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Getting a Christmas Tree home can damage your car whether you put it on the roof or carry it inside your trunk. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to haul home a tree without scratching your car. But as a professional detailer, I can give you some tips to help you bring home a Christmas tree without damaging your vehicle.

Use multiple blankets to keep your Christmas tree from scratching your car

This owner protected their car from Christmas tree scratches with large microfiber mats
Christmas trees on top of blankets on the roof of an SUV | Daniel Schäfer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Often it seems the simple solution is to throw a blanket on the roof of your car to protect it from Christmas tree damage. And while some coverage is better than none, this isn’t a complete solution. But if it’s enhanced protection you want, you should wrap the tree in a blanket or other soft material as well. The added wrap around the tree will prevent the needles from poking through the single layer you’ve placed on the roof, but even this isn’t a complete solution.

Ensure your car is clean before you put a Christmas tree on the roof

Whether you’re washing your car, using a quick detailer before a car show, or putting a Christmas tree on the family hauler, a dirty car is a recipe for damage. Any dirt on the surface will get trapped beneath whatever covering you use to protect your paint. Those trapped dirt particles then act as sandpaper, grinding away at the paint beneath the weight of your Christmas tree. Even with the softest possible towels or blankets, avoiding scratches is impossible with a dirty car.

Use a roof basket for ultimate protection

To completely avoid the risk of damaging your car’s paint with your Christmas tree, a roof basket is the ideal solution. This will keep the tree off of your paint altogether, helping prevent the scratches that come with that weight sitting directly on the surface. If your car doesn’t come with roof bars, you can install carrier bars that will then hold the roof basket for you. Plus, you can use them to transport bikes, skis, and roof boxes to expand your cargo-carrying capacity when you aren’t hauling home a tree for the holidays.

Here’s how to move a Christmas tree in a car

A wrapped Christmas tree before going into a car
A man prepares to load his Christmas tree into an SUV | Oliver Berg/picture alliance via Getty Images

While using your trunk and cargo area for Christmas tree hauling, you want to protect carpeting and upholstery from tree sap. Getting tree sap out of your upholstery is a nightmare to get rid of. And if this has already happened to you, this upholstery cleaning guide can help you find the right solution.

But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure–protecting your car from tree sap is much better than trying to clean it up afterward. Here, simply wrapping the tree in a tarp or blanket will stop the sap from ending up all over your car. Plus, it makes the tree easier to move around, which is always a plus.

Happy tree hunting!

Now that you know how to best protect your car from scratches and tree sap from your Christmas tree, you can happily bring home that festive holiday staple without worrying about damaging your car. Happy holidays!


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