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  • Writer's pictureAutowash

SPLAT! What You May Not Know About Bug Guts on Your Car

With warmer weather many of us look forward to road trips, outdoor adventures, and the joys of driving with the windows down in the spring and summer. However, along with the joys of summertime driving comes an uninvited guest - bugs… and while those casual drives are fun, the splattered bugs across your bumper and windshield are a nuisance. What many people may not realize is that bug guts can wreak havoc on your car's exterior.

Bug guts on a vehicle


Bug guts may appear ugly, but harmless. However, they can have long-lasting effects on your car's paintwork if not promptly addressed. Here are a few reasons why bug guts should not be underestimated:

1. Etching and Staining: Bug remains, especially those of beetles and other insects with hard shells, contain acidic compounds that can etch into your car's paint. Over time, this can lead to permanent stains and blemishes on the surface, diminishing the overall appearance of your vehicle.

2. Sun-Baked Bugs: Even for those bugs with less acidic compounds in their residues, the addition of heat and UV rays can make that gooey blob into a paint-dulling dollop of destruction. Allowing these residues to dry and then be baked into the finish not only makes them much harder to remove, but when they are removed there may be unremovable evidence they were there, such as clear coat impressions or discoloration.

3. Corrosion and Rust: Bug guts can also contribute to the formation of corrosion and rust. When mixed with moisture, the acidic compounds in bug remains can create an environment conducive to rusting, especially on vulnerable areas such as the front grille, hood, and fenders.


Now that we understand the potential damage bug guts can cause, let's explore how regular car washing can help mitigate these issues:

1. Timely Removal: Washing your car regularly, especially during bug-heavy seasons, ensures that bug guts are promptly removed from the surface. This prevents the acidic compounds from penetrating the paint, reducing the risk of etching, staining, and degradation. Making a regular stop at your local Autowash location and using either our touchless washes or self-serve bays to remove those residues will save you from costly repairs down the line.

2. Preservation of Protective Layers: By washing your car, you remove not only bug guts but also other contaminants like dirt, pollen, and bird droppings. This also helps preserve the protective layers of wax, sealant or coating that you should have on your car, which act as a sacrificial barrier. The sooner and more frequently you remove the bug guts, and the more diligent you are about maintaining a layer of protection for the paint, the lower your risk of long-term damage.

3. Avoid Scrubbing or Wiping: As we all learned in science classes, in addition to their juicy insides bugs have an exoskeleton. This hard outer shell is mixed in with the splat against your car, so it becomes imperative to NEVER wipe, scrub, or attempt to remove bug guts with touching if at all possible. Those little crunchy critter bits are abrasive and sharp, rubbing them into your paint will almost definitely cause scratches.

So, in summary - Bug guts may seem like a minor annoyance, but they can cause significant damage to your car's finish if left unattended. Regular and timely car washing, using touchless wash methods at Autowash as well as maintaining a sacrificial barrier of protection with wax, sealant, or coating can play a crucial role in preventing this damage. By removing bug remains and maintaining the integrity of your car's paintwork you’ll ensure your vehicle’s shiny exterior stays ready for those spring and summer cruises. So, before you hit the road this summer, remember to keep your car clean and free from bug guts, ensuring a beautiful and protected exterior for years to come.

Removing bugs is convenient with an Autowash Membership! It pays for itself in as few as two visits to the car wash each month. You don't have to be a member to enjoy Autowash! Download our app now and start saving on every wash with exclusive in-app discounts!



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