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Can Bugs Damage Your Car?

Updated: Apr 25

Bugs can be a nuisance to drivers, not only because they create distractions while driving, but also because they can cause damage to a vehicle's paint and other surfaces. When bugs collide with a vehicle at high speeds, their bodies leave behind a residue that can be difficult to remove and begin to eat away at the protective coatings on the paint and other surfaces of your car.

Bugs That Can Damage Your Paint

One of the main culprits is the lovebug, a small black insect that is common in the southeastern United States. Lovebugs are attracted to exhaust fumes, sweet scents, and are often found swarming around highways and interstates. When they collide with a vehicle, their bodies leave behind a sticky residue that can be difficult to remove, especially if it is left on the surface for an extended period of time. This residue contains acidic compounds that can eat away at the protective coatings on the paint, leaving it vulnerable to further damage.

Other insects that can cause damage to a vehicle's paint include beetles, moths, mosquitos, and butterflies. These insects also leave behind residue that is difficult to remove and can damage the paint. In addition to their bodies, these insects can also leave behind eggs or larvae that can hatch and cause further damage.

What Happens When You Leave Bugs On Your Car

When you leave bugs on your vehicle for days or weeks and they sit in direct sunlight they are inevitably going to damage your vehicle's paint. Once you clean the residue off the surface of your paint you'll see what industry experts call "bug scars." These are easily identifiable because they have the same pattern and style as the bug splatter that you removed, but will appear to be a grey color. This happens because of the damage to the protective clear coat. They gray you see is the damaged clear coat that no longer provides that nice shiny reflective look. After long enough, you will start to see layers of paint beneath the original clear coat.

How to Prevent Bug Damage

To prevent damage from bugs, it is important to clean them off the vehicle as soon as possible. Using a soft cloth or sponge and a gentle soap solution can help remove the residue without damaging the paint.

There are also products available on the market that can help remove bug residue and prevent further damage. These products include bug and tar removers, which are designed to break down the residue and make it easier to remove. Bug removal products can usually be found in auto parts stores such as Autozone, Advance Auto Parts, O'reilly Auto Parts, NAPA, as well as Walmart, and other larger department stores.

It is also highly recommended to keep a protective coating on the vehicle's surfaces, such as a layer of wax, a sealant, or ceramic coating. These protective layers will help prevent or at least give you a little more time to clean the bugs off before they begin to damage your paint.

In conclusion, bugs can have a significant impact on a vehicle's paint and other surfaces. By taking preventive measures and using the right products, drivers can help minimize the damage caused by bugs and keep their vehicles looking their best.

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