View Full Version : Water spots won't come off

08-29-2003, 08:44 PM
My MG's mallard green paint and clearcoat is 3 months old. A couple of days ago I drove my freshly washed car, which has had a coat of wax, to work. Unfortunately, I parked in a spot I'd never parked before and the sprinkler soaked the car, leaving beads of water with white rings. I washed the car as soon as I got home, but the white spots remain. I used paint clay, Mothers paint cleaner and Meguiars #7 glaze, but still have some spots, though they are not as noticeable. What else can I do that will get the spots, but not ruin my paint? I'm a bit shocked, since our town doesn't have hard water and I've never had a significant problem with spotting from the tap water.

tony barnhill
08-29-2003, 09:07 PM
You may have to strip & redo the clear coat!

08-29-2003, 09:20 PM
Sprinkler systems sometimes run on reclaimed water and other sources that are equally bad for your paint.

A very diluted mixture of vinegar and water can cut the spots, then buff it off - followed by your paint cleaner and wax.

You can also try 3M Swirl Remover with a foam pad - it actually has some polishing ability when used properly.

Hopefully you'll get it all taken care of - at that point consider switching to something from regular wax to a product like Zaino or Meguiar's #20. They're both synthetics, both are considered "sealants", and both protect against spots pretty well.

I had a terrible spotting problem on my Saturn and switched to Zaino years ago with incredible results - to prove it to myself I used the product on one side window and occasionally when the sprinklers would hit that side the Zainoed window would stay clear, the others had heavy white spots.

I just started using Meguiars #20 but it seems to be absolutely outstanding stuff, topped with a top quality wax it's even better (see https://www.britishcarforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=7&t=000078 for sort of a review on the product)

If all else fails ask around for a professional detailer with a good reputation. He'll be able to either make it look new (or better), or tell you it's irreversible.

Good luck!

[ 08-29-2003: Message edited by: aerog ]</p>

08-29-2003, 09:30 PM
I've got a lot of respect for Tony, but I hope Aerog is right and he's wrong. Do I just wash the car with the vinegar solution?

08-29-2003, 09:47 PM
To be real honest I don't know. My initial thought would be to use a 100% cotton applicator and sponge it on/off, or use it like a detailing spray.

I've had water spots so bad that even after they were "gone" they were still sort of in the paint. Using the 3M products, and others, over time eliminated them completely.

Try going over to the forums at www.autopia.org (https://www.autopia.org) and do a search for water spots, there's a wealth of information there.

I've seen paints that were horribly scratched and spotted but brought back to new (or arguably better than new) condition by knowledgeable detailers - I wouldn't lose hope yet!

tony barnhill
08-29-2003, 10:58 PM
I certainly hope I'm wrong....if the paint job is only 3 months old, go back to the painter & ask his opinion....never h

08-29-2003, 11:44 PM
Thanks for the autopia link Aerog. There was an article on using the distilled white vinegar to cut the water spots.

08-30-2003, 01:10 AM
I would agree, Sounds like hard water to me, I would use the vin. solution first...It wont hurt anything, If it dosent work then go to the person who painted it.
Good luck.
graemlins/cheers.gif graemlins/thirsty.gif

08-30-2003, 07:20 PM
That's happened to me a few times too. Eventually they come off.

08-30-2003, 08:38 PM
I would try vinegar first and use a heavy concentration directly onto the affected area. If I ever have tree sap on my car I use denatured alcohol and it may work on water spots. Use a soft clean cloth to scrub the spots.

A good detailer may know how to get the spots off, a good painter would be a better choice because they have to deal with paint runs and particles on their projects. If you can't feel the etch mark in the paint with your finger nail then they will be able to get it out by using a high grit sand paper(1500-2500 grit) to sand the affected area and remove some paint. Then they will apply rubbing compound to smooth it out and then polish it to look like new again.

Good luck, Jon

Gary Lloyd
08-30-2003, 08:42 PM
I am sure they will buff out!! I can't imagine them penetrating the clear coat!! Mothers 3 step work good for me!!! GOOD LUCK man!!!

08-30-2003, 11:39 PM
I washed with vinegar. It helped some but not totally. I'm now waiting on delivery of some P21S paint cleaner, which I understand is good for water spots.

08-31-2003, 10:34 AM
It may take several tries with several products to get it all off. The big problem is going to be how much (if at all) it etchs the surface of the paint/clearcoat. If you get all the deposits off, but looking at a shallow angle can see a huge pit in the paint surface then you might be beyond "removal" and have to look at polishing or wet sanding the paint. It doesn't take much to make it look like a big "pit", but even that 3M swirl remover with a good foam applicator will smooth it out.

Good luck with the P21S. I was considering trying some of their products but opted for Meguiar's instead - maybe next year I'll try it!

09-02-2003, 01:04 AM
My guess is chlorine...the white stuff is salt that's in the water...why it wouldn't come out with simple waxing is strange...ask your local water company what they have in the water...particularily where you had it parked...it might give you some clues...hard water after all is loaded with chlorine...it may take a few washings and polishings to finally do the trick...keep us posted...

Vinegar water???...very interesting... graemlins/crazyeyes.gif

09-02-2003, 02:33 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Henri:

Vinegar water???...very interesting... graemlins/crazyeyes.gif <hr></blockquote>

Yes, vinegar. Vinegar is acidic but quite mild and will dissolve light mineral deposits left after tap water has evaporated. Products like Lime-Away use phosphoric acid, which is far too aggressive to use on paint.

Be sure to use white distilled vinegar; otherwise your car will smell like a bean salad. images/icons/tongue.gif


09-02-2003, 07:01 PM
Hard water isn't necessarily loaded with Chlorine. It's not unusual for many house and small community sprinkler systems to have shallow wells drilled for sprinkler-only operation - which makes it even more fun because the shallow wells are usually extremely high in sulfer content (nevermind all the other minerals it's carrying) enough not only stink up the area for a good long time but also enough to turn anything it touches bright orange. The deeper wells are much cleaner, but the water still has a very high mineral content.

To compound these problems people here seem all too eager to water the streets and parking lots rather than just the grass. It's even more exciting when you're riding at night with the top down and get hit square in the side of the face by a stream of water pointing 180 away from someone's yard images/icons/rolleyes.gif

09-02-2003, 07:14 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by aerog:
...It's even more exciting when you're riding at night with the top down and get hit square in the side of the face by a stream of water pointing 180 away from someone's yard images/icons/rolleyes.gif <hr></blockquote>

Back when it was legal to drive around here with friends in the bed of my pickup truck it was always important to locate one of these. graemlins/devilgrin.gif


09-06-2003, 08:33 PM
Hi, If you havn't gotten the spots off yet, use 3M Finesset 11 white bottle. Follow directions, it WILL work. Might even be the smoothest,shinest areas of your car. Three month old paint of any kind should not be waxed, solvents are still drying.

Jim Weatherford
11-13-2003, 04:23 AM
Having a bright well waxed paint job, somehow water spots are not too much of a problem, at least in my case but the glass is another problem, I have used indurtrial glass and lime removal products from my industrial window washers and it does take it off, but it hasn't been easy. I'm afraid of etching the glass but the "spots" seem to do that anyway. I try to avoid water spotting opertunities, but as was said earlier about folks watering the street, etc and getting a face full, yup, it's also happened to me too. That is very desturbing day or night, at even moderate (legal of course) speeds.

[ 11-14-2003: Message edited by: Jim Weatherford ]</p>