Every summer we're stuck with the same dilemma. We can park the car out in the sun, which will inevitably will lead to scorching hot interior temperatures. The alternative is to park under a shady tree, where birds will undoubtedly poop all over our freshly washed ride. We usually opt for the sun out of auto vanity, but at least we don't have to worry about bird poop messing with the paint.

We've heard that acid from the bird droppings is the reason for the doo-doo perforations, but a study by UK car care experts Autoglym reveals that the excrement is only part of the problem. The real culprit is the sun, which expands and warms the paint on your vehicle. When the sun hits that bird poop, the poo hardens at the same time the paint expands. When the sun sets and the vehicle cools, the paint then contracts and forms itself around the hardened crap.

If a bird does his or her business on your vehicle, the best thing to do is remove it, and fast. A moist cloth will do the trick in most instances, or if you're not into close encounters of the rectal kind, you could also hit the car wash. We would go into more detail, but we're thinking that's enough excrement talk for one day. You can, however, hit the jump for more detail via the Autoglym press release.
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New research from Autoglym, the UK's leading car care experts, suggests that the familiar sight of car bodywork 'etched' by bird droppings are not the result of any corrosive property in the deposit, as is commonly believed. In fact, damage instead results from the paint lacquer contracting upon cooling and moulding to the uneven texture of the hardened deposit.

As paint lacquer warms – in the direct summer sunshine for example – it softens and expands. At the same time, that heat dries and hardens any bird droppings on the surface. Autoglym's researchers discovered that as the paint lacquer cools, overnight for example, it contracts, hardens and moulds around the texture of the bird dropping. To the naked eye, this moulding at a microscopic level appears as dulled or etched paintwork. The light's reflection is interrupted by the imperfect surface, unlike the undamaged paint surrounding it which gives a clearer reflection.

Autoglym's tests with strongly acidic, neutral and strongly alkali bird dropping substitutes highlighted negligible differences in the damage caused. However, differences in paint damage were noted when the substitute bird deposits had varying degrees of grain-to-liquid content. A grainier texture caused greater light distortion (dullness) when the paint moulded around it.

Wax and polish treatments – that protect against chemical attack from acid raid and UV sun damage, for example – provide limited protection from the paint moulding to bird droppings, although they will make them easier to remove. The longer the deposit remains on the bodywork, and the higher the temperatures, the harder the dried deposit will be, and the greater the propensity for the paint lacquer to mould to it as it cools. Bird dropping damage can only be prevented by motorists remaining vigilant and removing the deposit as soon as possible.

Autoglym's has outlined some tips for minimising the risk of damage from bird droppings:

- Remove the deposit at the earliest opportunity

- Motorists should use a moist cloth – Autoglym's Bird Dropping Wipes are ideal – to gently lift the deposit from the surface

- If the deposit is dry or doesn't lift easily, place a moist cloth over it for ten minutes to soften the deposit

- Dispose of any cloth or wipe used to remove bird droppings immediately and carefully wash your hands, as bird lime can harbour diseases

Paul Caller, CEO of Autoglym, said: "It's a great shame when an otherwise fabulous-looking car is blighted with a tell-tale patch of dull paint. As a result of this new research by our R&D team in Letchworth, we now understand why bird droppings are a frighteningly potent hazard to bodywork.

"As bird droppings become ever more prevalent through spring and into summer, motorists must be extremely vigilant to avoid permanent damage, especially those who park their cars under trees at home or at work. The only way to prevent the paint becoming noticeably tarnished is to carefully remove deposits as swiftly as possible."

Autoglym's Bird Dropping Wipes (RRP £5.25) – in a handy compact pack to keep in the car – are impregnated with a cleansing formulation to remove bird droppings quickly and safely.

More information about Autoglym's range of premium vehicle-care products, and details of nearby retailers, is available at www.autoglym.com or by calling 01462 677766.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I might be a bit extreme, but I make sure to inspect my car every night when it is in for good, making sure there is no damage, unusual dirt, or bird poo on it. I also make sure it is trash free. I guess there is a reason my friends think my 4 year old car is still brand new.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Your action may be extreme, but it will definitely give your car's finish extreme longevity. I only wish I could get my wife to be as meticulous as you.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think this is the drive thru at KFC
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow... must have a lot of bird taco bells in the area, eh?
      Prompt Pest Control
      • 1 Year Ago
      Pest bird infestation can result in property damage, health hazards, liability, product contamination and disease. Choose Prompt bird control products to eliminate pest birds – AND SAVE! www.promptpest.com/sonic-bird-repellent.html
      • 4 Years Ago
      I see birds share the same distaste for the Camry that I do. Way to go, winged buddies! Excellent aim!
        • 4 Years Ago
        If only we could express our displeasure so succinctly....
        • 4 Years Ago
        longducdong ...you got my Thumbs Up; I actually wanted to say that it looks better with all the bird $hit than without, but I have to admit your comment was a better one!!!
          • 4 Years Ago
          Now if someone could train pigeons to hang out at toyota dealerships that would be awesome.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Leave it to AB to feed the Toyota-hating trolls. :p
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well clearly its a Sh*tty car. Huh, get it?
      ZXW SES
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a sh*tty article, thanks Autoblog
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ZXW SES
        Again, you're an idiot. You'd think that the topic of article having the words 'bird poo' in it would indicate that it's something you may not want to read while eating. Yet you read it anyway. How ignorant can you be?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ZXW SES
        Wasn't all bad, man. We learned why poop is bad (themal considerations) which is valuable. If a bird ***** on my car at 10 AM I know that I have until about 2-3 pm (when it starts cooling off) to clean it. This could be the difference between going to work late (to get the poop off asap) and getting there on time and just sacrificing lunch.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think the photo image is very symbolic of what is happening to toyota presently...they should have parked the honda from the previous article next to it for a more accurate representation of the japanese car indusrty's current status
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah good thing I'm not eating... not.
      Ron Ayotte
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have Meguiar's Final Inspection detailing spray and other car cleaning solutions and microfiber towels in all thee of my vehicles for just such an event.
      • 4 Years Ago
      one) Enamel does not have this problem. It looks better and can withstand more abuse longer than the Plastic paints used today. two) Never park under a tree that is isolated or is known to be a bird toilet. Check the ground. If has any visible concentration of bird dropping under it, DO NOT PARK THERE.
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