The effects of sunscreen on Volkswagen/Audi paintwork

A couple of years ago, my wife and I bought a brand new Volkswagen Golf.  We’d been happy with our previous VWs (a Mk2 and two Mk4 Golfs, a 2004 Polo and a 2005 Passat) so were more than happy to purchase a Mk5 Golf 1.9TDI Match (in Blue Graphite Metallic) as a family runaround.  Fast forward around a year and we were slightly less pleased with our purchase…

…The car had started to develop white marks on the paintwork.  Each time they were polished out, they came back.  Strangely, some of them looked like little handprints and, when I asked the dealer about them, they instantly recognised the problem.  “That’s sunscreen”, they said, “and it’s not covered by the warranty”.

Sunscreen?! Yep. It seems that the modern (water-based) paints are not as hard as the nitro-cellulose or isocyanate paints used on older cars and that they are susceptible to damage from titanium dioxide – an ingredient found in many sun protection products, including the sunscreen we had applied regularly to our young children.

With just a few thousand miles on the clock, I wasn’t taking no for an answer, but we decided to use a little of the motor industry’s sexism to our advantage too as, from this point on, the negotiations weren’t with me but with Mrs W. instead!  After escalating the issue to an appropriate level within the dealership, it was agreed that the car would go into the bodyshop and the offending panels would be machine polished, as a gesture of goodwill.  Even though the job took much longer than it should (most of the panels on the rear and sides of the car were affected – have you ever tried keeping toddlers from plastering their hands on a car?) they dealer was true to their word and the car was returned to us in as new condition.

Damage caused by sunscreen coming into contact with car paintworkWhen I asked if this was a regular issue, Volkswagen told me that it wasn’t (although, later, an Audi dealer was a little more truthful, admitting that it happens a lot with modern VW-Audi paints and that the resolution is usually a machine polish – we also have friends with similar marks on their silver Bora).  Had it been necessary, I would have kept on pushing until the car was completely resprayed (I might have settled with a compromise agreement to pay for the materials but not the labour) but, as it happens, the problem seems to have been resolved, with just one small area of damage still visible.

We were lucky.  With just a few thousand miles on the clock, it was difficult for Volkswagen to suggest this was “normal”.  If the car had been used a little more, we might have been seeking legal advice to see if we were entitled to a return under the Sale of Goods Act (it is a family car after all, and blemishes as a result of contact with sunscreen might question its fitness for purpose) but I frankly wouldn’t fancy our chances at suing Nivea et al. for damages because their products don’t carry a warning that they may damage car paintwork!

Needless to say, these days we’re ultra-careful to wipe our childrens’ hands with wet wipes after applying sunscreen…

[I waited a while before publishing this because a) I wanted to be sure we had resolved the issue and b) it's not the normal sort of content for this blog. As a result, the events in this post are written as I remember them; however it's entirely possible that there may be some minor errors as part of the effect of time on my memory]

[Update - 5 September 2012: Two years after writing this post and I'm sorry to say that fingermarks are back again. It seems that the long term damage of the sunscreen goes deeper than a polish can deal with and our choice is either to accept the damage (on our now four-year-old car), or respray.]

66 Comments

  • Monday 20 September 2010 - 11:20 | Permalink


    Well, well, well! The rear door on my wife’s Astra had an unsightly hand print on it for a couple of years. I tried several times to get rid of it but to no effect.

    Only once she’d had a go at turning it into a Corsa and it spent a couple of weeks in the local bodyshop did it get rectified but I never found out how or what the source of the hand print was.

    Good find, Mark!

