Tips, Tricks & Trends

Your Sprinklers Could Be Ruining Your Car

Unless you park in a garage or live someplace utterly void of a sprinkler system, chances are you’ve probably let your car get at least a little bit misted by a sprinkler. While many people don’t think twice about parking their car in the driveway, if you aren’t careful, you could be dowsing your car in hard water, and it could be ruining your car’s paint. You might not notice it at first, but over time, sprinkler water can ruing your vehicle, even if you do regular washing maintenance.

Harsh sprinkler water

In many places, sprinkler water is non-potable, and it is not as heavily filtered as our standard drinking water. This is because the filtering process isn’t necessary when watering your grass, and is the reason you shouldn’t drink water from a sprinkler — not that most people would be inclined to in the first place. But that’s also what makes the water too hard for your car’s paint.

Raindrops beading on classic car paintwork | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images

How to protect your paint

The obvious solution to this problem is to keep your car as far away from sprinklers as possible, but that isn’t exactly a reasonable way to solve things. There are ways that you can protect your car’s paint if getting sprinkler water on it is inevitable. Giving your vehicle a no-touch wash once a week with something like a pressure washer can help reduce the hard water stains, but if you aren’t washing your car correctly, it could lead to other problems.

Cleaning a sunroof
Donnie Parker details a vehicle | Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

RELATED: Should You Wash Your Car After It Rains?

A detailing and maintenance option that has been rising in popularity is a great way to protect your car’s paint from sprinkler water and other damaging elements. It’s called a ceramic coating, and it can be rather expensive. The ceramic coating seals in your car’s paint by creating a chemical bond with the clear coat, but it will not repair the damage that is already done. If you don’t want to shell out to money for ceramic coating, keeping your car correctly waxed can also minimize the effects of the sprinkler water.

Your paint will become dull over time

If you allow your car to sit in the sprinklers, over time, the hard water will stain your car’s clear coat. It’s more noticeable as the regular water stains we see often, but it can damage your car’s paint and require paint repair and correction, which can require wet-sanding a layer of the paint’s clear coat, and in more severe cases even a completely new paint job.

Workers spray paint a car body shell | Yuan Jingzhi/VCG

RELATED: You’ve Been Washing Your Car Wrong This Whole Time

You don’t have to own a show car to care about your car’s paint. Even if you aren’t always on top of your normally scheduled car wash, or you let your car get a little dirty sometimes, that doesn’t mean you should let your car’s paint get ruined if it’s preventable. Sprinklers can’t always be avoided, but with some simple tricks, you can avoid ruining your car’s paint.