The Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Corvette's Paint
The Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Corvette's Paint
There are several ways to protect your car paint depending on what type of protection you are looking for (paint protection, theft, mechanical performance/issues, etc). This article focuses on ways to protect your Corvette, specifically the Chevrolet C6 and C7 Corvette, from paint damage such as paint scratches, paint chips, paint dents, and keeping your car cleaner for longer.
The first thing that you notice about a car is its paint finish, and you likely chose your Corvette based on its paint when you walked into the dealership or saw it online. Whether it was Arctic White, Torch Red, Daytona Sunrise Orange, or Gloss Black that caught your eye there is nothing as satisfying as seeing that new brilliant paint for the first time. You want to make sure your Corvette's paint finish looks the way it did when you first rolled out of the dealership. That's the main purpose of this write-up.
Perhaps, you are thinking, "Why don't I just repair the paint chips after a while and not worry about doing any of the steps above", and that is definitely something you can do. But, a quick google search, and you'll find that repairing paint chips often start at $150.00 and can go as high as $1000 depending on the severity. Multiple that a few times and you'll be kicking yourself after realizing it would have cheaper to do any of the following.
Alright, let's get right into it. Here are the top five ways to protect your Corvette's paint.
1) Regular washing and car care products
I guarantee this is something you already do whether it's every Sunday before the ball game or after your weekend drives. I know there are even some of you reading this that wash and detail their cars after every drive. But, for those of you that do not wash your car, or put some car safe chemicals on the car to protect it, this one's for you.
Regular washing is important to keep your Corvette's paint from deteriorating and looking old. When you drive, you accumulate debris from the road such as dust, dirt, bugs, mud, dirty water/rainwater. Hell, I've even seen grass clippings stuck to some Corvettes.
If you live in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or even Michigan where it frequently rains. then you are probably constantly planning when you can take the Corvette out. Have you ever caught yourself saying, "Am I going to get caught in the rain if I take the Corvette to Bob's?", "I hope it doesn't rain this Saturday. I really want to go for a drive outside the city"?
If you don't remove any debris, then the debris can settle and seep into the paint. This will cause de-lamination (deteriorate the clear coat), which will expose the paint and leave it vulnerable. The clear coat in the paint is what is truly making your car's paint pop.
Rainwater is a big concern to your Corvette's paint integrity especially the clear coat. Not driving your Corvette is a boring option in our opinion. We prefer to add a layer of ceramic coating to the car so that you don't fear the rain. The water will bead up on the car and simply fall off due to the hydrophobicity (fear of water) of the coating. Now, the rainwater won't collect and form water pops and the acid in the water would eat away at the clear coat.
Waxing and applied ceramic coats will also protect your car's paint from other acidic debris such as bird droppings or tree sap. Keeping a layer of wax also helps reduce the amount of time you spend washing your car. Washing your car from start to finish can be a labor-intensive task and lengthy. With a coat of wax, sometimes all the car will need is a quick rinse, and you're done.
Besides the benefits of keeping your Corvette free from debris and the threat of paint damage, waxing maintains that new car shine just like you picked it up from the dealer. We guarantee your waxed Corvette will attract greater attention than the same Corvette non-waxed next to you. So, get out there and start washing and waxing.
Before and after waxing treatment is applied.
- Your car always looks brand new, and in the best shape possible. We guarantee you'll get comments on how clean your car looks if you are regularly washing, and applying car care products.
- Identify problematic areas. Because you're washing regularly you quickly pick up which areas are dirtier than others, where bugs tend to hit, where rocks and mud come from. You can then address those areas with the information you gained.
- It's a time sink. Let's not kid ourselves. We can easily spend over an hour cleaning the car. While that may be fun at first it can quickly grow tiresome, and become more of a chore than it is pleasureful.
- Long-term expenditure. Washing your car and applying wax takes car care products, and while it might be a few $20.00 here and there that can quickly add up after a year of regular washing.
- Choose waxes or coatings that are non-abrasive. You're not looking for a polishing wax here. You want a wax that protects.
- Always select a wax paste over a wax spray. You have more control over where it is applied, and they will last longer.
