Driving in Boise Hit by Rock Chips- Advice from a Car Detailer


Mar 10, 2024By Eagle Star Detail

As a Mobile Car Detail in Eagle, I routinely encounter damaged paint on cars from the endless winter rock chips. Here are some  key things you can do to keep your car looking its best. 

Driving in Boise, Idaho, can be a picturesque experience, with its stunning landscapes and scenic routes. However, navigating the roads in this region also comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to rock chips. Rock chips are a common occurrence on Idaho roads, and if left unchecked, they can lead to costly repairs and diminished aesthetics of your vehicle. In this guide, we’ll explore some strategies for dealing with rock chips while driving in Boise.

Understanding the Causes:

To effectively deal with rock chips, it’s essential to understand the factors that contribute to their prevalence in Boise. One significant factor is the composition of the roads. In Idaho, asphalt is commonly used for road construction. This mixture typically consists of aggregate materials such as gravel, sand, and crushed rock bound together with a petroleum-based binder. While asphalt is durable, it can also be susceptible to wear and tear over time, especially in regions like Boise where extreme weather conditions are prevalent.

Man spreading gravel on roadway before repaving
Boise uses a rock mix then pours the hot mix on top to mix their asphalt

The weather in Boise plays a crucial role in the formation of rock chips. The city experiences a wide range of temperatures throughout the year, with hot summers and cold winters. These temperature fluctuations cause the asphalt to expand and contract, leading to cracks and fissures in the road surface. Additionally, the freeze-thaw cycle in winter can further exacerbate these cracks, creating opportunities for rocks and debris to become dislodged and kicked up by passing vehicles.

Rock Chips Is A Way of Life In Boise, Idaho.

    1.    Maintain Safe Following Distance: One of the best ways to minimize the risk of rock chips is to maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles, especially on gravel roads or areas where road maintenance is underway. This gives you more time to react if rocks are kicked up by the vehicle in front of you.

    2.    Avoid Tailgating: Tailgating not only increases the risk of accidents but also puts your vehicle at greater risk of sustaining rock chips. Give yourself ample space between your vehicle and the one in front to reduce the likelihood of rocks hitting your windshield or paintwork.

    3.    Install Protective Film or Guard: Consider installing a protective film or guard on the front end of your vehicle, particularly on the hood and bumper. These protective measures can help absorb the impact of rocks and debris, minimizing damage to your vehicle’s exterior. Now, as a matter of personal preference, I am not a big fan of these options. For some, it may work and they do offer protection. But its kind of like a Christmas gift. You get the new toy for Christmas and then have to wrap it up in cheap wrapping paper to enjoy it? I will stick to showing off the beauty of a new car's gloss and deal with a chip every now and again. 

    4.    Repair Chips Promptly: If you do notice rock chips on your windshield or paintwork, it’s essential to address them promptly. Small chips can quickly escalate into larger cracks, especially when exposed to temperature fluctuations and vibrations from driving. You can even get a rock chip reparied around the City of Boise at some corner gas stations. Look for the energetic guy on Braodway waving as you pass by. He used to be on State Street near Veterans but is now off Broadway. 

Pop up tent on street corner with sign promoting Free Rockchip Repair
Be sure to wave at the Rock Chip Guy in Boise.

    5.    Regular Maintenance: Keeping your vehicle well-maintained can also help reduce the risk of rock chips. Ensure that your tires are properly inflated, as under-inflated tires are more susceptible to picking up debris from the road surface.

Rohana RFX5

Picture taken for FindByPlate – https://findbyplate.com

    6.    Drive Defensively: Practice defensive driving techniques, such as scanning the road ahead for potential hazards and adjusting your speed accordingly. By being vigilant and proactive, you can reduce the likelihood of encountering rock chips while driving in Boise.

McLaren 720S Tail

Protect Your Vehicle's Exterior By Being Aware 

Rock chips are an inevitable part of driving in Boise, Idaho, but with the right strategies, you can minimize their impact on your vehicle. By understanding the causes of rock chips, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, and taking proactive measures to protect your vehicle’s exterior, you can enjoy the scenic roads of Boise with greater peace of mind. Remember to address any chips or cracks promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the longevity of your vehicle. With these tips in mind, you can navigate the roads of Boise with confidence, knowing that you’re doing your part to protect your vehicle from rock chips.

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