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  1. #1
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots

    How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots


    How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots using The Least Aggressive Method Approach

    This is a nasty problem that usually happens after you've just washed and waxed your favorite ride... and unaware you've parked next to a sprinkler. Then when you return to your car....

    Sprinkler Water Spots!





    Luckily they're only on half the car...









    The question is, are they Type I or Type II Water Spots? Let's hope they're Type I and will wipe-off or wash off, if they're Type II Water Spots we'll have to use some type of abrasive compound or polish to level the paint surface in order to remove the spots.







    We've pulled the Mercedes-Benz into our studio where we can work out of direct sunlight on a cool surface.






    The terms Hard Water or Hard Water Spots are commonly used to describe these types of spots on the surface of the paint. What's actually making up the spots are minerals and other substances dissolved in the water. After the water evaporates off the paint, the minerals, (the components referred to with the word hard in the terms Hard Water or Hard Water Spots), remain behind.

    Our hope is that these spots are simply a topical defect and not a sub-surface or below surface defect. You will find out by simply washing and drying the car or wiping the panels clean using a clean, soft microfiber towel.











    When following the approach of using the least aggressive product to get the job done, the first thing you want to do is to see if you can either wipe the sprinkler water spots off or wash the sprinkler water spots off. Since this car was recently washed and waxed and it's kept inside a garage when not being driven, we're going to try to wipe them off using a spray detailer with a clean, plush microfiber towel.


    When removing fresh water spots, use your spray detailer heavy, or wet. Using a product heavy or wet means using extra product, more than you might normally use. The reason for his is you want lots of lubrication on the surface to help prevent any potential scratching or marring of the finish as you're wiping.
















    Remember, always fold your microfiber towels 4 ways to give you 8 wiping sides with plenty of cushion to spread out the pressure from your hand and wipe the paint gently.

    Start out by spreading the spray detailer around to one section and then flip or fold your microfiber towel to a fresh or clean portion to remove the residue and buff to a dry, high shine.










    Luck is with us... the paint is safe as the Sprinkler Water Spots did not etching into the paint and using plenty of spray detailer and a clean plush microfiber towel left a scratch-free finish.






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  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots

    Just by chance, there's a rental car in the parking lot which also has water spots all over the finish.






    These water spots look like they're established water spots, that every time it rains, or a sprinkler goes off, the water pools in the same place giving any corrosive substances repeated opportunity to etch into the paint.







    Visually, I can tell the paint is likely etched in this instance but I won't know till I get the surface clean. The first step is to wash or wipe the finish, in this instance I'm going to repeat wiping process I used on the Mercedes-Benz with a spray detailer.








    After wiping the paint clean, there are water spot imprints remaining in the paint.













    To remove these and use the least aggressive product to get the job done I'm going to use a light paint cleaner with a microfiber applicator pad to gentle clean the paint.









    If you want to take some of the work out of the cleaning step as an option you can use a machine polisher to apply and work the paint cleaner, this can save a lot of elbow grease and speed up the process especially if the water spots are over the entire car.





    If you opt to machine apply the paint cleaner and you're starting with a clean, dry pad, be sure to prime the pad by spreading the paint cleaner over the entire face of the pad, by doing this 100% of the face of the pad will be working for you from the very first moment you turn the polisher on and begin buffing.







    Remove the paint cleaner residue by wiping gently using a fresh, clean microfiber towel and then apply a coat of wax or paint sealant as the paint cleaner will effectively remove everything off the surface including any previously applied wax or paint sealant.




    In keeping with the philosophy of using the least aggressive product to get the job done, if washing or wiping the paint doesn't remove the water spots the next step would be using a light paint cleaner. If the light paint cleaner didn't work you could then test a light finishing polish and if that wasn't working fast enough and/or effectively enough then you could try a more aggressive product. The goal being to remove the water spots using the least aggressive product and by doing so leaving the most amount of paint on the body panels to last over the service life of the car.




    Water Spots and Sprinkler Water Spots Successfully Removed




    One bit of advice... try to avoid parking near sprinklers when their placement is known... in the example of the Mercedes-Benz, the water spots simply wiped off; I have seen instances of Sprinkler Water Spots that have etched round craters into clear coat paints and removing these Type II Water Spots can be not only time consuming but it will require you to remove a measurable amount of the clear layer in order to completely remove the spots.


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  3. #3
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Mike Phillips
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Shawn T.'s Avatar
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    Re: How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots

    Very nice write-up Mike! I have found that a QD is usualy all I ever need to remove very fresh water spots from sprinklers.

  5. #5
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    Re: How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots

    I had this experience a few weeks ago, someone had parked their van too close to some sprinklers, tried QD, but the only way to get it out was some D151 with my GG polisher. Took out the spots and left a nice shine (protected too). I was wondering what it was, the owner cleared it up later, but now I know for sure reading your thread. I'll keep your advice for next time (might make it easier)

  6. #6
    Senior Member david79z28's Avatar
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    Re: How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots

    Do you have to re apply any lsp if you use a paint cleaner?

  7. #7
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots

    Quote Originally Posted by david79z28 View Post
    Do you have to re apply any lsp if you use a paint cleaner?
    Definitely YES!

    I thought I included that recommendation in the article but it could be I missed it... I'll edit and add it tomorrow...


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  8. #8
    Senior Member TornadoRed's Avatar
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    Re: How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots

    Quote Originally Posted by david79z28 View Post
    Do you have to re apply any lsp if you use a paint cleaner?
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post
    Remove the paint cleaner residue by wiping gently using a fresh, clean microfiber towel and then apply a coat of wax or paint sealant as the paint cleaner will effectively remove everything off the surface including any previously applied wax or paint sealant.
    I had the same question and had to read it 3 times to find it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kurt_s's Avatar
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    Re: How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots

    Are any of the prewax paint cleaners better at removing T1 water spots when a QD doesn't remove them?

  10. #10
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    Re: How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots

    Sometimes meg cleaner wax will get them off if they are still there after washing and drying . Try that first and you can sometimes save the extra step of polishing .

    What about the paint acids they sell for water spots?Anyone tried them?
    Ive stayed away from them because Ive heard they can damage the paint .

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