Help Please!!! Clear Coat Damaged

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  • June 17, 2013 at 12:54 am #43402

    Hi All,

    I am desperately looking for some advice.

    I have a 2007 BMW 3 series, which I wash at least once a week and wax at least every month. Until now, the paint finish has been immaculate. I went to carry out the usual yesterday, and whilst drying off with my microfibre, i notice small marks covering virtually the whole car. The car looks as though it has measles or something. I set striaght to it. I’ve used every polish in my garage, Clay bar, wax, G3 (by hand), but i cant shift the marks. The paint feels glass smooth but when at the right angle, the paint looks terrible. It looks as though it is damaged below the surface. How could this have happened, especially over a few days only, and how do i fix it?

    Any advice would be grateefully received.

    P.S. I have tried taking photos but the marks wont show up. The marks almost look like water stains that have dried, all over, approx 1-2mm

    June 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm #43405

    Hi and welcome , maybe it´s in your wax , you might want to take the wax totaly of on a spot to see what happens

    June 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm #43406

    Has the car been parked next to a sprinkler? Hard water deposits can etch the coating.

    June 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm #43409

    Could be acid rain damage

    June 18, 2013 at 12:46 am #43410

    The acid rain theory looks right, based on the consistency and amount of specs/dots etched. I machined a small are today and although it looked very slightly better, the etching remains. I feel a more aggresive approach is needed. 2000 grit and flatten it right back and then machine????
    I just dont understand how its happened. I wash and wax the car weekly, sad i know, but the care i have taken to keep it pristine, and it looks as though this meticulous attention may have played a part in it becoming damaged. I always use Meguiars products too!!

    June 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm #43411

    Before you start taking aggressive measures like wet sanding you really need to try to identify what has caused the problem.

    Small spots of 1-2mm don’t sound like acid rain to me. Acid rain, just like waterspots leaves a semi-circular mark. For watermarks this is usually just the minerals in the water sitting on the top. For acid rain there is usually a little etching in to the paint surface, again in a semi-circular shape where the contents of the water become concentrated as the water itself evaporates. Usually much bigger though – about the size of a water drop. Also tends to be on the flat surfaces, not so much on the sides.

    You need to stop and analyse. Are the spots regular, i.e.circular? May indicate something has sprayed on the car. Are they all over the car? Or mainly on the front, roof/top of bootlid? Perhaps not on the rear facing panels or rear bar? May indicate something off a vehicle you were following. Have a really close look at the spots. Get a magnifying glass if necessary. Look carefully at the shape. Is the damage towards the front or the back of each spot? Are there spots on plastic surfaces or just painted surfaces? How about stainless or chrome trims? Glass?

    Once you get a better handle on the damage then you may be better able to narrow down what caused it. Once you’ve done that then you’re half way to fixing it.

    June 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm #43413

    Thats really good advice Chris, thanks!!

    All of the marks are around about the same size, although the odd one or two are up to 6-7mm i guess. Shape wise, they are not perfect little circles or dots, but more like they have all been shaken and the edges have wobbled (if that makes sense). The concentration is consistent on the bonnet, roof and bootlid, and the same consistency front to back. The sides are less marked and get fewer the further down you look, although I do think it may just be that the light reflecting makes them less visible. The odd thing is that the plastics (all painted) are unaffected. My convertible roof mechanism covers, wing mirrors and bumpers are not affected, however!!!! my plastic wings are!!!! The issue confusing me here is that it looks to me as though all the parts that would have gone through the BMW factory paint booth have issues, whereas the items that would have been bolted on further down the production line are not????

    June 19, 2013 at 7:27 am #43422

    OK. So from what you’ve said the acid rain theory now seems more likely. I’ve had quite a few like this. Mazda had a big problem a few years ago with vehicles that had been left on the docks in Japan before shipping here. I don’t believe that wetsanding is the answer here. What that will do is make the edges of the little etched indentations sharper and therefore stand out more. It will also reduce your clearcoat thickness overall. A better solution is to buff. Needs fairly aggressive technique and compound but what you’d be aiming to do is round off the edges rather than go all the way to the bottom. They’ll still be there, but not really noticeable. Might be better to get someone that is well experienced in paint defect correction, since there’s not usually all that much factory clear to work with and a lot of BMWs are cleared with ceramic clear which is as hard as.

    The reason your painted plastics are less affected is that they painted with a different type of paint to the body. Quite common.

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