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Bird Bombs

4339 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  DavidB
by David W. Bynon
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Without a doubt, one of the most dreaded car care problems we face is the bird. Beautiful to watch fly, but vial to our car’s finish, a bird’s droppings can quickly cause damage to your paint.
A bird’s droppings are very acidic (pH 3.5 to 4.5). When bird droppings fall on your paint, the acid begins to burn and etch the paint’s surface. The longer the bird droppings remain, the greater the damage.

I’ve had bird bomb incidents with my Speed Yellow 996 (the seagulls just seem to think it’s a target) that have created damage as deep as 2-3 mils. To give you an idea of what that means, notebook paper is approximately 2 mils of thickness. Your car’s paint is only 6-8 mils thick.

The result of bird dropping damage is a dimple in the paint’s surface, often as large as an inch or more in diameter. This damage is permanent, but can easily be repaired.

<strong>Repairing Damage</strong>
The only way to repair the damage caused by bird droppings is to polish the paint. You must use the polish to blending the surrounding paint, bringing it down to the same level as the damaged area. This may sound drastic, but it works very well. The only concern is that you’re making the paint thinner. So you must be careful not to polish all the way through to the primer. Do so, and you’ll have a more noticeable problem than what the bird left behind.

Any good paint polish can be used to fix the damage with a fair amount of rubbing. I’ve found that it’s better to start with a mild compound, as you would find in a “scratch remover” (3M Rubbing Compound and Eagle One Scratch Remover are good examples), followed by a good hand polish. My favorite polish for removing minor paint problems is 3M Perfect-It Swirl Mark Remover.

<strong>Preventing Damage</strong>
While it’s not really possible to keep birds from bombing your car with their dirty little surprises, you can take steps to limit the damage. The most obvious protection is a car cover (please, not while you’re driving). But, even the cover won’t help you when you’re driving. To limit the damage when you get hit, you need to remove the offending slim as quickly as possible. Don’t wait. Get it off of your car.

I’ve found the best way to clean up after a bird is with a good detailing spray and a cotton terry cloth towel. As I’m a clean car fanatic anyway, I keep a little detailing kit in my trunk. It holds a spray bottle of quick detailing spray, a couple towels, and my favorite rubber and vinyl dressing. That’s all it takes for me to keep the car looking great. When a bird gets me, I spray the bird droppings with a few shots of detailing spray and wipe it off with the towel, turning the towel as necessary to keep a clean wipe on the car.

Another way to protect your paint from bird damage is to keep your car waxed. While a standard carnauba wax offers limited protection against a juicy attack, it makes cleanup much easier. Polymer sealants protect a little better against the harsh acids, but it’s not enough to create a damage-free barrier if the bird dropping sits too long. You still need to remove the mess as quickly as possible.
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