  • Monday 20 September 2010 - 11:24 | Permalink


    Steve, Your comment about turning an Astra into a Corsa did make me chuckle :-) Unfortunately, the marks are returning on one of the doors… think it’s new marks rather than old ones coming back though… seems that, however hard you try, it’s difficult to keep small people’s hand prints off cars (and don’t get me started on the hairline scratch that’s appeared on the side of mine at about scooter handlebar height…)

  • Yvonne Reekie
    Wednesday 22 September 2010 - 18:49 | Permalink


    Hi there was in my dealership today with a similar problem and the damage to my car is now over five panels, some of the prints are quite large and there are also strange patches. The paint specialist who was female and frankly quite rude did not offer me any solution other than to pay VW to buff it out and they would not guarantee that it would not return. Any ideas? Yvonne Reekie

  • Wednesday 22 September 2010 - 18:58 | Permalink


    Hi Yvonne – all I can suggest it to try another dealership to see if they are more helpful. We were lucky that our car was nearly new and low mileage – if yours is a bit older you might struggle. Persistence (and being prepared to accept a reasonable offer, rather than holding out for a full respray!) would be the best I could recommend.

  • rcw88
    Monday 27 September 2010 - 17:11 | Permalink


    Mark, If its Titanium Dioxide (TiO2), then practically anything that is white and man made these days contains TiO2, it is the generic white ‘colourant /pigment’ used to replace PbO, or lead oxide, previously used in paint to make it white. Which of course was banned along with lead in petrol, to be replaced with something much worse and carcinogenic to boot (benzene). There’s progress!

    So the ‘fitness for purpose’ issue will definitely arise over time.

    What happens with guano I wonder….

  • Tuesday 28 September 2010 - 10:41 | Permalink


    Rog – thats interesting… I hadn’t realised that titanium dioxide was a generic white pigment. This post certainly seems to have picked up some interest though… and I notice that @VWwarranty is following me on Twitter now so I doubt that my case was an isolated incident.

  • Ed Hornsey
    Thursday 30 September 2010 - 7:15 | Permalink


    Have you tried using a) WD40 to remove the oil based content? b) A citrus degreaser? c) A polish (with an abrasive in it) as opposed to a wax/sealant – which sounds like what was used when you went to the dealer.
    Water based car paints have been around and used since the ’60′s. Some car paints are more complex than others but when polishing you really are just addressing the clearcoat layer above the paint. These clearcoats have different properties depending on colour of car/manufacturer.
    Take a look at detailingworld.com for some advice.

  • Thursday 30 September 2010 - 7:34 | Permalink


    Thanks for the tips Ed… I may well try some of those things on the remaining marks…

  • VW Polo Owner
    Wednesday 24 November 2010 - 12:29 | Permalink


    We have had similar problems on most of the car panels on our 58 plate polo. I am also aware of a neighbour with a new VW Golf who has had the same issue. My wife took it to our local VW dealer who said they could try polish it out if we brough it back and left it with them. I did this and asked who would pay for the cost of it. They claimed to be totally unaware of it as an issue but said they will pick up the cost on this occasion. I asked about further occurances and they then said ” the 4 cars we have done the polish for before have not reported any re-occurance”. So much for being unaware of the issue. I can’t see that it won’t reoccur as hopefully next summer will mean more sunblock for the kids. Has anyone had any comment from VW Uk on this issue

  • Mark Gummer
    Tuesday 20 December 2011 - 0:28 | Permalink


    hi, just seen this searching via google we have a 60 plate vw fox that has developed these white marks over time, thing is they are delveloping now and it’s winter so the suntan lotion excuse doesnt wash with me, been in touch with the dealer who said he would take pictures and send them to vw, the salesman first blamed it mosture underneath the clear coat thing then there paint specialist brought out a folder which a couple of sheets with the same issue which vw blamed the use of hand lotion, mosturising cream or sun tan lotion, so we are waiting for them to take the pics and send off to vw, did you get this resolved after and did the marks come back after they machine polished it?

