Sick and tired of seeing water spots appearing on your car? Well, you are not alone that is for certain. Water spots are unsightly and detract from the overall aesthetic appearance of your car’s exterior. We are confident that you would be able to spot a car with water spots from a majority of cars parked on the street, it is almost unavoidable. Although, just because they are hard to avoid does not mean they cannot be treated.
For our Australian residents, we generally encounter a cocktail of weather conditions from dry, wet, hot and so on. Unfortunately, this combination of weather conditions is the perfect mix for creating water spots on your car. Although do not fret, the good news is that water spots are not permanent, and you can remove them quite easily with a few handy tricks and tips. In this blog, we will discuss why water spots appear on your car, how to get rid of them, and finally, how to stop water spots from coming back.
What are Car Water Spots and Why Do They Appear on Your Car?
Water spots may seemingly appear out of nowhere- in some instances, you’ll likely see water spots after you’ve washed your car and left it to dry or when your car is inadvertently hit by water from a sprinkler or hose. Or alternatively, they might also show up after even after a short period of rain/light drizzle, the following day after when it is dry.
Basically, a water spot is the residue of leftover traces of pollutants and minerals. A droplet on the paint, windows, or mirror can become a water spot if left alone and exposed to the sun’s heat and light. Although some consider rain as nature’s own car wash, rain is not as clean as you think it is considering there is an abundance of dust, organic carbon, sodium, salt and so on within it. Alternatively, even though your tap water is clean and safe, that too can cause water spots on your car for similar reasons related to the minerals it contains.
Tap or hard water is the culprit behind water spots as they contain an abundance of natural minerals. When you don’t dry your car completely after a wash, there’s a high chance that water spots will appear as well. These water spots tend to appear when these water spots are left to dry and the water content evaporates, leaving the minerals and pollutants to crystallize and stick to the surface it is bound to, leaving these water stains behind.
How to Treat Car Water Spots
Water spots are easy to remove the sooner you see them, if your car has no form of paint protection, you risk these water spots etching deeper into your paintwork, making it harder and costly to remove. Generally, if you see water spots, the best way to remove them can be with a regular car wash, given that the water spots are still fresh. Should you find that they still remain, using a clay bar with clay lubricant or car wash shampoo will often get great results. Lastly, for the most stubborn etched water spots, a cut and polish, using a machine polish should take care of the most aggressive stains. Not all water spots can be treated in one way as you can see, but it is always best to work your way up from the most least aggressive technique i.e. the regular car wash.
You can use a clay bar, otherwise known as detailing clay to collect pollutants and minerals on the paint finish. You will need a clay lubricant to complete this process.
Start by spraying lubricant on the areas affected with water spots, then quickly glide the clay bar over the area using light pressure. Do it several times or until you see the water spot has been removed. Only use a clay bar once you have properly washed the car down with a car wash shampoo, wash mitt and rinsed with a pressure washer.
Lastly, you can purchase a special product such as a cut and polish to do the trick. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label or packaging. If you do not know how to use a machine polish, always seek a professional car detailer to perform this task to avoid further marring of the paintwork. Proper preparation and decontamination must be performed prior to any machine polish. A polish can be considered as a liquid form of sandpaper, it contains abrasives that help smoothen the surface, allowing for refinement and tackling blemishes along the way.
How to Prevent Car Water Spots
With car water spots, the sooner you spot and remove them, the better. You can prevent them from coming back with these five tips.
Dry Your Car Immediately After a Wash. Don’t let your car dry overnight or leave it out exposed to the sun.
Use Microfiber Cloths. Microfiber is better than lint cloth or any other cloth type when wiping your car dry. Old-fashioned chamois are not as effective as large drying towels made up of microfiber, they tend to hold more weight in water and are less prone to scratch the surface.
Wash, Dry, and Wax in the Shade. The sun’s heat can dry the water droplets very quickly, leaving you with water spots. Eliminate the exposure to heat and sunlight and you are off to a great start by minimizing the chances of water spots appearing due to evaporation.
Install a Water Filter. You can fix hard water by installing a filtration system to prevent mineral deposits from sticking to your car’s finish. These water filters can be attached to your water outlet in treating hard water.
Install Car Paint Protection. Although not a preventative measure, it does definitely help with addressing water spots as they appear. Thanks to the hydrophobic properties of a ceramic or graphene coating, water spots will still appear, but have difficulty binding, making it a lot easier to treat than a non-coated surface.
Why Ceramic Coatings Can’t Prevent Water Spots
A ceramic coating acts much like wax in that it forms a protective layer between the elements and your car’s paint. However, that is as far as the similarities go, ceramic and graphene coatings cannot be matched by any sealant or wax on market, the comparisons do not come close.
Ceramic and graphene coatings are an excellent way to protect your car when it comes to water spots. It helps to act as a sacrificial layer protecting your original paintwork. It is crucial that you keep your original paint in a great condition, because it is very costly to respray your car when it is needed. Thankfully, these coatings offer fantastic hardness and chemical resistance against harmful contaminants. As for water etching, water spots will still appear, but much easier to treat when it comes to washing your car. Like always, never leave these spots unattended for too long, especially during warmer and sunny climate conditions.
If you are looking for solution to prevent water spots, then avoiding rain or any form of water is your best bet. However, we understand that this is unachievable for many, which is why a ceramic and graphene coating are highly recommended. It broadens the window of time, to address water spots before the escalate into larger problems down the line.
Car Care Advice For The Everyday Driver & Enthusiast
As a seasoned author on our team, Chester also known as ‘Gadget’, for his love for all things mechanical, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, particularly when it comes to automotive topics.