There is no easy way to say this, so here it goes -- bird shit sucks. It always seems that a bird will locate and target your freshly washed, waxed, and detailed ride when you least expect it. With Murphy’s Law withstanding, bird droppings can cause a significant amount of damage to paint that is unprotected.
Car owners today have several ways of applying paint protection products that reduce the potential of harmful acids produced by bird poop from penetrating the clear coating. But how good are ceramic coatings? Well, that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
In the information below, we’ll explain the birds and bees of the excrement of Aves. No, we’re not going to scientifically break down the chemical formula of bird shit – but we’ll dig deeper than any previous article (and yes, there will be a ton of subliminal references to crap).
So, if you’re ready to learn how ceramic coatings prevent damage from bird droppings – let’s get going.
How Bird Droppings Can Damage Your Car
Most of us understand that bird droppings and other animal byproducts are circulated through their digestive systems. And we also understand from Junior High School (Middle School or Grade 7 for those of our Canadian buddies) Biology classes, that most animal’s digestive systems use acidic enzymes to break down food.
Well, birds just have to be different.
Birds don’t have a bladder since they don’t store liquid waste. They pass the ‘urine’ into their common digestive chamber called the cloaca, which contains all reproductive by-products as well. As such, when they ‘drop the bomb on your ride’ – the ‘stuff’ is combined with uric acid crystals, and a ton of digestive waste such as seeds, and insect guts.
Bird droppings acidic level can range from a pH of 3.5 to 4.5 – which is the point where it starts to burn paint and clear coatings. This is why it leaves a stain when it’s left on the paint or other surfaces for too long.
How Quickly Do Bird Droppings Cause Damage?
So, I searched high and low across the interwebs and even called a buddy of mine who is an avid bird lover to try to find the answer to this question. And guess what – I came up blank. However, based on the pH information about bird droppings above, this type of acidity can instantly begin to eat away at clear coatings or other non-protected surfaces.
This is why you should wash it off immediately or wipe it off with a microfiber cloth you don’t mind throwing away.
How to Protect Your Car from Bird Droppings
Whether you park under a tree, or frequent city parks occasionally, nobody is 100% safe from the potential bird turd. With that said, car owners have a few options to consider. First, they can travel with a portable pop-up canopy (not practical), only park in garages (not likely), or protect their vehicle’s surface area with a hydrophobic protectant.
So, what’s this hydrophobic stuff? Glad you asked.
Hydrophobic refers to a surface ability to repel water. But it also has a lot to do with repelling sticky stuff (like bird crap). Bird droppings stick to a surface because they are comprised of acids, and the waste by-product of digested worms, bugs, and other crap that birds eat. When they dry, the bird waste hardens and becomes quite difficult to remove.
However, the acids found in bird shit and bug gut splatters can penetrate the clear coat of paint, leave stains and eventually cause paint damage.
That leads us to the next question.
What Options Do You Have to Protect Car Paint from Bird Poop?
Bird crap doesn’t just splatter on paint. It can hit windshields, side-view mirrors made of hard plastic, headlights, and even wheels. Due to the diversity of bird shit distribution methods, car owners have to be careful about the type of paint protection products they use to protect their vehicle surface.
For example, if they use a vinyl wrap, it might protect the paint, but it would cause visibility issues if applied to the windshield.
Noted below is a list of common candidates that do a good job of protecting the surface of vehicle components from the damage caused by bird droppings.
Natural Carnauba Car Wax
Back in the old days, carnauba wax was the shit. It’s a byproduct of a palm tree that grows in Brazil. As the tree is exposed to sunlight, it secretes a natural wax substance, that hardens on the leaf to protect it from UV rays.
So essentially, natural carnauba waxes are palm tree excrement.
OK, so that’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s factually accurate. Natural carnauba wax is an exceptional product that many of us hardcore car dudes have used for years. Once it’s applied, it creates a hard shell of protection that sits on top of the clear coat that protects it from UV rays, and also bird droppings.
Natural car wax gives car owners multiple benefits.
- It’s very simple to use
- It’s the cheapest car paint protection product
- You can use it with polish or paint sealant products for enhancing shine and protection
- Great against excessive heat
- Simple to remove and reapply
On the flip-side, there are some drawbacks to consider.
- Doesn’t last more than six weeks in most cases
- Traps dirt between layers
- Not a great product for protection against chemicals
- Offers minimal protection due to short lifespan
If you’re looking to elevate your bird crap protection game, step up to paint sealants. This is a lab-created, synthetic car wax product, that works similar to the natural stuff, but can last up to a year. It’s applied like car wax and is usually in a liquid form.
There are a few benefits to using paint sealants including:
- Is easy to use and apply
- Works well with car polish
- Enhances the gloss-effect of paint when mixed with polish products when applied by a detailer
A paint sealant isn’t without some second thought considerations -- either.
- Amplifies paint damage underneath
- Needs more prep work than car wax
- Difficult to remove
- Is a mid-range paint protection product
If you’re looking for a longer-lasting bird poop blocker – the ceramic coating is the way to go. A nanoceramic coating is a polymer, synthetic blend of silica dioxide (SiO2) and other special ingredients.
