Water Spots


There Are Spots on My Car’s Paint and Glass

 Water spots on a car’s body paint and window glass take many different forms based on the age and condition of your vehicle. Water spotting is a result of dried mineral deposits remaining on a surface after being allowed to air dry.  Water spotting generally causes dulling of auto paint gloss in spots or masses of spots. Spots are caused by dissolved salts, calcium, magnesium, and minerals remaining on the car’s painted or glass surfaces after the water evaporates. Things get worse if the water contains corrosive agents, like bird excrement, tree sap, dead bugs, etc. that can etch the surface as they disolve, creating a dip in the car’s paint finish, otherwise called a “crater.” If not cleaned of properly from the car’s paint, these craters get worse over time, as water will pool in them and continue to etch the same spot. This usually happens when hard water is used to wash the car, but can also happen in mechanically softened water. Water spotting is very common with automobiles, glass, chrome, and rims, and can cause corrosion over time. Irrigation/sprinkler systems are notorious for leaving hard water spots on vehicles.

Water Spotting on car finishes and paint can cause:

  • Paint discoloration
  • Surface etching
  • Microscopic surface imperfections

These “water spots” make the car’s pain finish vulnerable to deterioration and are best removed and naturalized as soon as possible. Water quality has a big effect on how severe water spots can be, specifically the amount and type of minerals in the water supply used to wash the car.


Different Types Of Water Spots Include:

  1. Type I water spots are merely mineral deposits on a car’s paint surface left behind after water with minerals has evaporated from the surface. These deposits can often be washed off using soap.
  2. Type II water spots can only be removed by leveling the surrounding paint of your car’s finish by hand or machine treatment using a special abrasive compound or paint cleaner.
  3. Type III water spots are primarily a stain and/or etching in the car’s paint which looks like fading where water pooled for an extended amount of time. If type III water spots on your car’s paint are limited to only the upper surface of the paint, then they can be removed by abrading the paint by hand or machine with a compound or polish.

Now you know how to identify the spots blanketing the exterior surface of your vehicle. Let’s discuss the options for removal. Almost every vehicle both new and old has had water spots in the past, a very common issue. Most automatic and self-service car washes and some detailers have no experience on how to properly remove hard water spots.

First, let’s just debunk the home remedies that DO NOT WORK!
People will tell you to use vinegar, baking soda, and even toothpaste.


How do I prevent water spots?

  1. Applying a premium wax, paint sealant, or preferably hydrophobic coating, also known as ceramic coating on your paint is the first line of defense. It will create a barrier between the hard water and the car’s painted surfaces. So, if a water spot does form, it will most likely be on the wax/sealant layer instead of the paint making it much, much easier to remove.
  2. Try to keep your car clean. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, rain will fall, our cars will get hit by a poorly aimed sprinkler, and unwanted water is going to end up on our vehicles. As we discussed earlier, it’s not the water that causes spotting; it’s allowing the environmental or chemical contaminants in the water to sit on the surface. Average tap water contains 140-400 ppm total dissolved solids. Water is considered “hard” anywhere above 170 ppm, so there’s a good chance you’re rinsing your car with hard water.

How Do I Remove Water Spots?

Depending on the severity of the hard water spotting on your car’s painted surfaces, will determine the procedure and process. If you are a Do It Yourself type person it will take some time, patience, and effort. Unless you have the right automotive paint treatment products and the right experience, its better to have a professional do it, like the experts at Dangerous Curves Auto Detailing in Wilmington, NC, the Cape Fear Region of Eastern Coastal North Carolina.


Dangerous Curves Auto Detailing water spot removal: Starting @  $100.00

Click HERE or call 910-769-0503 to schedule your appointment with one of our detailing professionals!