Could The Fourth Of July Ruin Your Car’s Paint?

The Fourth of July will look a little different in small towns across the country this year as everything has been shut down due to the pandemic. For some families, this could mean staying home with the kids, but for others making the short drive to your local firework show is just as safe, especially if you can social distance from the comfort of your car. Before you pack your picnic blankets and head out this weekend to watch the fireworks, there is one thing you should be aware of, because it can ruin your car’s paint if you don’t keep up with maintenance.

Fourth of July fireworks

Chances are if you’re driving somewhere to watch fireworks this weekend your car is going to come into contact with the dry ash fallout from the fireworks. This ash isn’t harmful to you or your family, and while it remains dry it won’t do much to affect your car’s paint at all, so this shouldn’t prevent you from taking your car to your local firework show – it just means there are a few things you should do when you get home.

People watch fireworks light up the sky over New York City | Kena Betancur/Getty Images

When the ash on your car becomes wet – from sprinkler water, rain, or any other water source, it causes a reaction that makes the ash corrosive to automotive paint. This means if you drive your car home and leave it in the driveway where the sprinklers can get to it – and don’t get me started on how sprinkler water alone is bad for your car paint – you’re in for some trouble.

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A quick top-to-bottom rinse with some water to remove all of the ash is a quick and helpful solution to this problem and should be done as soon as possible. Even though the ash is coming into contact with water, it is being washed away before the corrosive reaction affects your paint, while light rain showers and sprinklers would only wet it enough to sit there on your car.

General car faux-pas

Most of us have been guilty of it at some point or another, and it doesn’t just happen during the Fourth of July. In fact, it’s something that is pretty common but can definitely damage your car’s paint, or even create severe damage on the body itself. That’s right – stop sitting on your car. Yes, that means your small child too.

Fireworks at Bahrain International Circuit | MAZEN MAHDI/AFP via Getty Images

Anytime you sit on your car you risk putting small dents in it, which – depending on their location – can be relatively pricey to repair even with paintless dent removal.

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Of course any time you lean on your car or sit on it you aren’t just risking some dents, you are also rubbing up on the paint, which is more fragile than you might imagine. Automative paint scratches easily when it comes in contact with rough fabric, which includes most cotton and jeans used in clothing. Belts, studs, or other pieces of metal can gouge your paint, sometimes requiring an entire panel to be repainted.

Some people don’t really care about their car’s overall paint, and that’s okay too – in fact, it’s not uncommon for many off-road-oriented cars to have some relatively deep scratches because after all, they are designed to get covered in abrasive material like dirt and mud. If you care about your car’s paint then heed these warnings, or risk some costly repairs down the road.