Bird poop on car … that’s a nasty phrase to be searching, but it’s a totally gross thing to happen to your car. Unfortunately, there really isn’t that much that you can do about it, and if you don’t take action, you could just be making things a whole lot worse.
But just why is it so bad? Apart from the whole … poop … thing of course.
Experts have all said that getting bird droppings on your car will damage the paint due to the high acidity of the poop – around 3 – 4.5 on the pH scale. It’s this uric acid that’s causing the damage, just as you’d expect an acid to attack any surface, sounds logical.
However, one of the leading automotive aftercare brands – Autoglym – have come up with another theory and they’ve tested it conclusively, in a proper scientific way, and it’s this:
When a bird … deposits … its waste on your car, it’ll sit there and dry out, turning hard. At the same time, as the lacquer on your paintwork heats up in the sun, it turns softer and expands, and as it cools back down, it molds to the poop, so even after you’ve cleaned the poop off, you’re left with a visual mark or ripple in the surface.
For what it’s worth, I can totally see a combination of the both being to blame – as the lacquer softens, it has less resistance to the acidity of the poop, and therefore, the paint gets damaged. Whichever the version you want to believe, there is only one version for treatment – act fast to minimize damage.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a magic cure-all for prevention? The only guaranteed way of avoiding a bird poop strike on your paintwork is to leave your vehicle inside, where the birds can’t get to it.
Of course, there are things that you can do to help – like avoiding parking under a tree, but even then, that’s no guarantee that a bird won’t give it what for. The best you can do, is to treat the paintwork before the damage happens.
To treat it properly, I’d recommend a full paint sealant be applied to your vehicle. This sits over the lacquer or topcoat, and then for a double benefit, apply a quality wax over the sealant. It will certainly help to keep the paintwork in pristine condition.
As we already discussed, you can only help to maintain the paintwork once it’s happened, but what’s the best way to clean it off?
First up, the quicker you can remove it, the less chance of any long term damage, but either way, once it’s dried on, you should avoid rubbing, pressing and scraping it – it needs to be treated with care.
You should soak a cloth in water and place that on the poop for at least ten minutes – the idea is to soften it, so that you can almost just wipe it off. If after ten minutes there’s no discernible difference, then re-wet the cloth and go for part two.
If you’re lucky, the poop will come off and there will be no need for anything more than a quick spritz with some detailing fluid and a wipe with a quality microfiber towel. However, if the paintwork has been marked, then you need to get a little more heavy duty.
Depending on just how much damage has been caused, you may get away with a little light buffing or you may need to cut the paintwork with a compound. If you’re unsure as to how bad it is, try a few simple steps first, and if they fail, maybe get some professional advice on reparation.
There’s nothing you can do to stop a bird from dropping its load on your car, and unless you just leave it forever. You should always be able to clean it off and make the paintwork good again, even if that requires some elbow grease.
While it’s tempting to just give it a quick wipe off with whatever comes to hand first, I’d always recommend wearing a pair of disposable gloves and perhaps some protective eyewear before going anywhere near it. And yes, I realize that the information sounds over the top, but bird poop can make you extremely ill, and for the sake of a few minutes, or looking a little silly, it’s worth it.