Every time you take your car out of the garage, you are exposed to potential paint damage hazards. Some of the most common problems are acid rain, insects, battery acid, and road stones. There is another hazard that is particularly messy and harmful, and that is bird poop.

Bird poop is essentially an acid. It can have a pH level between 3.5 and 4.5. That means it will burn delicate surfaces unless it is removed relatively quickly. In automotive paint, particularly clearcoat finishes, bird droppings will burn the surface and cause a permanent etch mark.

It is not uncommon for a large drop to cause paint damage 2 mils or more deep. To understand what that means for your car’s clear coat, good laser printer paper is about 2 mils thick. More importantly, a quality clearcoat finish is typically 4 to 6 mils. That means a heavy duty bird pump won’t leave a lot of clear coat on the area that needs to be repaired. The good news is that etching paint from hard water stains and bird droppings is an easy repair you can do at home. Most repairs like this take less than 5 minutes.

Fix bird poop paint damage

The only way to repair paint damage caused by a bird is to buff the affected area with a fine-cut rubbing compound. The basic procedure is to use the compound to remove the damage and re-polish the surface to make it look new again. This is exactly the step that professionals and the factory take when removing paint defects. Your only concern is polishing too much. Be careful not to overdo it and completely buff the top coat.

The best car polish to use is one that is formulated to remove paint scratches or restore rusty paint. The product I recommend is Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound. It is available at most auto parts stores and works great by hand or with an electric car polisher.

If the damage covers an area larger than about 1 square inch, a polishing compound alone might not be enough. For larger areas of damage, you can make the repair quicker and easier by first removing the damaged paint with wet 2000 or 3000 grit sandpaper, then re-buffing the area with the compound. This may seem serious, but it is not. It is a safe procedure used by professionals in paint and body shops.

Bird damage prevention

Although it is difficult to avoid splashing bird droppings, it is not at all difficult to avoid the damage. The sooner you remove clutter, the less likely the paint is to get damaged. On the contrary, the longer the mess remains on your vehicle’s paint, the more damage it will create.

If you live in an area where you are prone to pooping, I recommend keeping a small bottle of auto detail spray and a microfiber cloth or two in your vehicle. It will be useful for all kinds of spills and emergency cleanings. Meguiar’s Quik Detailer product is very inexpensive and easy to find. When you need to clean up a bird mess, simply give the bird droppings a few shots of the spray, let it soak for a moment or two, and then wipe it off.

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