  • Tuesday 20 December 2011 - 13:44 | Permalink


    Mark, the polishing didn’t entirely remove the marks – they came back after a while, but no-where near as bad, and not on all panels (i.e. partial success). I also have a similar mark on my Audi A4 – will be interesting to see if the lease company remarks on it when the car goes back at the end of its lease in the spring…

    Based on the comments here, it seems that there are many products that use titanium dioxide as a white pigment so, even though high-factor sunscreen is likely to be the main cultripit in my house (with two young kids), there could be other products (hand creams, etc.) that have a similar affect.

    Fergus (VW Polo Owner), I don’t believe that VW are unaware as my local Audi dealer also recognised the issue and they use the same paints! They might not want to recognise it though (entirely separate view!). Certainly nothing official that I’ve found from Volkswagen UK though…

  • Kieran
    Thursday 22 December 2011 - 11:05 | Permalink


    I’ve got the same problem on my toyota, only I can’t blame the kids as the handprints look like mine!. I’ve been thinking about the problem for a while, I think the best bet is electrostatic cleaning to actually pull the particles out of the paint.

    I wouldn’t have thought a solvent would work as the titanium dioxide bond is fairly strong, and washing them off would be hard as the size of the particles allows them to sit in the hollows of the paint, the natural asperities of the paint probably sit higher than the tio2 particles. (I think I’m right in saying that the particles are at the nanoscale which is why they sit in the troughs in the paint.)

    Anyway If I find an electrostatic cleaner, and am brave enough to try it on my car, I’ll come back and let you know how I got on.

  • Bernie moore
    Tuesday 28 February 2012 - 8:32 | Permalink


    It’s amazing that for such a common problem that an easier inexpensive way hasn’t bn found to get rid of em!! I’ve a silver bora and it the same covered in the marks!! Really takes away from lovely look of car!! :(

  • Bernie moore
    Tuesday 28 February 2012 - 8:32 | Permalink


    And funnily enough Boone [no-one?] has bn anywhere near my car with sunscreen!!

  • Jessica
    Sunday 18 March 2012 - 15:02 | Permalink


    Read an article today about tin painted roofs having same issue from construction workers handprints. It was later found out to be nano-technology sunscreen which breaks down into the paint. It is not on the surface. Btw this means nano-technology sunscreens breakdown in our bloodstream. Something to think about the next time you lather yourself in sunscreen.

  • Monday 19 March 2012 - 23:55 | Permalink


    It certainly is… a choice of skin cancer, or nanotech chemicals in our blood… hmm… better just stay indoors ;-)

  • Christine
    Tuesday 19 June 2012 - 22:20 | Permalink


    My silver bora developed this issue last year and it has slowly got worse and worse. We had it machine polished which resolved the issue for a short while but it is just getting terrible and is in odd places on the car that can’t have been touched by the kids sun cream hands. It is now so bad I’m getting rid of the car!

  • Craig
    Monday 6 August 2012 - 14:46 | Permalink


    We have the same problem with our 2005 VW Polo, which we bought as a used car with 51,000 miles on the clock. white handprints and smudges have started to appear around the back doors and petrol cap of the car, your artical has given me the answer as to why! I was going to try taking it into VW to see if it was a fault with the paintwork and covered by their 10 year paintwork guarantee, but it seems as though its not worth the fight :(

  • Wednesday 8 August 2012 - 22:11 | Permalink


    It’s always worth a try – it should really be covered – getting kids to keep their paws off a family car is not really practical and this sort of reaction is not really fit for purpose/”of merchantable quality”…

  • IanS
    Wednesday 12 September 2012 - 11:34 | Permalink


    Hi, I’ve had 2 silver Audi A4′s in the last 3 years and both have suffered from exactly the same issue – white marks on the paintwork which are impossible to get rid of! I took the car back to the Audi garage the first time I noticed it happening as the car was only around 18 months old and they offered no solution, they mentioned that this was due to the paint on the car being water-based and said the marks were caused by people touching the car. I now have a different A4 (Avant) in silver and have exactly the same issue! It’s very difficult for a family of 5 to enter and exit the car without ever touching it!

