What Eats Car Paint The Fastest – 21 Harmful Substances

In this article, let’s talk about what eats car paint the fastest.

Paint is a substance used for vehicles’ protection and decoration. Exposure to the environment, physical impacts with other objects, and deposits of harmful substances such as gas, bird-poop, bleach, coffee, etc., can damage car paint.

The sun is one of the most common elements that can damage car paint significantly. Hence you should protect your car from the sun in open parking by using car wax with UV protection.

Aside from the sun, we have compiled 21 substances. Each of the substances is what eats car paint the fastest.

20 Substances that take off paint fast

If you have ever wondered why it is that paint seems to disappear from your car’s bumper before the rest of the car, we have an answer for you! Here are the top 20 substances that take off paint faster than the rest:

1. Gasoline

Gasoline can drip from the nozzle and ruin the paint. But sometimes it also depends on how long you leave the gas in contact with the paint and whether or not you use a nozzle that disperses the fuel in a direction away from your car.

It can make your paint fade by thinning out your clear coat. When it gets deeper it will eat the base coat as well. Before that could happen you should wash it off with water.

2. Salt

Salt is a common substance that can lead to paint damage. It sticks to the paint and makes it corrode or erode. If you live near the ocean, then this will be a major threat to your car’s paint because of the salt in the air. Eventually, it can lead to rust formation that will damage your car’s paint and metal.

Many people also put salt on their roads to clear snow and ice which means that cars are exposed to salt regularly.

3. Snow

Another major cause of car paint damage is snow. Unfortunately, snow tends to do a lot of damage to your car’s paint and other parts. They can get caught in the cracks and nooks of your car’s body. This will lead to scratches that take off the paint as well as corrosion.  Of course, the melting snow could also result in rust.

As soon as you get out of the snow, it’s important to brush off any snow that may have stuck to your car so that there isn’t a build-up that can lead to more damage down the road.

4. Sand

Small particles like sand will get stuck in the car paint and can lead to scratches that take off the paint. Sand can also cause corrosion. It’s important to brush off any sand from your car as soon as you get in from a trip outside. Be careful when cleaning sand particles, as cleaning it improperly may scratch the car even more.

Make sure to clean out the air vents and other surfaces of your car because sand can catch there too.

5. Bugs

Bugs such as spiders, beetles, and worms when squished can cause car paint damage over time. They often crawl around on the surface of cars when they are trying to get somewhere else or find food for themselves.

Bug guts are acidic, so the longer they stay on the car’s surface, the more they eat away at it. Also, you should remove bugs from your car quickly. You can use Bugs B Gone or any goo remover for cars.

5. Coffee

Coffee is acidic and contains sugar which makes it good for dissolving paint. If you are drinking coffee while reading this article, then your cup may have some sugar and acid on the edges of the rim which can damage car paint right now!

It’s important to clean up any spills as quickly as possible, so they don’t have a chance to drip down onto your car and eat away at the paint.

6. Battery acid

If you are still asking what eats car paint the fastest? Another harmful substance is battery acid. Any acid can damage paintworks. Car paint is ruined by battery acid when it leaks and accidentally spills while changing. This will cause corrosion to occur, which eventually leads to scratches in the paint. 

The solution for this problem is to make sure to check the car periodically for any evidence that battery acid has leaked from the battery. Also, be careful not to spill it whenever you are changing or working on your batteries.

7. Shaving cream

Shaving cream is a particularly dangerous substance that can eat car paint. They are often made from compounds that are acidic or alkaline. These create the perfect recipe for peeling paint off of the surface. 

If the cream is still in foam form, it may not damage car paint right away. But once it dried up, it may cause fading. So act immediately and wipe off that shaving cream.

8. Tar on roads and driveways

If you’re driving on a highway, chances are that you’ve spotted ripples of tar on the surface that will take out your car’s paint if it were to get stuck in the crevices. Even if you don’t want to think about it happening now, you should know that there is a possibility when traveling over any highways. 

You should make sure to watch for these rivulets of tar because they can ruin your paint. They tend to harden and stick to the painted surfaces. That can make it extremely difficult to remove and even damaging the paint in the process. Consider using a tar remover to make it easier and safer.

9. Bird droppings

Bird droppings are a major cause of car paint damage. Drivers often overlook this problem. Birds will eat berries that contain acid or alkaline. Then their droppings contain the same substances when they excrete them. This is what makes it so dangerous! 

The good news is you can clean bird-poop off the car easily. The best way to keep your car safe from bird droppings is to clean up any that linger on your car after you’ve finished the outside. If you see birds flying too close to your car, start driving so they don’t have time to get close enough to poop on it!

