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Advice on removing water spots

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by jmsurpri, May 10, 2016.

  1. jmsurpri

    jmsurpri Member

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    After a few washes now, I've noticed my S is covered with water spots. They are on the paint, glass and chrome. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to remove water spots? And once gone, how do I prevent them from coming back?
     
  2. Brunton

    Brunton Pontificating the obvious

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    Our water here in Goose Creek SC has a lot of minerals dissolved in it. First time I washed my S it looked like it had a bad case of pimpleitis after it dried. Since then I've been using a chamois to dry the car. That works pretty good, because it dries the car so well.
    You can also install a high-end water softener to remove minerals from the water. That will reduce / eliminate water sports.
     
  3. tommythecat

    tommythecat Member

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    Depending on how bad the spots are you will probably need to polish them out. I detail cars and do paint correction on the side and if the water is particularly hard or the spots are not taken care of immediately, the minerals will etch into the clear coat. If that is the case you will need to use a light abrasive polish if the spots aren't real bad. If they are severely etched into the paint you will likely need to do a 2-step correction (compound/polish).

    In order to prevent water spots you will need to dry your car with a microfiber drying towel. No disrespect meant to the poster above me, but if you value your car's paint never use a chamois on it. Microfiber is made for touching paint and will not scratch it or leave swirl marks if they are properly maintained.

    Or you can fly me out to Oregon and have me polish it out for you. ;)

    Feel free to PM me if you would like more info or some links on some good products like polishes and microfiber towels.
     
  4. Brunton

    Brunton Pontificating the obvious

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    Hey, watch it!
    My pappy used a chamois on his cars in the 1950's and 60's. If it was good enough then, it's good enough now! :mad:

    Seriously, I didn't know that. Any particular brand of towel you recommend?

    I have Opti-coat Pro on my S. The water spots washed right off with no indication of any etching.
     
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  5. LuckyLuke

    LuckyLuke Model S P85DL

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    Try a battery powered leaf blower after washing your car.
     
  6. tommythecat

    tommythecat Member

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    Opti-Coat (and also CQuartz) is the best possible defense against water spots. It is almost like a self healing clear coat (exaggerated but not far off). With Opti-Coat you hardly even need to dry your car if you rinse it off by sheeting the water across the paint. That will leave very few drops of water left to be dried off.

    As far as brands of microfiber it honestly doesn't make a huge difference. For high quality and good prices check out theragcompany.com

    Drying towels are usually of a waffle weave design and some have a sponge built in between 2 layers of microfiber for extra water retention.

    Or, as LuckyLuke mentions...a leaf blower works great for drying a car and as long as you aren't blowing a lot of dust or debris it is the safest way.
     
  7. RandyR

    RandyR Member

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    With new water spots, I have had good luck with using a clay bar. If that doesn't work, then I've use vinegar to try to neutralize the minerals. Tommy's right about if the water marks have etched into the clear coat, then you will need to polish them out.

    Preventing them is a two step process: use soft water and dry in the shade or a cool area, so as to not allow water spots to develop. I use microfiber towels on all my cars - buy good quality ones and take care of them - they will last a long time. Last, I use compressed are to blow the water out of the seams, door jams, mirrors, etc...

    I'm not familiar with the Opticoat or other paint wraps. I'm still a bit old fashioned with the "rub on/rub off" style of paint protection. I've been using Zaino products for about 15 years on all of my cars, and I'm very happy with the results.
     
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  8. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Over at the Tesla Motors forum for the Model X a lot of people were praising this. Kind of pricey IMHO (ok I have a full house water softener).

    Costco Wholesale
     
  9. jmsurpri

    jmsurpri Member

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    Thanks for all the info, this is really helpful. I do dry the car with microfiber but I admit during a momentary lapse of sanity, I washed my car in full sun a couple washes back and so lots of the water dried before I could get to it with the microfiber. The spots seem pretty permanent now so I'm guessing they are etched into the clearcoat. Is it harmful to leave the spots on the car for awhile until I get a detail? It might be several months.
     
  10. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    You can also try using a spray detail solution on a *clean* car to get rid of the water spots. I use Garry Dean's Infinute Use Detail Juice for this and many other things on my car but others including Optimum have similar products.
     
  11. ArtInCT

    ArtInCT Always Learning

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    Cut a lemon in half and remove any pips that you can see. Use the lemon on water spots by pressing and releasing some of the juice and using a vigorous circular motion over lapping the water spotted area. Do this in the shade to maximize the juice, in the sun the juice will dry quickly. The very mild acid in the juice will remove water spots from glass really well. One half of a lemon will do half of your windshield. After applying then use your favorite window washing fluid to clean the windshield. I have not tried this on paint as I have Xpel Utimate which does not water spot much at all.