  • Dave
    Thursday 13 September 2012 - 17:46 | Permalink


    It’s not just VW’s and Audi’s. I have a Toyota & Volvo both with the same problem

  • John Shove
    Wednesday 26 September 2012 - 14:18 | Permalink


    Hi Dave
    Very interested to hear the above comments. I have a 30 month old VW Golf estate with silver paint. I noticed finger marks on the side panels some 12 momths ago. I pointed out the situation to my local VW dealership and was told that “sunsceen” on hands was the cause and that it would easily be removed with a good polish. Some hope. I again confronted the garage some 6 weeks ago and received a similar awnser. I was told that a good machine polish would do the trick and they quoted £40. I fail to be amused as I do not use any sunscreen.
    VW did not seem to take the matter seriously.
    Any one had success with VW with them admitting to a problem with the paint?

  • Tuesday 2 October 2012 - 9:54 | Permalink


    did you get this sorted….titanium dioxide is possibly the main culprit as its in everything from sun cream to tooth paste….it binds to the oils and then holds on to them….which makes it stick to your paint….it c an be removed but you would be looking at the removal of a fair few microns of paint that is monitored under digital microscope to ensure total removal….a quick cheap body shop “mop” will not remove it…all they do is cover it up and leave your car in a worse state….if anyone would like any more information on machine polishing and the correct and safe way to resolve this issue then please contact russell@reflectology.co.uk

  • Craig
    Tuesday 16 October 2012 - 15:30 | Permalink


    Right – I’ve taken the bull by the horn and I am off to visit the VW paint specialist tomorrow for them to have a look at the paintwork. I am expecting to be fobbed off but won’t go down without a fight! Watch this space will update everyone after the inspection

  • Tuesday 16 October 2012 - 23:38 | Permalink


    Good luck :-)

  • Craig
    Monday 22 October 2012 - 9:09 | Permalink


    So i took the car to the paintwork specialist that VW outsouces warranty work to in my area. As soon as he saw the car he knew the marks and blemishes were caused by sun cream or moisturiser, and that VW would not honour the removal / repair of these under warranty because in their view it is not a defect with the paintwork but something in the suncream that reacts with the water based structure of the cars paintwork, and therefore our fault for having these ‘contaminents’ on our skin. The guy was very friendly and actually gave us some fast cut polish to take away and use on the car which he did show us removes some of the marks, though he admitted that the marks may well re-appear in time, and of course we have the issue of new marks appearing going forward as we use the car on a daily basis. I tried arguing my point that surely the car was not fit for purpose if you cannot touch it, and that in my opinion not all of the marks were caused by us touching the car but some even look like simple water marks where it has been effected by rain or something. But it seems as though I am flogging a dead horse and my only option is to express my disappointment by writing to VW UK, but not sure where that will get me! The only thing I can think of is to look in the car handbook, and if it doesnt say “dont touch the paintwork with hands protected by suncream” then we could surely have a case for taking this further as they must surely have to cover themselves like you would find on a bottle of bleach says “dont swallow” (sorry for the awful example!) Our second car is a VW golf that is 3 years older than the VW Polo that has the paintwork issue, and the Golf doesnt have a mark on it and we use that as much as the Polo. It seems as though car manufacturers switched the way they paint cars a few years ago so that now the paint is water based, so could this be why the issue has become more prevalent? Or maybe it is only metalic paint that has the issue? I am shocked that these big name manufacturers dont test paint for these kind of things before they sanction the use.

  • Craig
    Monday 22 October 2012 - 9:28 | Permalink


    I think what is called for here is the issue being brought to the attention of the wider public and press resulting in more pressure on the car manufacturers to do something about it! Mark can you re-run the story or escalate somehow within journalism circles?