12. Ashes

Ashes can have a bad effect on your car paint. Smoke, soot, and falling ash can ruin your car’s paint, according to the American Automobile Association. It contains calcium and potassium, which can be corrosive when mixed with water. A layer of black ash on the surface of a car be an indication that acid or alkaline has been leached from the ash into the exterior of the car. 

This will cause corrosion to occur, which eventually leads to scratches in the car paint. To clean up ashes from your car, use a hose to flush away the wood char and then brush the rest.

13. Rust

Rust is one of the main causes of paint peeling. If the rust penetrates deep enough, it can harm the surface coat, and that will eventually lead to peeling paint. There are many ways in which rust can affect your car’s exterior. 

For example, if rust has penetrated deeply into your car’s body panels, you may need to replace those panels or have them repainted because it could save you from much more expensive damages down the road.

14. Road salt

Road salt is a major cause of paint damage as it can eat away at the paint. When you come in contact with road salt it will start corroding the surface. 

One of the most common spots for corrosion to occur is where your wheels and tires all touch the ground. This is because these parts are constantly exposed to the road salt on the ground without any protection.

The best way to keep your car safe from this type of corrosion is to clean up immediately. This means soaking up any spills quickly and cleaning off any white residue left behind by grime or dirt that comes in contact with your car. 

15. Hydraulic fluids (Brake fluid)

Brake fluids are corrosive substances that can eat away at your car’s paint by eroding the paint’s surface layer. This will ultimately lead to peeling and chipping paint, which in turn leads to rusting. 

In five minutes, brake fluid can begin to crack the clear coat and vinyl paint of your car. Older cars, which may have been painted with low-quality paint or not waxed appropriately, are more at risk. If you accidentally spilled brake fluid on your hood, clean it up immediately.

16. Insecticides

The poison itself can potentially damage cars, especially paint that is not coated with heavy lacquer. Insecticides can eat away at your car paint by creating an environment where corrosion is possible. DEET (chemical name, N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is the active ingredient in many repellent products. Apparently, the DEET used in bug spray is known to melt car paint. DEET has been known to destroy the varnish on wooden tables.

If you’ve accidentally gotten bug spray on your car’s paint, the best thing to do would be to wipe it off as soon as you notice.

17. Acid rain

Acid rain is a major cause of paint damage because it is one of the things which eats car paint the fastest. The acidic particles corrode paint and metal. The acid rain contains compounds like nitric and sulfuric acid that seeps through to the surface layer of paint and work their way down. 

If your car is exposed to this type of corrosion, you may experience things such as peeling or chipped paint, which in turn leads to rusting. The best way to prevent this is to remove any evidence of the acid rain early on in the process.

18. Bleach

Most people use bleach every day without much thought. The truth is, though – that bleach can destroy your car paint if it’s not handled with care. Bleach contains compounds like nitric and sulfuric acid, which can seep through the paint’s surface and work their way down to the surface layer of the paint. 

If your car is exposed to this type of corrosion, you may experience things such as peeling or chipped paint, which in turn leads to rusting. A way to prevent this from happening is by removing any evidence of the bleach early on in the process.

19. Sharp objects

Physical objects can destroy your car paint by interacting with it in many ways. Sharp objects can cause scratches, and they are also present on the body of your car. 

The outside environment is a major concern for the prevention of corrosion because of sharp objects, but it will not be enough to completely protect your vehicle from all sorts of road hazards.

20. Dust

Dust can destroy your car paint in many different ways. The dust can cause scratches, which is one way that it interacts with the paint on your car. The other way is that it collects on the outside of your car and attaches to the paint. 

It’s common to use vacuum suction to suck up dust, but a good way to get rid of dust is with a damp cloth or sponge and wipe down the surface of your vehicle.

21. Tree Sap

We have come to the final substance on what eats car paint the fastest. And that is tree sap. Tree sap is a major source of paint damage because it can work its way through the surface layer of paint and create an environment where corrosion occurs. The other way it’s destructive to your car paint is by causing scratches or attracting dust.

When left unattended, tree sap can attract dust particles or absorb them, causing more scratches and/or peeling and chipping paint. You can remove tree sap from your car by using a Goo Gone product. These are available at any local hardware store.


This article has shown you the top 20 things that can eat away at your car paint. It includes harmful substances, household substances, and environmental elements. 

You should know that thing which eats car paint the fastest are very common. But they can cause a lot of damage to your car if you do not handle them in the right way. It is important to remember that there are many ways that a substance can eat away at your car, and many of them are not common.

The 20 things mentioned in this article are some of the most common items that will cause damage to your vehicle’s paint.

Leave a Comment