The Worst Types of Car Vandalism

April 5, 2022

Harmless pranks are one thing, but when vandalism causes extensive damage, it is another story, especially for the victims. They are not only faced with significant repair costs, but also the feeling of violation. Not everyone has the luxury of owning a locked carport, and when a vehicle is parked on the road, there is some risk of it being the target of vandals. Mischief makers also fixate on cars parked in public spaces, like parking lots and parks.

Deli Meat On Paint

This one sounds unbelievable, but there are people who will do this in an attempt to ruin a car’s paint. It makes one wonder what food preservatives contain, but that is what causes the damage. When slices of corned beef or salami are placed on some freshly applied paint, the meat’s compounds cause a reaction which, when pulled off, will take the paint with it. Damage can be prevented if the meat is removed immediately since it takes hours to for the reaction to occur.


It might be considered a type of road rage. Intentional dents do not happen while driving, however. A vandal who feels the need to take his anger out on a car in clear view might take his fist to it, or worse yet, a heavy tool or baseball bat. Having a dent removed professionally may also put a dent in one’s wallet, depending on the size, but costs typically go up by approximately twenty-five dollars per half an inch.

Hood Ornaments

Not an act of complete destruction nor damage, having a hood ornament stolen can make a car owner feel like he or she has been violated. It is a senseless act which has an impact on people who take pride in the make and model of their vehicles. Depending on the brand, replacements can be pricey, and repair costs may be incurred if there is damage to the area on which they are affixed.

Flipped Car

This one will not typically take place in a widely public area, nor in broad daylight, but for a group of strong vandals who find themselves out of sight, it can be a thrilling feat. Not so for a car owner. Turning a car over on its side can turn into a complete overhaul of the exterior and some interior components. Car flipping is also an act seen at riots or by fans celebrating a sports team’s win or loss.

Slashed Tires

Tires will prove useless if they are found flat from a big gash in the rubber. Someone walking past a car with a knife can easily and quickly stab the tires. This type of damage cannot easily be fixed, and instead, the owner will be forced to purchase new ones. Depending on the size, a set of tires for a small car can run between four hundred to eight hundred dollars and more for larger trucks and SUVs.

Spray Paint

A quick and easy way of vandalizing a car is with spray paint. It can be an exciting act for a graffiti artist wanting a blank canvas or a gang member needing something to tag. Unfortunately for car owners, the damage is usually not small and discreet, so to either replace panels or to have an entire paint job completed will be costly. It is not a type of vandalism that can easily be left alone, especially if messages are derogatory.

Smashed Windows

Windows are an easy target for vandals, especially since smashing them creates a visually stunning shatter. The mirrors and headlights are in this same category, and often all three will be hit at once. Once smashed, vandals have full access to the interior of the vehicle, so not only is the car damaged, there is a potential for loss of contents. Thieves will often go for the ones with valuables left out in the open.

Gas Theft

While some vandals might contaminate the gas, others will steal the entire contents of the tank. Gas can be siphoned by sucking it out of the tank through a plastic tube and allowing it to drain into a gas can or container. It can backfire on the offender if he or she ingests any of the fuel. Other, more experienced thieves, use commercially-manufactured siphon pumps to get the job done quickly. It is an idea to keep a full can available for an emergency refills.

Fuel Damage

Gas tanks are a typical site hit by car vandals. The gas itself can be ruined with the addition of sugar. Once it is heated up from a running car, it will thicken and gum up everything on the engine, ruining it when it cools. Sugar has also been known to clog the fuel filters and fuel injectors. Bleach, too, when added to a gas tank, will make an engine quit working and cause rust on the interior of the tank.

Keyed Paint

This is one of the most popular means of car vandalism because it is easy and discrete. Vandals are known to cause massive damage by running a key along the entire side of a car. They can do this just by walking down the sidewalk in daylight. They can cover more areas of a vehicle and even scrawl nasty messages into the paint. Small scratches can sometimes be buffed out, but deeper, bigger, and more complex damage will increase the repair bills of a mechanic and painter.