Car Exterior Stained

sable_caNovember 18, 2006

There is a stain on the right side of our car's exterior, not absolutely sure of what it is, but I need to know what to use to clean it without damaging the finish.

I think that it's some kind of very heavy pollen, acquired when I accidentally brushed some bushes while trying to park in a very crowded lot yesterday. It's bright yellow and in long low streaks along the length of both doors. I was on my way to a doctor's appt. and what with the doc and all, I immediately forgot about the incident. We only noticed the stain this morning.

Our car is a 2000 Mercury Sable (and is only partly the reason for my username, lol), and the finish is still perfect. Am I correct in assuming that it would not be good to use anything with an abrasive, not even SoftScrub?

TIA for any advice.

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I have found liquid car cleaner wax and a random orbit electric polisher to work easiest for me for this kind of thing. If that doesn't do it, polishing compound will. If you use that stuff, go with the white 'lite' kind as opposed to the red or brown 'heavy' kind. I bet the cleaner wax will take care of it. I've used several brands such as turtle wax and maguiars. All seem about the same to me.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 7:49PM
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Gary - thank you. However, the news is worse. We retraced my "carsteps" later today. What I sideswiped were not shrubs, it was a low concrete abutment with a painted yellow line. Oddly, the car doesn't look damaged except for the smears of paint. Underneath the paint, though, it's probably scratched, no? Any suggestions? Is the car dealer the best place to take it? DH has been remarkably calm, but we'll be very unhappy if this is not fixable.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 12:13AM
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Oh-boy! Brushed concrete, did we? That must have made a scraping sound.

When you retraced your steps and found the scraped concrete with yellow paint, did you happen to notice if any of your car's paint transferred to the concrete? If it did, then you have a big ole paint scape right through the top layer of paint.

But if you were ever so lucky and had a slight swipe, maybe just enough to rub off some yellow paint to you car, it should clean off with light scrubbing with a soft cloth and some cleaner. First, try automotove wash soap and water. If more agression is needed, try to lift the yellow paint by gently rubbing it with vaseline. If the vaseline does not work, wash it off with soap and water. Then, try gently rubbing the yellow paint with ordianry automotive wax/polish. Let dry then buff. If that does not work, I'm out of gentle options. It may need re-painting. See an auto body shop.

I'm hoping that you have a clear coat over the paint and that the clear coat was not penetrated. If you don't have a clear coat, you likely have a scratch in you paint. At best, there will be a gouge in the clear coat and that may show even after thorough cleaning. However, it may be possible to buff out a scratch in the clear coat.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 3:17AM
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If it were me, I still try what I said the first time. Use a random orbit polisher and use cleaner wax which is just car wax with a little rubbing compound in it already. If that's not enough, try white polishing compound. That's just fine grit polishing compound as found in the cleaner wax only there's no wax. If you use that stuff, wax it afterwards. If you don't want to do it yourself, take it to a detail shop and let them take a look. If buffing won't fix it, then I'm afraid you'll have to take it to a body shop if it still bugs you that much. If that's the case, you might want to turn it into your insurance company. Paint work can get pretty spendy these days. jmo

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 10:54AM
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sight unseen, I believe gary__'s answer is as good as it gets.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 3:04PM
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I think both answers are great, but that JemDandy's is a little easier on the finish..This may end up in a paint shop anyway; but I'd say it is better to remove 98% of the damage and just live with the other 2%..

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 1:22PM
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