When it’s applied to a porous surface, it fills in those microscopic peaks and valleys to create an exceptionally flat and smooth surface. Once it cures, it can provide superior protection for three to sometimes five years in some cases.
There are two options of ceramic coatings for car owners – ceramic pro grade stuff (which is applied by certified installation centers only) or DIY ceramic coatings. In the professional ceramic coating segment, all of the products are quite similar. With the DIY coatings, there are some high-quality products and really inferior products – so buyer beware.
Here is a list of benefits that is long and distinguished.
- Exceptional durability: So, we know that automotive waxes last about 6 -- weeks, and a paint sealant has an expectancy up to a year (with the good stuff). What about a nanocoating? Well -- it can range from 2 years to a ‘lifetime’. The pro-grade stuff is sold in packages -- that sometimes claim to have lifetime coverage. However, if you want to play it safe, a good DIY coating will last from 3 to 5 years.
- Highly chemical resistance: Ceramic coatings secret ingredient is liquid-quartz (not to be confused with Liquid Schwartz). It’s called SiO2, and it bonds to the surface and provides a sacrificial layer that is resistant to many chemicals and natural-occurring acids -- like bird droppings.
- Great Scratch Resistance: When the coating cures, it is incredibly hard. This helps deliver great scratch resistance and protects against UV rays.
- Get Rid of the Wax: After you apply a ceramic coating, there is no need for waxes. In fact, applying wax removes a lot of the hydrophobic properties.
- Incredible water resistance: Speaking of hydrophobic -- what does that mean? Well, it means being able to repel or protect from water. However, it also means that the surface is very slippery, making it difficult for dirt, dust, and yes -- sticky bird turds to bond to your paint.
Now the Wrath of Cons (Kahn)
- Prep Work is Needed: To provide exceptional gloss and shine, you need to make sure that the surface is as clean and without damage. Ceramic coatings do not FIX paint -- it amplifies and protects what’s below. So, if you have scratching or swirl marks, they will be enhanced -- not blocked.
- Highlight Damage: A ceramic coating will enhance the damage underneath. To resolve this, paint correction -- prior to application is recommended. This can be difficult for many to complete themselves.
- Difficult to Remove: Finally, if you decide you want this stuff off your car -- for whatever reason, it is hard to remove without using a cutting compound and high-speed orbital polisher.
Coatings like Armor Shield IX are not intended to make the car fireproof. It doesn’t block rocks like a lightsaber, and it does not heal itself like a PPF. It protects the paint from normal, everyday contaminants that slowly break down the clear coating -- like bird droppings.
What is the Best Kind of Protection for Your Car from Bird Droppings?
The concept of protecting your car from bird droppings is two-fold. First, you want to ensure that the acids and other contaminants don’t cause damage to the surface which can include stains. If the bird crap remains on the vehicle for extended periods, it can eat into the clear coating and damage paint permanently.
Second, you want to find a protective layer product that makes it easier to remove bird droppings. Like we addressed above, bird shit is comprised of really sticky and toxic contaminants. When it dries, it creates a hard shell that bonds to surfaces like paint, glass, and plastic. This makes it difficult to keep your ride clean.
With that said, you want to find a product that provides a hard layer of protection, can be used on all surfaces, is transparent (so it doesn’t impact visibility on glass), and makes it easy to remove. Of the paint protection products listed above, ceramic coatings are the clear winners.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “Hey Tim, how come you didn’t list PPF as one of the products to protect against bird droppings.” Well, the reason I omitted it from the list is that it does a great job of protecting the surface and is really good in the UV protection department but isn’t exceptional in the removal of sticky stuff.
Bird crap can stick to PPF easier than car wax, paint sealants, or ceramic coatings. Now, if you want to apply a PPF then add a ceramic coating on top, you’ll have the ultimate bird crap protection system.
How Can a Ceramic Coating Protect Against Bird Droppings?
Ok, so in the interest of fair reporting, it’s not like a ceramic coating is going to provide an invisible shield of anti-bird poop protection. If a bird chooses your ride to take a fresh dump, it’s gonna land on the vehicle. However, it can block the acids found in bird crap from seeping into the paint and make it less likely for the bird droppings to stick.
This video will explain how ceramic coatings like Armor Shield IX work to protect against multiple contaminants like bird droppings.
The key to the longevity of a ceramic coating is proper routine maintenance. For a product like a high-quality DIY ceramic coating like Armor Shield IX, this means hand washing your vehicle at least every two weeks.
The majority of paint damage with bird droppings occurs when it’s left on the vehicle for extended periods. It’s best to simply spray your ceramic coated surface with water, and the bird droppings should slide right off.
Wrapping it Up
The most important bit of information that should be gathered from this article is that bird droppings are 100% unavoidable. It is one of those random acts that provides validity to the infamous bumper sticker “Shit Happens”. However, if you take the proactive step of washing the bird droppings off your vehicle as soon as it happens, you’ll be less likely to experience excessive damage.
Those who are looking to protect their rides and are willing to put in a little elbow grease, a DIY ceramic coating like Armor Shield IX can be applied to your paint, wheels, mirrors, windshields, headlights, plastic trim and more.