Top 4 Ways To Avoid Surface Scratches

Swirls on Car Hood

Scratches, swirls, holograms – they’re terrible. Surface imperfections can and will ruin the appearance of your car – especially if it’s a dark color. But what if I told you that any surface blemish you get is completely preventable? Would you take advantage? I guess we’ll find out as we cover four easy and effective ways to prevent your car from getting scratches…

1. Regular Protection

The best way to prevent and avoid clear coat scratches is to always keep your car protected. The best way to go about this is often argued, but (as I’ve recommended many times in the past) without a question the most effective way to seal your paint is with a liquid paint sealant and a premium carnauba. Not only will the paint sealant create an excellent barrier, but you get the deep shine of carnauba on top of it all. It’s the best of both worlds, and better yet, it’ll give you roughly 6-9 months of protection from scratches. (Read: Layering Waxes)

2. Hand Washing

If you’re still washing your car at an automatic wash, consider this your wake up call. Those noodles and brushes at the car wash have touched hundreds if not thousands and thousands of cars before yours. Dirty cars. That dirt then gets embedded into the cloth, noodle, brush and is then dragged across your paintwork. Additionally, remember that wax you got a few weeks ago? If you bring your car to the automatic (even the touchless/touch less car wash), the strong chemicals will weaken the bond and lower the sealant’s effectiveness. If you switch to hand washing, the advantages are staring you in the face:

  • Greater attention to detail = better clean
  • Conserves water
  • Saves money

Simply put, washing by hand is the best way to extend the life of your car’s paintwork, and to keep it as close to factory finish as possible. (Read: How To Properly Wash & Dry Your Car)

3. Ditch the Machine Polisher

Most people fail to realize that the machine they’re using to remove scratches is usually what’s causing them in the first place. High speed machines, for the most part, are simply too powerful for what you need them to do… therefore putting your paint at risk. Say you have a microscopic piece of debris lodged in the pad; that, combined with the machine’s high speed and heat, is going to tear up your paintwork and create swirls, holograms, you name it. Additionally, over polishing can lead to clear coat degradation, fading, and discoloration due to increased UV penetration. It’s safe to say you don’t want that happening. I suggest you switch to an orbital (like the Cyclo). They aren’t as dangerous as a rotary buffer, and, when used correctly, can yield the exact same results if not better. This one’s as easy as it comes – avoid scratches and ditch your high speed buffer.

4. Clear Bra

For extreme precaution, the clear bra. You may have seen super cars covered in plastic wraps or vinyl adhesives on the bumpers, mirrors, and hood – this is a clear bra. In a sense, all a clear bra is designed to do is give your car an additional layer of longterm temporary protection against rock chips, swirl marks, scratches, bugs, and more. Longterm because it’s plastic, temporary because they do get old, discolored, and scuffed – you’ll almost always need to replace them after a handful of years. At anywhere from $300 to $3000 packages (depending on coverage), it still beats repainting. And the best part? Your paint will never get a scratch. Yes, the clear bra film will get scratches – make no mistake on that. But you can buff, polish, wax, seal the same way with a clear bra, so there’s nothing to worry about. All that matters here is that your paint job is safe and locked in against almost anything.

While there are a number of ways to prevent and avoid surface scratches, it’s important to remember to keep your car clean. When cars get dirty and contaminated, that’s when the issues arrise. Someone buffed a car that needed to be clayed – hello swirl marks. Put the cover on when the car was covered in dust – gonna find some scuffs. All I’m saying is be prepared, keep your car clean, and stay ahead of the game. Try it out for yourself and let us know how it goes. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed when you see how great your car could look.