Writing 'clean me' on dirty car could land you with £2,500 fine

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A common dirty car prank could land you with a fine (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
A common dirty car prank could land you with a fine (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Often, when you see a vehicle that is covered in dirt, someone has usually written a funny message into it like "wash me" or "clean me". But did you know this seemingly innocent prank could land you with a £2,500 fine?

During the winter months, with wet and dirty roads, it can get hard to keep your car clean. But experts at Select Car Leasing are urging you not to get tempted to write a funny message on mucky vehicles.

That is because you could end up scratching the paint, causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage if the owner presses charges.

Writing 'clean me' on dirty car could land you with £2,500 fine rridqqieqiqerinvWriting 'wash me' might be tempting - but Brits are being urged to not do it (stock photo) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Graham Conway, managing director at Select Car Leasing, said: "Some motorists will go to great lengths to protect their paintwork.

"There's a whole 'car detailing' scene in the UK where enthusiasts swap advice on how to clean, polish and protect the paint on their pride of joy.

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"And if you were to write 'Clean me' on a vehicle owned by someone who really looks after their car, you could find yourself in a whole heap of trouble.

"The issue is that swirling your finger through the mud on a car can actually scratch the paintwork."

Writing 'clean me' on dirty car could land you with £2,500 fineIt could damage the paintwork (stock photo) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

He continued: "You can catch dirt and grit underneath your fingertip, which then acts as an abrasive as you write, potentially removing the top layer of 'clear coat' lacquer that sits on top of the paint.

"If you applied enough pressure while daubing a message, you might even leave the 'ghost' of a word on the paint, which is visible even after the owner washes the car.

"All in all, your friendly 'banter' could go awfully wrong if the vehicle's owner decides to report the incident to police."

This could be seen as a "criminal act of vandalism". If the damage if valued at less than £5,000, you could be issued a fine of up to £2,500.

According to Mr Conway, you should be staying on top of cleaning your car during the winter due to the salt spread on the roads to combat snow and ice.

Unless you're cleaning your car at least once a week, it could cause long term damage.

He added: "The vast majority of motorists understand that they need to clean their cars more often through winter in order to combat the effects of road salt.

"And you really need to keep on top of your cleaning regime throughout this time in order to protect your car’s paintwork and exterior appearance from the harmful effects of road grit.

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"The underside of your car is a potential weak spot that you're simply ignoring - because too few of us actually spend quality time cleaning this area."

How often do you clean your car? Let us know in the comments below.

Ariane Sohrabi-Shiraz

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