It’s a hot day and your car has just been washed. You park under a tree to shade the leather seats from the sun while at work but when you come outside, you notice bird poop on the top and windows. It’s an annoyance for sure but when left to dry out in the sun, bird droppings can actually damage your car’s paint job. How does this happen?
Bird droppings contain a high amount of uric acid, a corrosive substance that starts to penetrate through your car’s protective layer – the clear sealant, plus any wax on top. Although you’ll likely end up with a few matte patches, the acid may be so strong it reaches the paint and eventually the metal underneath.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to clean off any droppings as soon as possible with a hose, rag or trip to the car wash. Ignoring it lets the acid attack your paint until 48 hours later, it’s completely gone in some areas.
Exacerbating the damage, birds often swallow gravel to aid their digestion. Along with uric acid’s caustic composition, the gravel’s abrasive nature may further leave visible scratch marks.
Sun Plays a Role
Damage isn’t uniform year-round. The sunshine and heat of the summer months play a significant role. Specifically, the sun hardens the droppings and expands the paint. Once the vehicle cools, the paint shrinks down around the now-solid droppings, making them harder to remove and more likely to mar the surface.
Types of Damage
Damage related to bird droppings falls into one of two categories: Topical or wrinkled etching.
A superficial issue, the droppings leave a shallow, faded mark on the car. Because the etching is only on the surface, it’s relatively easy to correct. After you’ve washed away the droppings, consider using a polish and compound compatible with your car’s existing clear coat. A professional detailer should then buff the area or do some wet sanding.
In this case, the marks are more obvious and extend below the surface. Thermodynamic heating and cooling, along with acidic etching, is responsible for deep fissures that cut through the clear coat and down into the paint. Because repainting is frequently required, consider professional assistance to remove the top coat without causing any further damage.
Protecting Your Car
Unless you regularly park in a garage or under a carport, bird droppings are often inevitable. To reduce the chance of damage, make sure you:
- Get your car washed regularly. Aside from bird poop, this removes any tree sap or dead bugs and should be done at least bi-monthly.
- Wax your car. Between seasons, wax protects your car’s clear coat and paint against rock salt and bird droppings. Aim for two to three jobs a year and have a spray bottle of detailer on-hand for any touchups.
Whether your car needs a new coat of paint or exterior detailing, work with DaSilva to keep your vehicle looking fresh throughout all seasons. If you’re dealing with bird damage, contact our Naugatuck location today to schedule an appointment.