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There Are Spots on My Car Paint and Glass


Water spots take many different forms across the various surfaces on your vehicle. Water spotting consists of an area of dried mineral deposits left on a surface after being allowed to air dry.  Water spotting generally causes dulling of gloss in spots or masses of spots. Spots are caused by dissolved salts, calcium, magnesium, and minerals remaining on surfaces after the water evaporates. Things get worse if the water contains something corrosive that etches the surface as it sits, creating a “crater.” If not addressed, these craters can actually get worse over time, as water will pool in them and continue to etch the same spot. This usually happens in hard water, but can also happen in mechanically softened water. Water spotting is very common with automobiles, glass, chrome, and rims, and can cause corrosion. Irrigation/sprinkler systems are notorious for leaving hard water spots on vehicles.

Water Spotting Can Cause:

  • Paint discoloration
  • Surface etching
  • Microscopic surface imperfections

These “water spots” are vulnerable to deterioration and should be removed and naturalized as soon as possible. Water quality has a big effect on how severe water spots can be, specifically the amount and type of minerals in the local water supply.


Different Types Of Water Spots Include:

  1. Type I water spots are merely mineral deposits on the surface left behind after water with minerals has evaporated from the surface. These deposits can often be washed off using soap.
  2. Type II water spots can only be removed by leveling the surrounding paint by hand or machine with some type of abrasive compound or paint cleaner.
  3. Type III water spots are primarily a stain and/or etching in the paint which looks like fading where water pooled for some measure of time. If type III water spots are limited to only the upper surface of the paint, then they can be removed by abrading the paint by hand or machine with a compound or polish.


Now you know how to identify the spots blanketing the exterior surface of your vehicle. Let’s discuss the options for removal. Almost every vehicle both new and older have water spots. It is a very common issue. I would say 99% of car washes and most detailers have no experience removing hard water spots.


First, let’s just debunk the home remedies. They DO NOT WORK! People will tell you to use vinegar, baking soda, and even toothpaste.


How Do I Prevent Water Spots?

  1. Applying a premium wax, paint sealant, or preferably hydrophobic coating aka ceramic coating on your paint is the first line of defense. It will create a barrier between the hard water and the paint. So, if a water spot does form, it will most likely be on the wax/sealant layer instead of the paint making it much, much easier to remove.
  2. Try to keep your car clean. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, rain will fall, our cars will get hit by a poorly aimed sprinkler, and unwanted water is going to end up on our vehicles. As we talked about earlier, it’s not the water that causes spotting; it’s allowing what’s in the water to sit on the surface. Average tap water ranges anywhere from 140-400 ppm total dissolved solids. Water is considered “hard” anywhere above 170 ppm, so there’s a good chance you’re rinsing your car with hard water.

How Do I Remove Water Spots?

Great question. Depending on the severity of the hard water spotting, will determine the procedure and process. If you are a DIYer it will take some time, patience, and effort. Unless you have the products and experience, I would recommend bringing it to Dangerous Curves Auto Detailing.

Products Needed: (Visual inspection, clay bar, compound cream, DA buffer, sealant)


Dangerous Curves Auto Detailing water spot removal: Starting @  $100.00


Click HERE or call 910-769-0503 to schedule your appointment with one of our detailing professionals!

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910 - 769 - 0503