How Do I Protect My Jeep From Scratches?


A Jeep can be a prized possession of any serious off-roader. With off-roading comes an onslaught of sticks and stones that viscously try to scratch and mangle your car. Scratches and dents are prevalent during off-roading. It can be difficult to keep off-roading vehicles shiny and nice just because they go through such intense activity. There are things that you can do, however, to help protect your vehicle. 

How do I protect my Jeep from scratches?  You can protect your Jeep from scratches by using protective measurements such as car wax and body armor.  You can also prevent scratches from the way you drive; avoid bottoming out and rubbing up against rocks and branches.  Proper equipment like saws and shovels can also help you make it through some especially rough spots with minimal scratches to your Jeep.

Essentially, when it comes to protecting your Jeep from scratches, there are three parts: prevention, safe driving, and repair. When you pay attention to aspects of all three of these sections it is much more likely that your Jeep is going to stay in great shape. 

Best Equipment To Protect Your Jeep From Scratches 

One of the simplest things you can do to your Jeep to help protect it from scratches is to regularly wax it. There are specialty waxes that are specifically designed to help protect against scratches, though almost any wax is better than nothing. It is suggested to wax your Jeep at least after every other wash, especially if you’re into off-roading. I want to bring up that it is very important that you don’t try to scrape ice or mud off of your Jeep, this will lead to scratches! 

Washing your Jeep is a great way to keep the dust and mud that oftentimes leads to scratches. Turning the heater on in your car for a while can also help melt ice off of your car. If car wax isn’t quite enough for you, another option is ceramic coating. Ceramic coating is a specialty coating that you can put on your Jeep that repels dirt, grime, and even UV light. This ceramic coating goes on clear and will last two to five years depending on the quality of the coating and what you put your Jeep through. 

Rock sliders and running boards can also help protect against scratches and rock chips. Not only do they act as a barrier against boulders and stumps but they also act similar to mud flaps and can stop rocks that fly up. There is a whole other article in which I went into depth about the protection that rock sliders and running boards can provide which can be found by clicking here. 

Rocks flying out from under the tires is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to painting chips and scratches. Mud flaps and running boards should help eliminate the threat of this. If you don’t want mud flaps, another great option is aftermarket fenders that are designed to prevent flying debris.

Body armor is literal plates of metal or carbon fiber that you install onto pretty much any part of your Jeep if you want to add extra protection. You can add body armor to the side of doors, corners, and even the hood. Body armor can help protect not only against scratches but also more intense damage like major scrapes or even punctures. The quality and type of body armor you get is going to determine how much protection it provides. 

Useful Driving Skills To Prevent Your Jeep From Getting Scratched

The way you drive your Jeep is also going to make a big difference in how much it gets scratched up. Of course, if you carefully maneuver through difficult terrain you are going to come out with a much better-looking Jeep than if you floor it through anything in your way.

That leads me to my first tip which is driving slowly. I’m not talking about when you are on the highway or a straight dirt road, this is when you are in the more difficult terrain. Taking it more slowly through curves and difficult terrain can help avoid accidental bumps and scratches. 

Another tip to protective driving is taking dips and divots at an angle. Going through dips head-on can often lead to scrapes and even bottoming out. If you approach a dip at an angle then you are much less likely to scrape or damage your Jeep. In addition, going through dips and divots at a slow speed is especially important because you don’t want the shocks to over-compress and have your Jeep slam the ground. 

Is It Okay To Cut Tree Branches That Hang Into The Trail?

While you’re off-roading, you may approach a part of the trail that is impassable because there are tree branches in the way that would inevitably cause major scratches and damage to your Jeep. Whether it is okay or not to cut tree branches that hang into the trail is going to largely depend on where you are off-roading. Make sure you read up on the rules and regulations of where you are off-roading because different rules depend if you are on public, private, or conservation land.

When off-roading on private land you just need to contact the owner and get their permission before cutting any branches or logs. If you own the property then go for it, it is totally up to you! On public land, your ability to cut down branches is going to depend on the range you are on; I know some public land where it is legal to cut down branches and others where it can lead to big fines if you are caught. If the public land is undergoing a conservation project or something similar, you most likely won’t be allowed to cut anything. 

In these areas, rangers should usually keep the trails well-maintained and take care of anything too big. The same goes for state or national parks where it is pretty much always going to be illegal to cut anything. If you do come across anything in these types of areas, contact the park rangers. You might have to turn around and not use that particular trail but they should take care of it shortly. 

How To Fix Small Scratches On Your Jeep

Getting small scratches on your Jeep shouldn’t cause you too much stress because they can usually be removed relatively easily. Often small scratches are just on the outer clear coat and didn’t reach all of the ways to the paint.

This means that most small scratches can just be removed with a rubbing compound. There are a large variety of products very similar to car wax that can help remove and buff out small scratches. I specifically recommend Turtle Wax Scratch Repair & Renew (link to Amazon). Products like these are usually very easy to apply and are also relatively cheap depending on the kind you get.

How To Fix Large Scratches On Your Jeep

Large scratches are a genuine reality when it comes to Jeep life. Knowing how you can fix deep scratches will make a big difference in keeping your Jeep looking nice and clean. Of course, you can always take it to a body shop and get the scratch professionally repaired. Depending on the type of Jeep you have and how bad of a scratch it is, a repair like this could cost between $500 and $1,000 dollars which is pretty steep for just a scratch. 

There are also many DIY kits that you can buy for scratch repairs. You can usually find paint pens that match your Jeep’s color. Once you find a paint that matches your Jeep you can wash and lightly sand the affected area and apply the paint. Once you apply the paint you can blend and then buff it to make it more smooth. After all of this (and after the paint has dried of course), it is always a great idea to give the area a good polish to make it look brand new. 

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. His passion for cars is his daily motivator and is constantly working on his projects such as restoring his 1966 Bronco, 1968 Firebird, or modifying his 2022 Bronco.

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