Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Can't remove water spots from paintwork

JS77

Member
Nov 24, 2019
141
88
England
Well, I've had the most disastrous first wash of my MR this weekend... long story, short; I pressure washed my car yesterday and finished with AytoGlym Polar Seal... the problem is I started packing things away and I took too long to come back and dry the car and by the time I returned the car had already air-dried in the hot sun and was covered in water spots (presumably from the polar seal which warns of this exact thing on the instructions... *sigh*).

I immediately attempted to wash it again, one panel at a time this time, and managed to get 70% of them out, but they are utterly stubborn on the bonnet and boot lid... have I completely f****d up my paintwork? :mad:

Any idea on what I can use to try and get these out? I had a waterless wash and polish that I tried after and it didn't help at all. :(
 

Attachments

  • IMG_9249.jpg
    IMG_9249.jpg
    244.3 KB · Views: 21
  • IMG_9250.jpg
    IMG_9250.jpg
    288.8 KB · Views: 20

Medved_77

TM3 SR+ | MSM+Black | No FSD
Supporting Member
Jan 20, 2020
2,092
2,126
Scotland
Claybar and quick detailer or a dedicated water spot remover such as Meguires.

For a home remedy, try a small bit of vinegar on a micro fibre cloth.

Don't worry, they won't be permanent but you may need to buy a product to remove them.
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,249
5,772
Surrey, UK
If you don't get any solution before Monday, give Auto Glym a call. Their customer support is excellent but I am sure they will have a product to sell you that sorts the issue.

It would be interesting to see what the effect is after a bit of rain although hopefully you rinsed off the Polar Seal before it dried so probably did its job and what you see is water marks from rinsing down.

As an aside, no help I'm afraid, but I am always very mindful on the weather when washing our cars. But you can still get caught out. I had to cut short my last one as the 'sunny intervals' came 2 hours early and the sun kept popping out from behind a cloud. I had to skip the Polar Seal stage which was the right thing to do as even with sunny intervals, it was a race against time to get the car hand dry before it dried itself. The good news was that even without the Polar Seal and now probably going on 3 months since Polar Seal was last applied, the car is still nicely hydrophobic.
 

yfwt

Member
Apr 8, 2016
123
67
United Kingdom
Tip from my detailer - wash the car in the shade (dawn or dusk), preferably not in the direct sun as the water dries before you can dry it hence the water spots which is the mineral deposits of the water, shows up more if you are in a hard water areas. You can use water spot remover as lessen the effect and always try and wash and dry the car ASAP as you go along so have lots of microfibre cloths stocked up! :) Hope this helps! 🤞🏼👍🏼🙏🏼
 

Stuart1714

Member
May 27, 2020
161
99
Ashton-in-Makerfield
I had water spots on my last ICE car. The trick is to treat it as soon as possible.

I used Gtechniq W9 Water Spot Remover and managed to get rid of most of them and it was about £11.

If it’s sunny, I tend to wash it late in the day as the driveway is in the shade then.

The spots are usually alkaline deposits so you need something mildly acidic to get rid of them, which is why some people use vinegar.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: yfwt and Nick77

JS77

Member
Nov 24, 2019
141
88
England
Thanks everyone… I really think this is down to the polar seal drying too quickly before I got back to properly dry the car… completely my fault on all fronts. :-(

There’s been mention of using a clay bar or the meguiars water spot removal… which would you recommend I try first? If it is the polar seal that’s caused it, would the water spot remover work? (I assume the meguiars is designed more for hard water spots?)

Thanks again… I honestly feel so stupid/mad. The car wasn’t even that dirty…
 

pgkevet

Active Member
Jul 1, 2019
1,439
1,248
mid wales
Don't rush into claybars - apart from taking effort they may strip submicrons of paint. I only think about claybarring when putting on a long term protective coat. Fisrt i'd try a repeat application of your Polar seal on a small panel to see if it redissolves and removes the spots by doing it right. You could also try some deionised water or cold boiled water on a cloth and try to wipe it away. Or just don't worry about it and it'll come off in time with subsequent washes.
I do like a clean car but never go overboard - they only get dirty again and are supposed to be a means of transport not neurosis.
 

