âMuch like your car’s mechanical systems, being proactive with your car’s paint finish – keeping a good coat of wax on your vehicle and quickly removing potentially harmful materials – is key to a long life. life, âsays John Ibbotson, chief mechanic for Consumer Report. .
If you drive a newer car, there is less to worry about. Over the past decade, car manufacturers have developed a transparent paint specifically designed to resist this type of acid. This means that today’s cars are better protected than older models.
If you drive an old car, there are steps you can take to protect it from Halloween pranks. We’ve compiled this advice from CR experts, auto service companies, an auto paint supplier, and a professional retail shop.
- Wax on it. Your best defense against such an attack is a protective layer of wax. Newer ceramic and hybrid products (a combination of traditional wax and ceramic) provide stronger protection, says a spokesperson for Mothers, a maker of auto care products. The week before Halloween is a good time to apply wax. It prepares your vehicle for Halloween threats and can help protect the paintwork from the onslaught of salt, sand and road grime that comes with winter driving in parts of the country. Consumer Reports tested traditional automotive waxes, and the results show that most start to wear off after just a few weeks. We therefore recommend that you wax even new cars every two or three months, or about once a season.
- Take cover. If you can, park the car in your garage on Halloween night or use a car cover, available at any auto parts store or online. It’s worth spending a little extra to get one that’s lined with a soft material so it won’t scratch your paint. And you’ll want one that breathes so that moisture doesn’t build up. These covers are available in a variety of sizes, and some are specially designed for SUVs, pickup trucks and other vehicles.
- Quick rinse. If your car is hit on Halloween night, rinse off any solid residue that can scratch the paint, such as eggshells, as soon as possible. (The heat of the sun speeds up chemical reactions.) A waterless retail spray is a convenient way to clean up stains. Just spray and wipe off. Give your vehicle a thorough wash to get rid of any remaining material. If you are doing it yourself, follow the advice of our car wash experts.
- Be ready. You may need to quickly clean up any small mess. Keep a small spray bottle of water mixed with car wash soap or retail spray handy. Then anytime you find a contaminant on your car’s paint, whether it’s bird droppings or something you find the day after Halloween, you can spray the solution on the car and wipe it off. damage with a microfiber towel. Even if you can’t remove it right away, just spray the solution on the damage to dilute the acid and minimize the damage.
- Last resort. If a contaminant has had time to set in and damage the paint but has not completely eaten away the clearcoat, wash the area thoroughly and try using a cleaning wax, a product formulated with abrasives that can remove a thin coat of paint to expose the undamaged paint underneath. (Our archived car wax ratings show which waxes offer the best cleaning and shine enhancement in our latest testing.) If the damage extends through the clearcoat and into the colored paint or metal, that area will likely need to be repainted.