Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Waterspots add character to your cars paint! As an added bonus they add an undeniable flare to your glass as well. I've heard it said that everything is subjective, perhaps there is someone out there that enjoys the look of waterspots etched into their clearcoat? You know, like a face only a mother could love? Then again maybe not...
Waterspots On Glass A Face Only A Mother Could Love Waterspots On Paint
In the auto detailing world waterspots are about as nightmarish as that neighborhood cat that likes too sharpen her claws on your trunk lid. Yikes! Sprinkler water, detailing in direct sunlight & acid rain are usually the primary causes of etched in waterspots. But why? Why is my freak'n water doing this to one of my most beloved investments? 3 letters, TDS. When water is allowed to dry on a painted surface or glass the TDS's found in the water will stain your paint & glass. If not addressed immediately a temporary waterspot can turn into an etched in waterspot that can only be corrected with a claybar & D.A buffer.
Whether your a professional Auto Detailer or a DIYer car enthusiast you've more then likely been personally acquainted with the supervillian known as "waterspot" now its time to meet the heros that will help you vanquish the possibility of waterspots for good!
Optimum No Rinse, more commonly refereed to as ONR, when diluted properly & used as a drying aid/quick detailer will lay a light layer of protection onto your car as you dry it & prevent waterspots from forming onto your paint & glass. Essentially what you will need to do is grab one of those old 16oz spray bottles you have laying around & fill it with 1oz of ONR then fill the rest of the bottle up with distilled or purified water. Next you shake up the contents & your done! You've now created an elixir that you can spray on your painted surfaces & glass while they are still wet that will protect you from waterspots by adding a light layer of hydrophobic properties while you dry.
Another method to assure virtually no waterspots is to use deionized water when washing your car. Deionized water in a nutshell is purified water that has had all of the minerals removed from it by being filtered through a special resin that removes all of the TDS's we talked about earlier. 100% deionized water will have a TDS level of 0 PPM. These systems can be costly but well worth the investment if you truly want to eliminate all chances of water spots. Deionized water can be left to dry & evaporate on any surface leaving no spots behind.
But what if its to late for preventive measures? If the damage has already been done dont fret, there are ways to deal with it. You'll need a D.A buffer, the Rupes shown above is top of the line but just about any buffer can achieve waterspot removal, if that doesnt scare you away you will also need cutting/polishing pads along with compounds, polishes & possibly a specialty glass polish if your glass is in really bad shape.
Although buffing is an advanced topic in the auto detailing world, removing waterspots is an easy enough task for just about anyone to accomplish, just remember there is always a risk of burning through your clearcoat & ending up in a worse situation then you started with, this is especially true if you dont have a paint meter to help you determine if it is safe to buff or not. With that being said always remember to start with the least aggressive pad & quality abrasives that you can get your hands on then progressively move up from there if you do not get the desired results.
In regards to removing defects from glass you want to bear in mind that although there is no clearcoat to burn through it can be warped if to much heat is concentrated in a certain area so always remember to check the temperature of the glass in between section passes.
As usual I hope you found this read entertaining & educational. If there is a question that was birth from reading this article or if are local to us & you would like one of our pros to go take a look at your vehicle fill out this form. We are always happy to give advice and help out when we can.
ONR dilution ratios made easy for us as a quick detailer/drying aid:
16oz Bottle= 1oz ONR/15oz Water
32oz Bottle= 2oz ONR/30oz Water
1 Gallon= 8oz ONR/120oz Water