    I would NOT do this on interior glass.

    Do not blame me if after the lemon trick you have a hankering for a Gin & Tonic.... this lemon treatment works very well. A bit unconventional but very effective... saw this on Bill Nye the Science Guy many years ago.
     
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  12. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    #12 Skotty, May 11, 2016
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
    A leather chamois works fine, as long as the car is clean and the chamois is clean and you moisten it before each use. Just get the car wet again and dry it off.

    I don't have any experience with the synthetic chamois or microfiber towels, but I've never had any problems with just water and a leather chamois.

    As far as water spots damaging the paint, that is something I have never seen before. From experience, it's really not a concern of mine. I've always been of the mindset that removing water spots is just for aesthetics.

    If you opt for a whole house water softener and haven't used one before, beware that you will never again in your life know when you have all the soap off your hands. A minor annoying side effect of soft water. Personally, I can't stand it, but others it doesn't bother. Just depends on the person.

    Another side note, something I learned from experimentation. If you are the type willing to use a car wash where you get out and do it yourself, the spot free rinses (at least in the sites where I have experimented) do indeed help prevent spots. At one time I thought they were bull, but being scientifically minded, I tested them out several times and compared (for example, by just spot free rinsing half the car) and sure enough they actually worked. Maybe not 100%, but much better than without. So it's not just to make you feed more money in the machine, the spot free rinse mode really can potentially do what it claims.

    Note that I always wash my S by hand, but over the last 20 years, I have tried a lot of different types of car washes on various cars, sometimes just to see how well they work. I haven't decided whether or not I'm willing to try anything other than hand washing my S yet.
     
  13. CLLACAB

    CLLACAB Member

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    Do a search on Chemical Guys water spot remover. A friend of mine had heavy water spots on his 911. You just apply (wear gloves) let it sit for a short while, and rinse heavily with water. Removed them completely with no damage to the paint.
     
  14. SPXMike

    SPXMike Member

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    I have a black car and the water coming to my house is over 500 ppm total dissolved solids (TDS). Hardness (calcium and magnesium) is right up there at 317 ppm. I fought this pretty hard.

    Original approach:
    1. wash car in shade (double bucket)
    2. Immediately after rinsing, hit car with cordless leaf blower, focusing on areas where water accumulates such as the mirrors, the lower corners of the back window, taillights, front corner lights. Crack a door to keep the mirrors folded out and the door handles popped.
    3. Finish off with a good microfiber towel. I got a nice one from Chemical Guys, around $25. Circling the car several times to make sure to get all water spots
    4. Hit the whole car with a quick detailer
    5. Curse after some water I didn't get runs down the side of the car later, leaving a white streak
    Then I bought one of those spotless water filters (CR Spotless). @aesculus post has the Costco link. If you go to the CR Spotless site they have different versions. Yes, at $450 they are expensive. But it provides you with deionized water. Unit has a TDS meter. Water coming out has 0 PPM TDS.

    Current approach:
    1. wash car in shade (double bucket). Use water from spotless water filter.
    2. Rinse car using the filtered water.
    3. Hit car briefly with leaf blower. Don't really have to, but it's hard to walk away from car with lots of water on it.
    4. Skip towel. Skip quick detailer. Walk away. Car still wet. It dries - no spots.
    At $450 it is expensive. But we all spent a bunch of loot for these cars. And you need to ask yourself what your time is really worth. I'm happy with it.
     
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  15. brec

    brec Member

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    Distilled water at a supermarket is in the neighborhood of $1.25/gallon. $450/1.25 = 360, but I use less than one gallon per wash as a base for Optimum No Rinse and Shine using my single-bucket no-rinse wash technique.
     
  16. CQuartz Finest

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    For sake of accuracy, coatings are not in any way "self healing." That is a property reserved for certain types of Paint Protection Film (clear bra) such as XPEL Ultimate, SunTek Premium, etc.

    Coatings do resist light marring and etching to a larger extent than other forms of paint protection, but they can still require polishing to fix damage.

    That said, CarPro makes a product called "Spotless," which is a water spot remover that chemically removes/dissolves minor spotting and mineral deposits that have not yet etched into the coating and/or paint. It may be worth a try depending on the severity of the issue being dealt with.
     
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  17. tommythecat

    tommythecat Member

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    Thank you for the clarification. :) I thought the use of "almost like" was enough of a qualifier that coatings are not self healing but can see how someone not crazy into detailing products would be confused.

    To clarify what I meant was that I have seen spots/etching from things like water spots and bird bombs fade away on coatings like those from CarPro and Optimum with no additional steps beyond cleaning the area. I tried searching for the relevant thread on autogeek showing what I meant but it is from quite a while back and my search was futile. I know that the coatings are not healing themselves, but it is an apt comparison IMO.
     

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