- Ceramic coatings last longer and make rinsing the debris off the Corvette easier.
2) Paint Protection Films
Paint protection films are becoming all the rage these days. More and more dealerships are offering this service before you even take delivery, and for good reason. Think of protection films as a pair of latex gloves for your car. While they will prevent those minor scrapes, and soft bumps any significant force will still rip through it.
What is great about films is that you can see that they are working. After any significant mileage with a film on the car upon close inspection, you can see minor tactile knicks and dinks in the film, but your paint is still in good condition. This can also be a bit of a problem since they are somewhat visible, and replacing a film is not a simple or cheap task.
Films typically have high upfront costs since they are not a DIY mod. You need to have someone install it for you. They will charge you manhours on top of the film, but it is still worth it compared to hiring someone to repair paint chips.
- Will protect from minor damages.
- Once installed there is no maintenance on your behalf. Set it and forget it.
- You don't have to put a film on the entire car.
- Professionally installed by certified experts.
- High upfront cost.
- Can be visible on certain paint finishes leading to a bit of an eyesore.
- May peel or accumulate dust on the edges, which is extremely bad for paint.
- Save on costs by not putting a film on the entire car. Focus on problematic areas. For example, around the grill and side paneling of the car.
- If you are worried about it being visible, then you should consider doing the entire car. It makes spotting the edges difficult compared to when it is only a patch of film.
Make sure you stop by our paint protection section if you are looking for new ways to protect your C7 Corvette's paint
3) Hide Your Corvette
Okay, we admit the title for this sounds like you can never show off your Corvette, but hear us out. If you live in places where the sun is extremely powerful and hot like Arizona, Nevada or Texas, then you should be mindful where you park the Vette.
Intense UV exposure will fade your paint. It won't happen overnight, but we can assure you that over the course of time consistent sun exposure will deteriorate the quality and brilliance of your Corvette. Getting your car out of the sun is intuitive, but here are some tips to keep in mind to help you to be more mindful when you are looking to protect your Corvette from the sun.
Look for in-door parking
If you're out at the mall with the wife or going to lunch with a few of the guys, then try and find a storied car park (obviously don't park on the top level exposed to the sun). car parks with several tiers are well shaded, which block the sun from getting in and on your car's paint. The large concrete slabs ensure that the inside is also cool.
If you don't have access to these larger parking garages, then look for shade when you are out. Don't park under trees. That goes back to our first point of making sure there is no tree sap on the car. It can be as simple as parking next to a tall building that is blocking the sun or tall objects on the sidewalks such as advertising columns and etc.
Park inside your personal garage
If you have a garage at your home and you're not currently using it for the Corvette, then there better be a Ferrari F40 in there explaining why you're not using it. This is the easiest way to protect your Corvette's paint.
If you don't have a garage, then consider building a carport to shelter the car. A couple thousand dollars can get you set up with one. If you're not looking more projects around the house, then at the bare minimum get a car cover. There are hundreds of styles and colors to choose from. For the purposes of sun exposure, get a cover that is dark in color that makes the light difficult to penetrate.
Perhaps, you don't live in these type of climates, but the same principles can apply to you if you live in colder climates like the salt belt states such as Illinois, Ohio, or Maryland where they heavily salt your roads. You want to avoid salt like the plague. Using both methods will ensure that salt cannot ruin your Corvette's paint.
- Free. Nothing beats free paint protection especially compared to the alternatives.
- If you are doing it correctly, then it might mean you spend less time cleaning and maintaining the Corvette.
- Requires discipline. You need to constantly be thinking about where to park, how to park, will there be parking, and endless what-if scenarios. That can quickly take the pleasure out of driving these beauties, and we don't want that.
- Mother nature is out of our control. If it rains 5 days straight, or there's a massive heatwave we are at Mother nature's mercy.
- In-door parking
- Find shade (Avoid trees)
- Personal garage
- Car covers
4) Driving Habits
This tip is somewhat vague and abstract but is effective. Ultimately, the idea behind driving to protect your paint is to be mindful of where and how you are driving your Corvette.
