Your car is used for more than just transportation. Whether you are sitting at an outdoor event or you are waiting for a friend, you might choose to sit on the hood for convenience and visibility. Still, can you sit on the hood of your car, or will you cause damage?
In this guide, I look at the damage that can occur when you sit on the car, whether it be on the hood or roof. I also examine some other ways to protect the car body from damage.
Can You Sit on the Hood of Your Car?
It’s never wise to sit on the hood of a car. While you probably won’t cause damage to the component under the hood because these are well-protected, you can dent or scratch the hood, leading to costly repairs. Plus, some hoods are designed with less resistance to damage.
The engine, transmission, battery, radiator, and other components under the hood should remain relatively safe, even if you put a good amount of weight on the hood. However, you needlessly expose the material and paint to damage. For these reasons alone, it’s best to find somewhere else to sit.
Reasons to Avoid Sitting on Car Hood
1. Body Damage
Every car hood is rated for a different weight based on what it can support. If you are driving a large truck, the hood might be able to hold up to 500 pounds of weight. However, most stock car hoods are made from steel, with a weight rating of just about 50 pounds.
If the hood is fiberglass, it’s going to hold a lot less – even as little as 30 pounds. While the hinges will keep the hood from damaging interior components, you could easily put a dent in the hood if you tried to sit on any of them.
Additionally, you could scratch the hood with your shoes, car keys, or any sharp object you have on hand. Even a button on your clothing could leave behind a blemish.
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2. Skin Burns
The majority of car hoods are made from some type of metal. As the engine runs, the hood gets hot. It can also retain heat from sitting in the sun.
If you sit on the hood without knowing it’s hot, you can burn your skin. This problem is even worse if you are wearing shorts. Of course, you can protect yourself from this if the car has cooled off. If you haven’t run the engine in a little while, it should be cooler.
Cost of Car Hood Repair
The price of repairing a car hood differs significantly, depending on how much damage is done. If the body shop can repair a dent with paintless dent removal (PDR), you will have the lowest repair cost. In general, a one-inch dent might cost $50 to $150 to repair, but this cost increases as the dent gets larger or for multiple dents.
If the dents are too large for PDR, you will have a higher bill. This cost goes even higher if your hood is painted with a special color or multiple layers.
If the car hood is badly damaged and needs to be replaced, you might spend $100 to $750, depending on the kind of car you drive. However, you could file a claim with your insurance company if you have comprehensive coverage. With insurance, you would only be responsible for the deductible, but filing the claim could make your premiums rise in the future.
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Can I Sit on My Car Roof?
It’s impossible to tell you the strength of every car roof, but most vehicles have been built with much more roof stability than a hood.
For a car to receive the GOOD rating on the Roof Strength Test through the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the roof must support a minimum of four times its own weight before it collapses. With this support, one person or a couple could easily sit on the roof without causing major damage.
Still, you would have to be very careful sitting on the roof. You can still leave scratches, which would require auto body repair to fix. It’s also possible to dent the roof with an excessive amount of weight.
Ways to Protect Car Body from Damage
1. Choose Parking Spots Wisely
It’s tempting to park right out front of a store, so you can avoid walking too far. However, a little exercise might be a better option than dealing with auto body repairs.
The closer to the front you are, the more traffic occurs near your car. As cars come in and out, there’s a higher chance that a door will hit the side of your car. There’s also a higher probability that a cart will make a getaway and roll right into the vehicle.
2. Rinse Car Before Washing
You know how important it is to wash your car regularly. A car wash removes the dirt and debris that can lead to scratches in the paint. However, you have to be careful how you wash the car. You don’t want to simply start with a soapy sponge.
Instead, it’s important to rinse off the vehicle first. This simple step ensures any loose dirt is removed before you wipe it around with your sponge. This dirt and debris can have a sandpaper effect on the paint if it gets on the sponge.
3. Hand Dry Your Car After Washing
While the touchless drying machines at the automatic car washes are beneficial, the wash itself isn’t always the best option. Instead, you should hand wash and hand dry the vehicle yourself, if time allows.
When you hand dry the vehicle, do not use a dirty rag. Instead, get a clean microfiber cloth to ensure no dirt ends up back on the vehicle where it can scratch the paint.
RELATED: Are Touchless Car Washes Better for Your Car?
4. Park in a Garage
The best way to protect the car body from damage is to park it in an enclosed area. When you get home from work, putting the vehicle in your garage offers the best protection.
Not only will this keep your vehicle away from the elements, but it can also keep it more secure. If you can’t park in a garage, consider getting a soft cover to put over it.
5. Avoid Parking Under Trees
When you park out in the open, you need to choose the spot carefully. You may pick a spot in the shade under a tree because you know how damaging UV rays can be. However, this type of shade comes with its own set of problems.
Under the tree, you allow leaves, nuts and tree sap to hit the car, all of which can cause damage. Plus, the birds are sure to contribute a little something as well. These droppings can be a real pain to clean off, especially after they have been baked on. Sometimes, it just makes more sense to park in the sun.