Car door dents may be minor in the scheme of things, but they are still frustrating for owners who take pride in the appearance of their vehicles. An otherwise shiny, sleek car loses some of its luster whenever the doors are pocked with dent marks. While door dents, or door dings, as they are commonly called, may seem to be an inevitable part of car ownership, there are still steps you can take to protect your car when you park it. Below are some practical hints for keeping your car safe from door dings:
Choose where you park carefully
While it may seem obvious to be careful about picking your parking spots, there is much more to consider than merely avoiding parking close to another vehicle. Below are some considerations to recall when looking for a dent-free parking place:
Park next to clean, well-kept vehicles - Chances are excellent that if you decide to park your car next a vehicle that is clean, with no significant damage, and few, if any, door dings, then you are much less likely to get struck. The neighboring car's owner probably shares your desire to protect their own vehicle, and that mutual interest will be a good way to watch your doors. On the other hand, by parking next to a car that is in bad shape, dirty and/or covered in dents, then you may be taking a chance that the owner couldn't care less about dinging your door, too.
Park in spaces that are upwind from neighboring cars - If you have ever opened a car door on a windy day, then you have noticed how quickly doors can whip open when the wind catches them. That's why it is always a good idea to consider the prevailing wind when thinking about where to park. If you must park next to another car, but have the luxury of a vacant spot on one side or the other, choose to park closest to the vehicle downwind. That will greatly lessen the likelihood a door will slip free from the other car occupant's hand and slam into your door.
Utilize natural barriers to your advantage - All other things being equal, it is best to park your car next to a barrier that prevents another car from squeezing in next to you. Landscaping features, curbs, and disabled parking buffer zones are all protective features that guard one side of your car. And, since there is no possibility of anyone else parking on that side, you should park as close to the barrier as possible to give your vehicle room on the opposite side. Of course, be careful that you don't damage your door by slamming it into the barrier when you get out of the car.
Watch out for shopping carts
Besides other cars, the biggest hazard for causing damage to your vehicle in a parking lot is shopping carts. Shopping carts are unmanned, free-wheeling missiles that can wreak havoc on your car's exterior. In addition, stores are reluctant, at best, to pay for damage done to your vehicle by shopping carts, and that means you should do whatever it takes to protect your vehicle from them. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
Be alert in vacant parking lots - While it may seem ideal to park in a space far away from other cars, keep in mind that wide-open spaces can contribute to shopping-cart-induced damage. If a shopping cart starts rolling across a largely vacant lot, then it can be travelling at sufficient speed to cause damage by the time it strikes your car. A crowded parking lot can provide much more "cover" for your vehicle when it comes to carts.
Move nearby carts out of the way - When you park, do yourself and other drivers a favor by pushing empty carts into the store or a cart rack. Even though a cart may appear to be well-situated and unlikely to roll into a car, all it takes is a simple bump from another vehicle for the cart to crash into your vehicle.
If your car is still damaged by another car in a parking lot, despite your best efforts, contact a company like Aldrich Auto Body & Repair, Inc. to have the damage repaired.