Bird poop: Your car paint's worst nightmare?

Plus: Tips on dealing with avian droppings
May 6, 2011

Car owners who are meticulous about their car's  paintwork have always known that it's not wise to keep bird droppings on the car too long because it supposedly has corrosive properties that can ruin the paint. Apparently, that isn't true at all.

According to Autoglym, a United Kingdom-based company that specializes in car cleaning products, it's not the bird droppings that damage the paint but the paint lacquer.

As the paint lacquer warms under the sun, it supposedly softens and expands. At the same time, the bird droppings on your car, if there are any, dry and harden on the surface.

Based on Autoglym's research, as the paint lacquer cools overnight, for example, it contracts, hardens and molds around the bird dropping. This results in paintwork that appears dulled or etched as the light's reflection is interrupted by the imperfect surface unlike the undamaged paint surrounding it which gives a clearer reflection.

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So the longer the bird dropping remains on the car, coupled with the higher the temperature and the harder the dried deposit will be, the greater the damage it will cause on the paintwork as the lacquer is given more time to mold around it.

To minimize the risk of bird droppings damaging your car’s paintwork, Autoglym has outlined these tips:

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- Remove the deposit at the earliest opportunity

- Motorists should use a moist cloth to gently lift the deposit from the surface

- If the deposit is dry or doesn’t lift easily, place a moist cloth over it for ten minutes to soften the deposit

- Dispose of any cloth or wipe used to remove bird droppings immediately and carefully wash your hands, as bird lime can harbor diseases

"It's a great shame when an otherwise fabulous-looking car is blighted with a tell-tale patch of dull paint. As a result of this new research by our R&D team in Letchworth, we now understand why bird droppings are a frighteningly potent hazard to bodywork," said Paul Caller, chief executive of Autoglym.

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