  • Monday 22 October 2012 - 18:26 | Permalink


    Craig, I’ll see what I can do to promote this but most of my journalism contacts are in the IT space… let’s see…

    Thanks for letting us know how you got on though… and I’ll see what I can do re: publicity…

  • Neil
    Tuesday 6 November 2012 - 18:35 | Permalink


    We have a silver 2011 VW Golf which developed these ‘white marks’ last winter. Took it back to the dealership and was told by a young lady on the reception desk that it was either suncream.hand cream or Polish Car cleaners!!!You can imagine my response. It was winter, no suncream, we’ve never used hand carwash vendors and as for hand cream…don’t go there. The marks were across the drivers door and also in a small area on the bonnet, in my eyes not consistent with hand marks. The dealership offered a deep polish and for a week or so the car was back to showroom condition however all the marks have since returned. We have referred this to VW UK and had the vehicle examined initially by an independant VW dealership. The initial finding was that there was a problem with the undercoat ( a spraying issue ) however our vehicle has been further examined by an independant paint specialist at their request and some 8 months later we have been advised that the marks have been caused by either suncream or hand cream and therefore not covered by the warranty!!! I will continue to pursue this because I still dispute that I am responsible for the alleged hand/sun cream marks and am amazed that so many people are being ‘fobbed off’ in the same way. If VW know there is a problem why don’t they sort it out. I note with interest the ‘fit for purpose’ questions raised by others. In this day and age vehicles should be able to withstand such alleged incidents. As for general customer care in relation to this ….let’s just say I will not be purchasing a VW again.

  • Craig
    Thursday 8 November 2012 - 12:52 | Permalink


    Neil – I am with you! I am a very loyal VW customer, and am very much into the ‘VW scene’ but think that this whole saga is shocking and really makes me wonder what will happen when I am next looking into buying a car. I am suprised you got as far as someone linked to VW telling you that there was a spraying issue with the undercoat – even though they then went back on this – we had no such luck and were fobbed off with a nearly empty bottle of polish. Something has to be done!!!!!! Shall we all contact Watchdog on mass and see what they can dig up?!

  • Tuesday 20 November 2012 - 8:58 | Permalink


    Hi everyone

    I’ve read through all of these comments with great interest, the thing is my wife has a BMW X3 (mostly metallic silver!!!) which really is the ‘grandchildrens taxi’ and has so many of these stains covering it, it would be easier to completely cover it and register a colour change. I suppose the point here is that it obviously effects any make of car, not just VW’s, although I don’t expect a different response from my dealer than those that have been posted already.
    In all fairness I honestly think we are to blame and not our children, if you have seen my daughter slap this stuff on the kids in the summer and then not wash her hands you’d understand why, also the stains are in places that the kids couldn’t reach.
    One of the strange things about this is when the car is wet the stains are not visible, so the moral to that story is when buying a silver car make sure it’s dry!!! This of course is one of the frustration because when you’re cleaning it you don’t know if you’ve succeeded removing the stains until it’s dried out, and then inevitably find they’re still there.
    I’m going to try some tee-cut later on a ‘test’ area and see if it helps, although I don’t hold out any hope, I suppose the only thing left after that is to take it to a body shop or only use the car when it’s raining!!!!

    John

  • Tuesday 20 November 2012 - 23:19 | Permalink


    I take your point about clean hands John but even with great care since first noticing the marks, we’re still not managing to completely avoid creating them. Baby wipes help though – they get almost anything off anything so I always make sure that my wife and I wipe our hands with them after applying the kids’ sunscreen now!

    (It’s not just silver cars either – our Golf is dark green/blue and my old Audi was dark grey)

  • Hugh
    Thursday 29 November 2012 - 12:35 | Permalink


    hi Mark, what did your leasing company say when they took the Audi back? I’m going to be in the same position with my Passat CC next summer, which is equipped with a large hand-print on the boot-lid.

