Why you shouldn't let bird poop sit on your car's paint for long

It doesn't bring good luck to your ride
by Joey Bernardez | Jun 22, 2018

Hi, Top Gear Philippines!

Recently, I tried to take out a bird's poop from my car. It's been there for more than a year. I had the car detailed in the casa and expected it to be removed during the process, but sadly it still remained there. So I decided to take it out myself, using a rubbing compound and a microfiber towel, but this happened (see photo above). Any thoughts?

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Kyle G.

Hi, Kyle. You allowed bird droppings to sit on your car for more than a year? Really?

Sad to say, but I’m afraid it’s far too late for inexpensive solutions to that damage done by the feces on your car’s finish. You’ll probably need to have that re-finished.

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What happened there is that the bird's droppings have etched into your finish. To etch means "to cut" or "to carve." In the case of the poop on your car, the high acidity of the droppings, the length of time they were on there, and the heat of the sun baking them, all combined to break down the clear coat of your finish and etched the excrement into the paint.

Bird droppings are a combination of their urine and feces. Unlike mammals, birds don’t excrete urine and feces separately. Their excrement is a mixture of their solid and liquid waste matter because they don’t have a bladder. Thus, the acidity of their droppings is relatively high. Because of the high acidity of their excrement, these watery bombs have the ability to break down the finish of a car.

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The heat cycling of the sun in the daytime, the cooling in the night time, further exacerbated by the extended period that you left the bird excrement on there, contributed to the etching of the bird’s uric acid into your car’s finish. Like we learned in school, heat causes expansion, while cold causes contraction. This thermodynamic action applies to paint and clear coat as well.

So in the heat of the sun, the clear coat and paint expands allowing the uric acid to seep into the finish. Then when it cools down at night, the affected area will contract around the uric acid that seeped in during the daytime, breaking down the finish. So if you don’t remove the bird poop immediately, this happens over and over again, day in and day out, with the acid seeping deeper and deeper into your car’s finish.

If you can wipe it off immediately, that would be best. I have a friend who carries a small bottle of spray wax and quick detailer, and a sacrificial microfiber towel to remove bird droppings or tree sap as soon as he sees it. Even plain water should be good, so long as the contaminant is removed at once.

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But, if you really don’t have time, just pass by a car wash and have your ride washed once every week. Week-old bird poop should be easy to remove. Albeit, there will be a level of damage already sustained if you allow it to remain there and heat cycle.

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