How long does it take for a bird dropping to etch paint?
Copyright ©PBMA - AutogeekOnline.net® All Rights Reserved Question:
How long does it take for a bird dropping to etch paint? Answer: A few minutes
. Remove Bird Dropping Etchings ASAP!
It's important that you remove a bird dropping off your car's finish as fast as you can before it can cause any damage. Bird droppings contain Uric Acid and Uric Acid is corrosive enough to eat past a coating of wax or paint sealant and then begin to etch your car's paint.
Here's a tidbit about the make-up of a bird dropping from AskTheExterminator.com
Two Types of Bird Dropping Etchings
Unlike mammals, birds have no bladder because they do not store liquid wastes. Birds pass their urine into a common chamber used for digestive and urinary wastes. This chamber, called the cloaca, also contains reproductive by-products. So, when a bird lets go with a "bomb" it contains white uric acid crystals and a bunch of digestive wastes like insect parts and seeds.
- Type I Bird Dropping Topical Stain Etching
- Type II Bird Dropping Fractured Wrinkled Etching
There are two common types of damage associated with bird dropping etchings; Type I Bird Dropping Topical Stain Etching
Type I Topical Stain Etchings are usually only topical, that is shallow enough that they can be completely removed or at least greatly improved to the point where they are difficult to see.
This type of etching can be removed using a clear coat safe compound or polish by hand or machine. Hand removal is almost always more efficient as you can exert more pressure to a small area and thus keep your work area isolated to just the affected area. By machine you can use a Spot Repair System, again to keep the work area isolated to just the affected area. Photo courtesy of MeguiarsOnline.com Type II Bird Dropping Fractured/Wrinkled Etching
Type II Wrinkled Etchings are usually too deep to fix safely. The problem is the paint fractures, (splits apart in tiny lines,), or wrinkles as the paint swells and bunches together. In both instances, the resulting defect is throughout the clear layer of paint and not topical. Thus trying to remove it will require removing so much clear paint that you will likely expose the basecoat, or colored layer of paint which has a dull appearance. For this reason it's not safe to try to remove a Type II Bird Dropping Wrinkled or Fractured Etching. Photo courtesy of AutogeekOnline.com A little story...
Here's a real-world example on how quickly a bird dropping can cause damage to a clear coat finish from my own first-hand experience. For the 2002 Bimmerfest
, I did a side-by-side
, before & after
on this black 1991 e34 BMW M5
with the original basecoat/clearcoat paint.
Here's what the paint looked like at the Bimmerfest Here it is on display at the Meguiar's booth at the 2002 Bimmerfest
At some point during the day the hood was down and I just wiped off the entire hood to remove any light, accumulated dust to make sure it looked clean as people kept coming over and inspecting the before and after results.
After wiping the hood down, someone asked me a question, I was standing by the drivers front tire with my back to the car facing the person and answering their questions. We talked for less than 10 minutes, probably less than 5 minutes.
After talking to the person I turned around to look at the hood that I had just wiped down previously and lo and behold there was a fresh bird dropping on the polished and waxed side of the hood.
I quickly used a spray detailer and an microfiber polishing towel to remove the bird dropping. After removing the bird dropping I inspected the area where it had landed for any signs of etching. To my surprise, the bird dropping had started to etch the paint, there was a spot where the paint had a definite stain and imprint from the Uric Acid in the bird dropping. Less than 10 minutes and probably less than 5 minutes!
Don't know what the bird had been eating but this opened my eyes as to how fast the acid in a bird dropping can cause damage to a car's finish. The time I spent answering a question for an attendee of the show wasn't very long... but it didn't take very long for the acid to go to work corroding the clear layer of paint. What's the best wax or paint sealant to protect against bird droppings?
This incident really drives home the point that on the topic of protection
and that's ANYTHING
corrosive enough to harm or etch a modern clear coat paint is strong enough and/or corrosive enough to eat through and obliterate any micron thin layer of wax or paint sealant from any company.
Think about it... the clear layer of paint is harder and thicker than the thin layer of whatever
wax or paint sealant you apply, let dry and then wipe off your car's paint to protect it.
That's why it's so important to keep a bottle of spray detailer and some clean, soft microfiber polishing cloths behind the seat or in the trunk for emergencies because if you love your car and you actively maintain a show car finish, then bird droppings that land on your car's paint are emergencies!
Hope this helps explain how long it takes a bird dropping to etch your car's paint. Further Resources How to safely remove a dried bird dropping How to use a hand applied abrasive polish or paint cleaner by hand How to remove water spots by hand How To Build Your Own Emergency Car Care Kit What it means to remove swirls, scratches and water spots out of automotive clear coats Tips & Techniques for using a Spray Detailer to Remove Light Dust, Fingerprints and Smudges The practical differences between single stage paints and a clear coat paints How To Choose The Right Wax or Paint Sealant for your Detailing Project