  • Friday 30 November 2012 - 13:54 | Permalink


    The marks on the Audi were fairly small (a couple of finger marks on a door pillar) and, thankfully, the lease company didn’t say anything – I guess it was within the acceptable wear and tear limits. My wife’s Golf would be a bigger problem if that were leased though – thankfully, it’s not, but that does mean it’s our problem…

  • Pingback: markwilson.it » How Volkswagen turned an angry customer into a happy one

  • Anonymous
    Thursday 3 January 2013 - 9:09 | Permalink


    one way to remove these mark is with WD 40. it removes the marks but its a temporary thing.
    did this on a seat ibiza and a polo , both silver coloured and it worked. you might have success with this method

  • Anonymous
    Saturday 5 January 2013 - 2:20 | Permalink


    Thanks for all the useful info in the blog post. I have an Audi A3 and I have small peoples hand marks on the bonnet and sides of my car. Its blue and makes the car look bad. Am going to try and machine polish them and make sure from now on my kids don’t touch the car – he he! Laura.

  • Don
    Monday 7 January 2013 - 17:41 | Permalink


    At least I am not alone then. I have a 2005 silver Bora which is plastered in these marks. I figured out myself that sunscreen was the issue, with identifiable hand prints, but I have also noticed that car mechanics are a cause after a service, such as wheel arches that are not usually touched. I guess it is a barrier cream or some such that they use. Wish there was an easy answer.

  • Denis
    Wednesday 9 January 2013 - 1:37 | Permalink


    2007 Skoda Octavia – Silver. Here in New Zealand we have to use sunscreen all year round. Lots of it in the summer! My beautiful new Otavia VRs paintwork was ruined within a few weeks of delivery. Tried all sorts of evil chemicals and abrasives. Most do nothing. Too agressive with the abrasives on one part has made the marks worse. I did find that wd40 would hide the marks for a few days – handy when I come to sell. Its five years old now so I’m less precious about it. I think car manufacturers should be sorting this out, I’m not encouraged to go buy a nice shiny new car if its going looks like crap after two weeks!

  • Don
    Tuesday 19 March 2013 - 20:00 | Permalink


    A ray of light. I saw a letter in the Daily Telegraph motoring section at Xmas regarding this very problem, and a solution provided by a coachworks. A polishing product called Farecla G3 Advanced Liquid Compound was recommended. I bought some on ebay (£14 for 0.5 litre – ouch). Apply a drop with a damp cloth and polish, then wipe off with a clean cloth. The result is immediate good improvement, although not always 100%. I guess a further application would help, but a) its too cold out there and b) I do not want to rub through the lacquer.

  • Tuesday 19 March 2013 - 21:38 | Permalink


    Aha – thanks for sharing Don. I think my wife saw the same article but I mislaid the information about what the magical product was. Would be interesting to hear a few more reports of experience with this product…

  • Rob Lees
    Saturday 6 April 2013 - 20:37 | Permalink


    Thanks very much for the above info, very interesting. I came to the suncream theory some time ago after seeing ‘small handprints’ around the rear doors of my 2003 Audi A6. Having cleaned and polished the car today, I became frustrated to see these marks in other areas on the car. Would like to hear some more reports of the experience with the afroementioned compound. Cheers Rob

  • Nick
    Monday 3 June 2013 - 21:24 | Permalink


    Not just VWs … i think it is all modern cars – my Mazda 6 has terrible handprints on the doors and boot. Quite unbelievable that the paintwork is so pathetic.

  • Anonymous
    Friday 28 June 2013 - 22:27 | Permalink


    Hiya….just to say ive had thesame problem with a silver vauxhall zafira and currently with a grey citroen c4 grand picasso.

  • Wednesday 3 July 2013 - 22:59 | Permalink


    I’ve got a dark grey Renault with the exact same problem as described here…

  • John McC
    Friday 12 July 2013 - 22:42 | Permalink


    2006 silver Toyota Yaris: same problem. T-cut helped a bit but the marks are still there.