Stuart1714

Member
May 27, 2020
161
99
Ashton-in-Makerfield
Thanks everyone… I really think this is down to the polar seal drying too quickly before I got back to properly dry the car… completely my fault on all fronts. :-(

There’s been mention of using a clay bar or the meguiars water spot removal… which would you recommend I try first? If it is the polar seal that’s caused it, would the water spot remover work? (I assume the meguiars is designed more for hard water spots?)

Thanks again… I honestly feel so stupid/mad. The car wasn’t even that dirty…

Try the Gtechniq, it worked for me.

The polar seal won’t have caused it, just contaminated water drying too quickly. You need something acidic to get rid of it easily. I guess there are alternatives, but as has been said, it’s involving taking out a minute layer of top coating rather than treating the issue directly. Clay bars and polishing are used when it’s been left far too long and we are talking months and it’s a last resort. You shouldn’t need this.

The polar seal may have helped as I find more of the water runs off with polar seal so there may be less marks because of it. Without polar seal, I use 2 large drying towels and a small one, with polar seal I only need 1 of the large towels plus the small one.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Durzel

JS77

Member
Nov 24, 2019
141
88
England
Don't rush into claybars - apart from taking effort they may strip submicrons of paint. I only think about claybarring when putting on a long term protective coat. Fisrt i'd try a repeat application of your Polar seal on a small panel to see if it redissolves and removes the spots by doing it right. You could also try some deionised water or cold boiled water on a cloth and try to wipe it away. Or just don't worry about it and it'll come off in time with subsequent washes.
I do like a clean car but never go overboard - they only get dirty again and are supposed to be a means of transport not neurosis.
Thanks, I needed to read the last part to clam myself down.

I did retry the polar seal on a small area of the boot lid but no joy… I’m leaning towards just putting it to the back of my mind and hoping it comes out in the next wash in a months time.
 

Stuart1714

Member
May 27, 2020
161
99
Ashton-in-Makerfield
Thanks, I needed to read the last part to clam myself down.

I did retry the polar seal on a small area of the boot lid but no joy… I’m leaning towards just putting it to the back of my mind and hoping it comes out in the next wash in a months time.
The longer you leave water marks, especially in the summer with stronger and more frequent sun, the harder they are to remove.

I did a lot of research on the subject as I needed to get rid of them before I sold my last car.
 

Somex

Model 3 SR+ in a whiter shade of pale
Mar 25, 2021
205
134
UK
Claybar and quick detailer or a dedicated water spot remover such as Meguires.

For a home remedy, try a small bit of vinegar on a micro fibre cloth.

Don't worry, they won't be permanent but you may need to buy a product to remove them.
Where I live it’s easier to pay the many very well organised groups who provide such a fast efficient service for as little as a fiver. That means the car is washed, “leathered” and dried off before any such spots have chance to form.
One of the benefits of living in a large conurbation I guess.😁
 
Last edited by a moderator:

JS77

Member
Nov 24, 2019
141
88
England
The longer you leave water marks, especially in the summer with stronger and more frequent sun, the harder they are to remove.

I did a lot of research on the subject as I needed to get rid of them before I sold my last car.
Can I ask which method you used to remove them?
 

JS77

Member
Nov 24, 2019
141
88
England
Where I live it’s easier to pay the many very well organised groups who provide such a fast efficient service for as little as a fiver. That means the car is washed, “leathered” and dried off before any such spots have chance to form.
One of the benefits of living in a large conurbation I guess.😁
The issue is I recall reading other forum threads where going to one of the car hand washes resulted in swirls and scratches due to the amount of cars being washed with the same mitts etc so I thought I would do it myself at home… alas, I made it worse for myself 😖
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Somex

Model 3 SR+ in a whiter shade of pale
Mar 25, 2021
205
134
UK
The issue is I recall reading other forum threads where going to one of the car hand washes resulted in swirls and scratches due to the amount of cars being washed with the same mitts etc so I thought I would do it myself at home… alas, I made it worse for myself 😖
Sorry this made it worse for you.
Of course, should you choose to put your car in other people’s hands, you must satisfy yourself their hands are ones that you are happy to trust.
thus of course includes your own hands!😁
 

JS77

Member
Nov 24, 2019
141
88
England
Leave it until late this evening when it's a bit cooler and the sun's just going down, then get out there and get them off asap.
Yeah, but how? Do you mean to do another wash? (I don’t have any white vinegar or the spot removal spray suggested above.

