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Water spots – 101

Water spots on a black car.


Water spots on a black car.

It was a great day, you decided to spend some time washing your car after a good week accumulating all sorts of dirt, grime and even dirty water from the rain. After a wash, you started to realise there’s these spots on the paint, thinking that you didn’t dry it properly and you proceed to grab a microfibre towel, wiping it hoping these water spots comes off and then the devastation hits you, it wont and it seems permanent. Sound familiar? This type of paint defect are called water spots aka water marks.

They are caused by impurities found in water in the rain and in the tap water because these two types of water sources aren’t 100% pure. They contain minerals such as calcium, sodium or even worse some of them might be acidic that causes them to be etched into the paint deeply and it’s only removable via intensive paint correction or even wet-sanding. These water spots generally would affect a lot more on your vehicle’s paintwork that hasn’t have any form of protection. Check out our article earlier  ‘Should I consider Paint Protection for my car?’ by clicking here.

Letting your car dry off naturally after a wash using tap water is a way of getting water spots too due the mineral contents.

Water Spots and minor swirl marks on a Ferrari F430 Rossa Corsa Red 

Water Spots and minor swirl marks on a Ferrari F430 Rossa Corsa Red

Types of water spots

Above surface water spots

You’re lucky! This type of water spots haven’t etched into the paint yet and they are part of the contamination on the surface. The water has evaporated leaving the minerals and dirt behind to stain the surface of the paint. However, if you do leave it for long enough it will begin to etch into the painted surface.

There are now good products on the market place which allow quick and safe removal of above the surface water spots. These are usually as easy as spraying and letting dwell for a few seconds and gently wiping off with a good and clean microfibre towel.

Note – if the water spots are not removing quickly or easily with the dedicated product, be sure to stop otherwise there is a good chance of causing marring or scratches in the paintwork.

An illustration of several types of paint imperfections, etched in water spots is one of them.

An illustration of several types of paint imperfections, etched in water spots is one of them.

Below surface water spots

Water spots that have note been rectified in time and it etched into the paintwork, as illustrated on the picture above will require a more drastic solution in order to remove. Depending on the severity of the water spots, it can vary from car to car. Some cars will require minor paint correction whereas others will require major paint levelling with automotive fine grade sandpaper and intensive paint correction.

In order to prevent this type of water spots from occurring here are some simple tips which you may find useful. By drying your car properly with a microfibre drying towel and/or air drying in between crevices and holes that are impossible to reach with towels will prevent excessive water from drying on the surface of the car.

Another option is to carry a quick detailer product and water spot remover with your vehicle. Though it may seem excessive, inspect for any water spots and remove any water spots if any and use a quick detailer over the entire car.

Ultimately, having some form of product or paint protection will allow your car to have a barrier against the minerals and the water drying on your car. Click here to see some examples.

If you have further questions regarding water marks and how they occur or how to remove them, please feel free to contact us by clicking here.

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