If you’re like me, you dread going to the grocery store or mall for fear of having some careless driver ding your car door. Car door ding prevention is partly about finding the right parking spot and partly about having the right equipment. While there are some parking rules that I follow instinctively, I have a handful that should probably be written down. The rationale for these rules, more than anything else, is to prevent car door dings.

1. Park far away from other cars when possible. Besides, a short walk to the mall or store is a healthy way to add steps to your day.

2. Try to park in the end cap parking spots. End cap parking spots are generally wider and you can park closer to one side. When parking in an end cap spot you only need to worry about one side of the vehicle.

3. Avoid parking next to specific vehicles. For example, large cars like Buick LeSabres or even pickup trucks are particularly bad because they take up more space and have big heavy doors. While you are avoiding vehicles, keep from parking next to old and neglected cars that look like rust buckets or minivans with a bumper sticker that says “soccer mom”. The drivers of these vehicle classes do not care about their own vehicle’s appearance. More likely than not they will plant a few car door dings on your delicate car door paint and never look back.

4. If possible, park next to small cars (e.g. Honda or Toyota) or expensive cars (e.g. BMW or Mercedes). These vehicles take up less space because of their size and the drivers of these cars tend to protect their own vehicles really well — in turn, protecting your car.

5. Use car door protection whenever you park. Car door guard panels by Dentgoalie.com are the perfect solution for protecting your vehicle because they cover a larger area of the door panels and keep your car free of dents and scratches from even the largest of vehicles.

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent car door dings and dents, a little common sense and caution will keep your car door ding free and looking great. In fact, this will get you as close to guaranteed as anything else can.