing through parking spots towards your grill.

Death by door dings. We’ve been there before: You park in your typical spot, endure a day at the office, and come back to your car only to find a noticeable ding or scrape along the side of the door. Parking garage mishaps happen to the best of us, but there are some ways to prevent them:

  • Take note of vehicles in close proximity to your desired parking spot. Are they parked crooked or too close to the lines? Does their vehicle have evident dings or damage? If so, you might want to park your car elsewhere.
  • If you’re parking in a shopping center, parking next to the cart corral can eliminate neighboring drivers’ error by 50% (no cars on one side = no risk of their doors swinging into yours). Also, people are less likely to leave stray carts that close to the corral, so you don’t run the risk of damage from #1.
  • Don’t rely too heavily on backup cameras! Oftentimes, drivers are too focused on reversing and don’t pay enough attention to the front of their vehicles. Avoid front end damages by checking your mirrors and remembering what you learned in Driving 101!

Outside factors. The great outdoors can sometimes be not so great for your vehicle’s exterior. Things such as rust, bugs, and bird excrement can all present serious risks for your vehicle’s paint and finish. While we’re not all fortunate enough to have 24/7 indoor parking, there are a few things you can do make environmental factors a non-issue:

  • Remember to wash your vehicle frequently. Regular washing, whether at a professional car wash or simply with a bucket of soapy water and sponge in your driveway, helps to remove even unseen inhabitants on your vehicle.
  • Waxing your vehicle also helps to add a protective layer to your vehicle’s paint job, making it more difficult for environmental wear and tear to take a toll.
  • Consider undercoating your vehicle. This can be more of an investment, but it will pay off in the long run to prevent premature rusting.
  • Avoid parking under blossoming trees, if possible. Sap, pollen, and the bugs that are attracted to certain trees can all be problematic.
  • Invest in regular detailing. While washing and cleaning your vehicle regularly is effective, professional detailing gets the “in-between” spots that are typically overlooked. By setting regular detailing appointments, your vehicle will maintain its sheen and shine longer (plus, it will smell great on the inside, too!).

What’s the most annoying cosmetic damage you’ve experienced with your vehicle? Do you have questions on how to better maintain your car’s exterior? Comment below!

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