7 Ways to Protect the Custom Paint Job on Your Truck for Life

custom paint job

Pickup truck purchases are the highest they’ve been in over 10 years.

Better features and bigger, worse designs are partly to blame. Devoted truck lovers and new owners alike know that while form and function are important, the look of an awesome new truck is one of the biggest draws.

Unfortunately, those new trucks see plenty of use. Over time, this can leave them looking much different than they did when you drove them off the lot.

A custom paint job can get an old truck looking brand new, or give you the look you’re dreaming or if you didn’t love the color your truck came in.

But if you want that custom paint job to stay looking great, there are a few things you need to know. Keep reading to learn 7 tips to help you keep your paint looking as good as it did the day you got it done.

1. Get Your Truck Professionally Painted

Protecting your custom paint job starts long before the first coat is applied.

If you want a custom finish that will look great and stand the test of time, you need to leave the work to the professional. 

No matter how great of tools you have or the quality of paint you buy, nothing beats a professional paint job. Not only will it look better, but the extra money you spend will also greatly extend the life of your paint, which will save you money in the long term.

2. Keep Your Truck Clean

Perhaps the most important thing, as well as the easiest thing you can do to protect custom paint jobs is to keep your vehicle clean.

Road grime, like mud, salt, and other debris will damage your paint job. Microscopic dust particles will scratch the paint. Once a few scratches forms, the layer of paint is compromised. It may begin to fade as the protective coating is rubbed away, or you may even lose patches of paint.

If you do any off-roading or if a winter storm leaves your truck covered in road salt, it’s important to clean your truck as soon as possible. Even if your truck doesn’t get coated in mud or dusted in salt, you’ll still want to clean it at least a few times a month to get rid of any dust or dirt that it gathers during regular use.

3. Use the RIght Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning your truck often is important for protecting nice paint jobs. But what you use to wash your vehicle is also important.

One big mistake many truck owners make it washing their vehicle with regular dish soap or other household detergents.

Unfortunately, these soaps are designed to break down grease and grime. While you want to do both things on the outside of your car, you don’t want to break down the protective wax coating that’s keeping your paint job looking great.

Instead, it’s important to use a cleaner designed for cars, as well as soft cloths and gentle brushes for cleaning and drying your truck.

4. Rethink Your Parking Space

Where your truck spends most of its time will make a big difference in how long your beautiful paint job lasts.

If you usually park under a tree, falling leaves, flowers, or seeds will stick to your vehicle and break down the paint. Direct sunlight is also a hazard for car paint. Over time, it will fade that bright hue that looked so great right out of the shop.

The best place for your truck is in an enclosed garage. Otherwise, any spot with some shade, but not shade from a tree, is a good choice. If you have to park your truck under trees, make an effort to clear away leaves and other debris every couple of days to keep them from sticking to your vehicle and damaging your paint.

5. Add Some Extra Protection in High-Use Areas

Unless you simply like the look of a big truck, you probably picked your vehicle for a reason. More than likely, that reason is that you need to haul around a lot of gear or supplies.

That also means that certain areas of your truck, like the bed, see a lot of heavy use. Whether you’re loading wood, tools, or any other kind of gear, dents, scratches, and chemical spills can leave your paint looking rough just weeks after its applied.

To keep this from happening, consider adding some extra protection to your bed in the form of bed liner. Read more here about the many benefits of adding bed liner to your truck.

Some truck owners are even choosing to coat their entire vehicle in bed liner. If that’s your style, go for it. Otherwise, utilize bed liner to protect that colorful paint job instead.

6. Wax On

Even with regular washes, shady parking spots, and bed liner, custom painted trucks are going to get bumped and scratched. Luckily, there is a way to keep these everyday hiccups from ruining your paint.

Waxing your truck every few months will give your paint a protective cover. That way, when a scratch does happen, it will only scratch the wax, keeping the paint safe.

If your truck features a matte paint job, you’ll want to choose a wax designed for that. Regular wax will leave your truck looking too shiny, ruining the effect of the matte paint.

7. Wash Off Bird Poop as Soon as Possible

One of the worst things for your car’s paint is bird poop. Unfortunately, it’s also bound to get on your car, or all over it, from time to time.

The moment you notice that your truck got hit, you need to clean it off as soon as possible. Bird droppings are very acidic and can damage your paint in no time.

Tree sap is also acidic. Even if you’ve only parked your truck under a tree for a short amount of time, dripping sap can leave spots of damaged paint anywhere it falls. If you notice sap or droppings on your vehicle, clean them off immediately.

Protecting Your Custom Paint Job

A custom paint job is a great way to personalize your truck or make an old vehicle look like new.

And if you follow these easy tips, you can keep it looking as great as the day you got it done. 

If you’re not sold on spending a lot of money on a custom paint job or don’t want to commit all of the time it takes to care for custom paint, check out this article next to learn why a wrap might be a better choice.