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How to: Prevent and Fix Water Spotting in Car Paint

How can I fix the white-colored, circular spots in my car paint?

After you paint your car, you see light or white, circular spots, which is a sign of water spotting. It can be fixed by polishing with a damp cloth or compound. Severe spotting may require sanding, then applying a compound and polishing.

In this article, I’ll answer common questions about how to prevent water spotting and eliminate it when it happens.

  • What is water spotting?
  • What causes water spotting?
  • How can I repair a surface that has water spotting?
  • How do I prevent water spotting?

What is water spotting?

Water spotting, also called watermarking, are circles with raised edges or white spots that look like water droplets on car paint.

What causes water spotting?

Two things cause water spotting:

  1. You allowed water to come into contact with a finish that was not completely dry or cured.
  2. You washed the finish in direct sunlight.

How can I repair a surface that has water spotting?

Doing any of these things should remove water spotting from car paint:

  • Wipe the surface with a damp cloth, then polish.
  • Apply a compound and polish.
  • Sand smooth, using 1500-2000 grit sandpaper, then apply compound and polish to restore gloss.
  • For severe cases, sand and refinish.

How do I prevent water spotting?

Here are three things you can do to prevent water spotting your auto paint:

  • Do not allow water to come into contact with a newly painted finish.
  • If a new finish does get wet, dry it immediately with a soft cloth.
  • Wash new finishes in the shade and wipe dry.

Following these tips will help you prevent water spotting on car paint.