It’s mainly the bonnet, just incredibly stubborn and not budging 😖
 

Stuart1714

Member
May 27, 2020
161
99
Ashton-in-Makerfield
Can I ask which method you used to remove them?
I used Gtechniq H9 Water Spot remover, only about £11-12.

You basically wash the car, without polar seal as it may add an extra layer, and wipe the car with some microfibre cloths with the remover on it In small sections, or if it’s just the bonnet, just that.

When you’ve finished, you need to also rinse it or wash it again as it’s slightly acidic so you don’t want to leave it on.

The paintwork needs to be cool as well. As others have said, it’s not a good idea to clean cars in the sun. You can get filters to take the hardness out of the water for the final rinse so you can let it dry naturally if you want to.

If you are anywhere near the NW, you are welcome to use some of mine, but not until next weekend as I’m self isolating.

I did the same as you with my last car and started to clean it myself, I had a few mishaps along the way but once you’ve found a routine that suits you, I’m sure it will be fine.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: JS77

pgkevet

Active Member
Jul 1, 2019
1,439
1,248
mid wales
Yeah, but how? Do you mean to do another wash? (I don’t have any white vinegar or the spot removal spray suggested above.

It’s mainly the bonnet, just incredibly stubborn and not budging 😖
You could always try half a lemon or gherkin - or wait until it’s too dark to see them and drink alcohol....🤣
 

D.E.

Uncorked
Oct 12, 2016
764
985
Ann Arbor, MI
Thanks, I needed to read the last part to clam myself down.

I did retry the polar seal on a small area of the boot lid but no joy… I’m leaning towards just putting it to the back of my mind and hoping it comes out in the next wash in a months time.
The clay bar should be safe. Go with a name brand clay bar package, complete with spray lubricant, and if it was my Tesla, I’d only use a new clay bar, not one that had been used previously or on another car. The clay is supposed to remove the surface contaminants without abrading the clear. I’ve used clay bars and they works well, I have not used them for water spots though. If you touch a sandy or dirty area of the car or if you drop the clay bar, throw it away right then, don’t try to use it. If it gets grit in it it will scratch. I’d use it on a small area and make sure it works and gives you the finish you expect. The surface should be washed and clean before the clay bar is used. The general idea is that the clay bar is sticky. It slides over the paint but surface grub sticks to the bar and is lifted clean. I believe some clay bars can be minimally abrasive, that’s why I’d go with a name brand.

A clay bar should leave a slick absolutely clean surface.

It’s possible the droplet isn’t a calcium residue but an etch of the paint. If it is calcium, it will come off with a bit of diluted vinegar on a microfiber cloth. If it’s an etch it’ll need to be rubbed out. Mild machine rubbing compound applied by hand is very safe and will be effective if it is indeed an etch.

So I’d start with new microfiber and distilled water. If spots remain, then dilute vinegar and apply with microfiber, rub then rinse right away. Next I’d use a new clay bar. If spots remain I’d then go with a very mild rubbing compound, they’re usually labeled ”polish” but they are still abrasive, absolutely minimally abrasive but abrasive nonetheless. It can be confusing, some manufacturers will label wax products ”polish”. Some manufacturers make a “cleaner wax”, those contain an abrasive as well so I wouldn’t use those unless you have experience with that particular product. At any point you can try an automotive wax or a sealant and see if the spots remain.

I’m just an owner, I don’t do paint for a living, so weigh this against others advice. If there are paint professionals, I invite them to weigh in. If you see something that needs changing jump right in. The important thing here is accurate information. But if you do jump in to alter, correct, or adjust what I’ve said, please back it up with an explanation.

The thing that troubles me a little is the Polar Seal admonition about applying to the windshield. Does it damage the glass, does it result in a coating that affects seeing, does it cause the wipers to chatter, it would be nice to know exactly what they are thinking.

Good luck.
 

init6

Member
Oct 16, 2020
528
302
Scotland
Clay bars can leave marring on your paintwork. If you can't wash a car without incident (sorry :)) then I'd not rush into clay barring.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top