Common Causes Of Car Paint Problems

Common causes of car paint problems-min

As car owners, most of us have probably wondered what the most common car paint problems that people face are?

After all, it might just save us a pretty penny if we can work out how to avoid these issues.

This article will give you some insight on what to look for and how to fix these problems. You may find it useful, especially if your vehicle is showing signs of wear and tear.

There are several factors that can cause damage to car paint. The following are some of the common problems that car owners encounter:

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    This one really only affects those living in areas that get snow. Road salt may corrode or discolor a car’s finish if not cleaned off quickly after being exposed to it.

    What’s more, the salt can get into the undercarriage of your vehicle creating a double whammy of issues by speeding up the oxidation of the exposed metal parts.

    Washing and waxing your vehicle regularly will help your paintwork hold up in these harsh conditions.

    Acid rain

    Acid rain is one of the main causes of loss of gloss on automobile finishes. The main reason for this is that the acid rain will break down protective wax if it isn’t topped up.

    This will, in turn, speed up the corrosion of your paintwork. The metal parts in your car engine and undercarriage are also at risk of degradation, just like with salt exposure.

    It can even degrade plastic parts such as headlight covers causing permanent damage to them, so wash your car more often during this type of weather.

    Bird droppings

    Bird droppings contain high levels of uric acid and can therefore lead to permanent etching of the paint if left unattended.

    The acid from these droppings penetrates through the paintwork’s clear coat and reacts with the metal substrate underneath.

    This reaction is what leaves the etching effect you may notice if the bird poop is left unwashed for long enough.

    Tree sap

    Tree sap is a common problem, not only does its sticky texture attract more dust and dirt, but the tree sap can also have a degrading effect on your paintwork if left untreated.

    To compound this, tree sap that has been left unattended can crystallize into a harder texture. This can cause scratches when you do finally wash it off, so do this carefully.

    A good way to avoid tree sap is just to avoid parking under trees if you can.

    Bug splats

    Bug splats can leave permanent marks on your car’s finish if not removed soon after exposure.

    Much like tree sap, if left to go dry and get baked in by the sun bug splat can be tricky to remove with scuffing the paintwork.

    Clean these off as soon as possible and apply some wax to protect against further damage.

    High-pressure washers

    Using high-pressure hose water jets or power washers can cause irreparable damage to paintwork.

    Pressure washers can be adjusted to the correct pressure jet for washing cars comfortably, so it’s important to check it before letting rip!

    The pressure can be adjusted with interchangeable hose tips. These tips work to control the intensity of the jet flow.

    If you inadvertently leave a tip that is of high intensity, then this will most likely tear through your paintwork, leaving you to require a respray to fix this properly.


    This one might seem unexpected, but many people damage their car paintwork by simply hand washing their car incorrectly.

    There is a specific technique to washing a car by hand which requires two buckets with one of them containing a grit guard at the bottom.

    This grit guard helps to filter out any grit particles that your sponge may have gathered during the lathering stage. The second bucket keeps the soapy water fresh.

    Old paint

    It’s easy to assume that your car’s paintwork always be in good condition. Sure, you may religiously polish and wax your car and, the paintwork could indeed last for ages.

    The issue is that whatever happens, wear and tear will, unfortunately, win in the end.

    Even the very act of polishing your car with compound (which is necessary to remove scuffs and scratches), will over time deplete the clear coat to the point that the raw paint will begin to be exposed.

    If this happens then only a respray will bring your paintwork back to its original luster.

    Also, older car paint tends to be less resilient than modern paint. This is just due to advances in paint technology.

    Cleaning polish residue

    Ensure you remove all compound polish residue from your paintwork, trim pieces, etc…

    Residual compound polish can continue to provide cutting ability leading to slight damage to your paint.

    Spray application

    When respraying your car, if the environment isn’t perfect this can lead to a suboptimal finish. Or worse still, it can hide imperfections until later when it’s possibly too late to rectify.

    When respraying your car, the environment needs to be clean, free of dust, dry, and of a constant temperature.

    These factors have a strong influence on whether the finish will be glossy or not.

    Indeed, if there is dust in the atmosphere the spray paint may well conceal this dust which will be more obvious later. 

    Similarly, if there is either too much or too little humidity in the air this may cause a phenomenon known as orange peeling when what looks like tiny raised, bobbled, areas appear. It looks similar in texture to orange peel, hence the name. 

    This is very noticeable when light is reflected off the finished paintwork. When this happens you will need to polish the area again to smooth this out.


    It’s important to be aware of the most common car paint problems so that you can take steps to prevent them, or fix them quickly if they do occur.

    By knowing what to look out for, and how to properly care for your car’s paintwork, you can help ensure that it stays looking its best for years to come.

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