Where you drive your Corvette is important because if you are constantly taking backroads, going over gravel or dirt, in a city that uses salt or rocks on their road, then your Corvette is going to suffer serious wear and tear compared to one that doesn't. Limiting your exposure to these types of roads is one way of avoiding that extra exposure. That means stick to highways and areas where you know are well maintained, and if you are in a state where they do salt or gravel to roads for winter, then avoid those months up to and after the snow is cleared.
How you drive your Corvette is equally important because someone that is heavy on the pedal will be spin their tires at higher velocities, which means your tires will be kicking up rocks and road debris like no tomorrow. In contrast, if you are cautious and are more leisurely with your drives, then you're less likely to have those same issues.
- Contribute to a long-lasting paint finish and Corvette.
- A lot of work to plan your drives, and always thinking about where you can and cannot go.
- Boring to drive the car extremely cautiously.
- You know better than anyone your roads, so don't go to those areas if they are known for their poor condition.
- Drive cautiously and compare it to when to drive a bit more aggressively and see if there's a difference in how dirty or if you hear more debris hitting the car.
Touch up the Carbon Flash Metallic Black paint with our 4-in-1 touch up pen with everything you need to repair those damage areas on the black trim on your C7 Corvette
5) Splash Guards, Mud Flaps, Rock Guards
The above methods are all great at either maintaining paint quality or preventing it, but they either require a lot of work (washing and waxing regularly, finding places to hide the Corvette) or can be quite expensive (paint protective films or building carports). Splash guards, mud flaps, or rock guards (we will refer to these as mudflaps going forward) are an effortless and inexpensive way to protect your Corvette's paint. We would go as far as saying it is the best way to protect your Corvette's paint from damage.
What are mudflaps? Mudflaps attach to the backside of your Corvette's wheel well and prevent rocks and road surface debris from flying off your tires and propelling towards the paint.
Mudflaps come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and material. For the most part, people tend to think of the mudflaps that you see on trucks. Those large rectangular rubber flaps that stick out of the side. Those are obviously great but tend to be quite an eyesore especially on a sports car like the C7 Chevrolet Corvette. You can find universal mudflaps at your automotive store, but they are not tailored to your car's design or how the rocks will propel off the car.
We specially design our C7 Corvette mudflaps to only fit on the Chevrolet C7 Corvette Stingrays, Grand Sports, Z06s, and ZR1s. We design the mudflaps using OEM data to ensure that it is the best fit on the market. Fitment is just as important as the function because you want the mudflap not to be the focus of the car and take away from its beauty. You want mudflaps to be on the car doing their job, while not being an eyesore.
- Inexpensive. One time payment. Very rarely will you need to replace a mudflap.
- Long-lasting. A quality mudflap will withstand the damage from rocks and other road surface debris.
- Effortless. Once installed, there's nothing else to do other than drive!
- Stops rocks from the source before it even gets near your Corvette's paint.
- Can be a visible distraction from the car if not designed properly.
- Some mudflaps install using two-way tape and can fly off the car or detach over time.
- Install them as soon as possible. Mudflaps are effective when there is no rock chipping to begin since they don't repair paint chips!
- Choose mudflaps that are designed for your car, and not simply a universal car mudflaps
You can learn more about the Chevrolet C7 Corvette Rock Guards that we offer.
Here's a great video showing how the rock guards work and install:
ACS-C7 Enhanced Front Mudflap to learn more about the benefits of mudflaps.
Bonus Tip: Don't drive your Corvette
Just kidding. Don't do that...These cars especially the C6 and C7 Corvettes were built to be driven, and withstand the mileage you put on them. That equally applies to their paint as well, as long as you utilize the above techniques.
While those are the 5 best ways to protect your Corvette's paint the goal is not to select one of them and hope to protect your paint long-term. It requires the use of all the 5 top ways: Regular washing and car care products, paint protection films, hiding and storing your car away from harsh elements, adjusting your driving habits and installing mudflaps on your Corvette.
By employing the above methods, you'll ensure that your Corvette's paint will be long-lasting, and just a new as the day you fell in love with the car.
Happy paint protecting, and comment on your favorite ways to ensure your paint is in tip-top shape!
- ACS Composite