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Common Causes of Wheel Arch Scratches and How to Avoid Them

A common source of frustration for vehicle owners is rust and corrosion, which is a result of wheel arch scratches, as they not only rob the car of its aesthetic appeal but can also lead to rust and corrosion when left untreated. It is critical to understand the causes of wheel arch scratches and how to avoid them in order to maintain your vehicle’s aesthetic appeal and longevity. Here, we will examine the most common causes of wheel arch scratches, as well as provide practical tips for preventing them in this comprehensive guide.

Road Debris and Gravel:

A common cause of wheel arch scratches is debris, such as gravel, rocks, and sand, which are kicked up by other vehicles or are present on the road surface. These particles can be abrasive and cause scratches when they come into contact with the paintwork.


Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles to minimise the chance of debris hitting your vehicle. Drive on paved roads whenever possible, and consider installing splash guards or mud flaps to prevent debris from reaching the wheel arches.

Poorly Maintained Roads:

A rough or poorly maintained road with potholes, bumps, or uneven surfaces may also cause wheel arch scratches. Vehicles navigating such terrain are at a higher risk of experiencing contact between the wheel arches and abrasive surfaces.


Choose well-maintained roads whenever possible and avoid areas that may have rough patches or potholes. Avoid driving over uneven surfaces in order to minimise the impact on your vehicle’s wheel arches.

Incorrect Parking Maneuvers:

A car parked too close to curbs, barriers, or other vehicles could result in scratches on the wheel arches, particularly if the wheels are turned, or the car is moved around.


You should practice precise parking techniques, leaving ample space between your vehicle and potential obstacles. When parking, be aware of the positioning of the wheels in order to avoid scraping against curbs or barriers.

Wheel Arch Scratch Repair

Wheel Arch Scratch Repair

Brushing Against Objects:

Wheel arches may get scratched in tight spaces or congested areas when vehicles brush against walls, poles, or vegetation.


When maneuvering in confined spaces, exercise caution and familiarise yourself with the dimensions of your vehicle. Parking aids, such as sensors and cameras, can assist in avoiding contact with surrounding objects.

Improper Washing and Maintenance:

When washing the vehicle, use a soft cloth to wash, and avoid using harsh cleaning materials, abrasive sponges, or dirty cloths that are abrasive to the paintwork. The neglect of regular cleaning and maintenance may also result in the accumulation of abrasive particles.


Maintain the paintwork of your vehicle by regularly washing and waxing it. Use soft microfiber cloths, gentle car wash soap, and appropriate cleaning techniques to avoid scratching the paint. 

Weather Conditions:

Weather conditions such as hailstorms, heavy rain with strong winds, and snow may contribute to wheel arch scratches. Abrasive snow and ice particles, hailstones, debris carried by strong winds, and hailstones can damage paint surfaces.


Whenever possible, park your vehicle in a sheltered area during severe weather conditions. Make sure you protect your vehicle with car covers designed to protect against hail. 

Insect Splatter and Bird Droppings:

The surface of the paintwork is subject to damage over time if it is not promptly cleaned of dried insect splatter and bird droppings, despite the fact that they appear harmless at first glance.


Insect splatter and bird droppings should be removed as soon as possible using a gentle cleaner and microfiber cloth. Regularly wash your vehicle to prevent these substances from causing damage to the paint.

Lack of Protective Measures:

A paint surface exposed to various sources of scratching and abrasion is left vulnerable without protective measures such as paint sealants, ceramic coatings, or clear protective films.


Consider applying a protective coating, such as ceramic coating or clear bra film, to the presale-exterior-car-cleanupes and other vulnerable areas of the vehicle. These coatings help prevent scratches and enhance the durability of the paintwork.


Scratch Vanish offers services that can prevent wheel arch scratches resulting from a variety of factors, including road debris, poor road conditions, improper parking habits, and improper maintenance. By understanding these common causes and taking preventative measures such as maintaining safe distances, applying protective coatings, and parking carefully, you can significantly reduce the risk of wheel arch scratches and preserve the appearance of your vehicle for years to come.