No Bugs About It
Here’s What Bugs Do to Your Car’s Paint
The weather is warming, the plants are growing, the bugs are coming back out. As the temperatures continue to rise, there will be more and more bugs. And nothing is more common in the summer than a bumper, grill, and windshield that has been coated in those critters that were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Those critters can be annoying. And if they are left on your vehicle for too long, they become like glue and are very stubborn when you try to clean them off! It turns out the bug gets one last revenge too. Most bug guts are slightly acidic. As they decompose, they release enzymes that wreak havoc on your paint job.
Bugs on the Vehicle’s Paint
Here in Montana we have a bit of a drier climate. That’s good for two things.
First, the dry air means there aren’t as many bugs out and about. They need moisture to survive and reproduce; without it they just avoid the area. But we’re not completely devoid of insects.
Second, the dry hot air often means that instead of decomposing, the bug guts dry up and harden. They’re a pain to get off when they’re like this, but they’re also not damaging your paint quite as much.
Still, they aren’t helping your vehicle at all, and they do need cleaned up. As the bug guts set on the paint surface, they slowly etch their way through the clear coat. Modern paint jobs are tough, and it takes a while to happen, but each bug is doing a little bit more damage.
Over time, those critters are going to cause the paint, anywhere they hit, to just look bad. So how do you get those bugs cleaned off that have “baked” onto the car?
Cleaning Bugs off a Vehicle
There isn’t any dirt, grime, tar, or bug that is going to be good for your rig. So keeping it nice and clean should be a priority to prolong your vehicle. Washing it once each week isn’t excessive, but most people don’t have time for that. Throughout the warmer months, washing every 4 weeks should be the bare minimum (even more often if you’ve been on a trip and accumulated a lot of bugs).
To safely remove bugs, simply forget about the specialty products you see that promise bug, tar, and grime removal. They work, but often they are harsh on the paint. Instead, you need water, car soap, a good car washing sponge or mitt, and a little elbow grease. Remember, only use products made for automotive use; others are usually too abrasive.
Give your vehicle a nice wash with soap and water. Scrub those bug covered spots especially hard to get anything off. Once the guts are gone, you may still see stains. These can be left if you don’t mind the blemish, or you can keep going to remove those as well.
When the stains, or even the dried bugs themselves, aren’t coming off easily, you have to re-hydrate them. Dampen a towel, and drape it over the affected area. Give it 10-15 minutes to transfer the water from the towel to the bug, and scrub again with soap and warm water.
After the vehicle has been cleaned and dried, the easiest way to prevent this in the future is to wax the vehicle. Any surface that gets hit with bugs can get a light coat of wax on it. Then, instead of sticking to the car, they stick to the wax. Wash and scrub them off, re-apply the wax, and you’re all set.
Big Sky Collision Center does Auto Detailing
Here at Big Sky Collision, we’re known for auto body repairs in Billings, Montana. But did you know that we provide affordable auto detailing as well?
If your vehicle is especially bug covered, or maybe you just don’t have the time to fully detail your rig, give us a call at 406-259-6328 and we can schedule a time for your full detail.