Under certain lighting conditions, when viewing your car’s paint from a slight angle, you may see irregularly shaped spots. They vary from 1/4″ to about an inch in diameter. If there is no whitish color on the edges of these “craters” they are probably acid rain damage. Acid Rain can permanently etch little water spots in your paint, chrome and windshields! It’s getting worse every year and is now common in all parts of the world that has rainfall. The paint has actually been removed and there is now a slight depression. This plays havoc with total smoothness and overall shine.
Many think they could not get acid rain because they don’t live near industrial areas. Smoke and pollutants from factories all over the world go up into the atmosphere and intermingle with clouds. By the time those clouds drop their sulfuric acid laced rain droplets, they may have moved 5,000 to 10,000 miles away from the original pollution source. There is really no way to get away from acid rainfall unless you move to an area that never gets rain!
If you do have acid rain damage, there is not much you can do to remove it other than a polishing with a fine polish that will reduce the appearance by smoothing the sharper edges of the ‘craters’.
Even if you are able to remove the acid rain damage through extensive polishing, another rainstorm with acid rain will cause similar damage within a matter of a few hours.
Auto paints are not as durable as they were in the 1950’s. The EPA has forced manufacturers of paints to remove the VOCs ( volatile organic compounds) such as lead. Without many of those VOCs the paints are now more susceptible to damage from acid rain. Why do you think new car dealers show their new autos outdoors with white plastic films on the hood, roof and trunk. That film protects the paint from acid rain. Once removed that paint can be damaged with the first rainfall full of acid.
Frequent waxing, at least once a month will give protection but not total prevention. When your car gets rained on, when the rainfall stops, quickly hose off the car or dry it so the acid won’t get a chance to attack the paint. Only abrasive polish can possibly reduce the terrible appearance of acid rain damage. If the etching is deep, (most is) there is a delicate balancing act between reducing the appearance of these spots and removing too much good paint.