Not So Innocent Halloween Pranks
Just like everything in life, there are always people who take things like Halloween pranks too far and take the fun out of a traditional holiday. The anonymity of being costumed, unchecked prowling at night, peer pressure, some pent-up anger issues and maybe even a grudge or two can push not just kids but adults as well on the one night the odds of getting away with a misdemeanor are pretty good.
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That is the proactive message behind a recent Consumer Reports reminder that each year cars are vandalized during the Halloween holiday with smashed pumpkins, Silly String, and eggs that while seemingly inert, actually can do some chemical and physical damage to your car’s finish. As a result, you will find your car now has a lower resale value overnight.
How to Protect Your Car This Halloween
If possible, the best protection is to park your car inside a garage for a few nights. Even if you have to pay to have it temporarily stored, the savings and aggravation could be a worthwhile car expense.
However, if the option is not available to you, listed below is a summary of tips from Consumer Reports on steps you can take not only to prevent car-related Halloween vandalism, but what to do to ensure that any potential damage from vandalism is removed or at least greatly lessened.
Halloween Car Tips
Take cover---Use a car cover. Even a cheap one will provide protection, but it is best to go ahead and invest in a better-quality cover that is lined with a soft material so that it doesn’t scratch your paint and is made of breathable fabric so that moisture doesn’t build up. Be sure to choose one that is sized for your vehicle type.
Wax on---Taking the time to put a protective coat of wax on your car’s finish will help protect your vehicle against acidic components of egg whites, pumpkin guts and potentially harmful chemicals in Silly String or paintball rounds that can eat into your car’s finish
The plus side to this too is that it is motivating you to be more diligent toward protecting your car from this fall’s weather elements such as rainwater, fallen leaves, and mud splatter that can result in hidden damage.
Quick rinse---CR analysts point out that the simplest measure of rinsing any foreign matter off your car is the most effective step you can take right away.
“If your car is hit on Halloween night, rinse off any solid residue that can scratch the paint, such as eggshells, as soon as possible. (The heat of the sun speeds up chemical reactions.) A waterless detail spray is a convenient way to spot-clean. Just spritz on and wipe off. Give your vehicle a thorough washing to get rid of any remaining material.”
Be prepared---Even without the worry of Halloween-related damage, it pays to be prepared by keeping a small spray bottle of water mixed with a car-washing soap or detail spray to clean off your car’s finish in case of bird droppings, bug splatter, or other contaminants. Be sure to have some microfiber towels packed in a zip lock bag as well to protect the finish while wiping off the spray.
Last resort---As a last resort if any of the measures fail or you cannot get to your car in time to prevent damage from occurring, your best option is to wash the affected area thoroughly and try using, “…a cleaning wax, a product formulated with abrasives that can remove a thin layer of paint to expose the undamaged paint beneath…If the damage extends through the clearcoat and into the color paint or metal, that area will probably need to be repainted,” advises CR car care experts.
For additional articles related to taking care of your car’s finish or trying some DIY painting to cover/repair damaged car paint, here are a few for your consideration:
Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.