  • Elaine Herve
    Saturday 3 August 2013 - 4:17 | Permalink


    I have a silver Suzuki van with sun screen hand prints over it, and it is my first new car – so sad to see these marks and little real hope to get them off. Interesting to read that it is the binders in the sun screen which is problem (as opposed to the type of paint used). Will be selecting my next sun screen more carefully.

  • Saturday 3 August 2013 - 13:01 | Permalink


    I guess, technically, it is the paint at issue (not resistant to a commonly used industrial whitener) but that’s not as easy to change as keeping sunscreen (toothpaste, etc.) away from the car (once you know about it).

    It is disappointing though as, like you, we don’t get to buy a new car too often and it’s effectively wrecked :-(

  • Anonymous
    Saturday 3 August 2013 - 13:06 | Permalink


    There is a way to eradicate this problem and others like acid etching and water spots etc, as well as the bird lime issue that could cause problems, having a hard coat paint protection applied could help on this particular issue, not the protection offered by dealerships though as this would last around 2-3 washes at best, professionally applied coatings as said can help towards keeping etching at bay.

  • Gerri
    Thursday 22 August 2013 - 21:09 | Permalink


    I have the same “handmarks” on my 2010 golf. I was also told by VW Repair centre that it was ‘probably caused by handcream or sunscreen! My daughters Golf suffers from the same little handprints! All have appeared since the arrival of our granddaughter and a corresponding increase in the use if sunscreen.

    Has this problem ever been aired on Top Gear , or any other high profile media outlet? Would that be a way to get the attention of the Manufacturers and maybe some positive action?

  • Stephen
    Saturday 24 August 2013 - 23:30 | Permalink


    My mk6 2010 silver Golf is also now covered with these hand and finger print white marks which started to appear about one or two years ago and seem to be getting worse. I will contact VW about this and use everyone else’s post to help to substantiate my complaint. My car looks a complete state and is only just over 3 years old. I will let everyone know how I get on. Thanks.

  • JohnShove
    Monday 26 August 2013 - 21:05 | Permalink


    Hi Stephen I have a 3 1/2 yo silver golf estate. My problems are just the same with hand prints all over the sides, the doors in particular. The only response from VW is to mechanically polish the paintwork at a charge of £45 a fee that they eventually agreed to waive. I had more help from a chap at Halfords who was able to give me guidance on how to deal carefully with the problem. I have done nothing yet. I feel that VW have ignored the problem and hope that we will all give up complaining. Some hope. This must surely be a widespread problem that needs a co-odinated approach.
    John

  • Wednesday 28 August 2013 - 10:23 | Permalink


    This has been bothering me for ages with our dark metallic blue Mondeo, and I’d never have imagined it would be sunscreen damaging the paintwork. But it makes a lot of sense now.

    I did manage to permanently remove the marks from our car with http://www.autoglym.com/products/products/paint-renovator. I think we’ll be keeping a pack of wipes in the car from now on :)

  • Werner
    Tuesday 15 October 2013 - 15:23 | Permalink


    Just to add another voice to this chorus of laments, we have had a silver VW Touran parked mostly in the street for almost ten years in either Germany or France and the car’s body looked fine without any use of polish ever. But we moved to sunny Martinique about ten months ago with our faithful kennel-on-wheels, and lo an behold: strange whitish spots have developped, mostly finger-shaped around the backdoors: the sunscreen theory makes total sense in our case, since we have seen more beaches in 10 months than in the previous ten years… I have observed that many cars of different makes have similar stains around here and that older cars tend to assume a sort of camouflage look (vaguely distinguished, since about half the island’s car fleet seems to be silver grey). On impulse I just walked out and sprayed some WD 40 on the spots: just like in a TV ad, a light wipe with a dry cloth removed the ugly stains! But I guess I’ll wait for the next torrential downpour to see if this magic lasts…

  • Werner
    Sunday 20 October 2013 - 18:26 | Permalink


    as a PS to the mail above, the WD 40 magic worked only for about 24 hours, confirming other entries on this blog. So sad!

  • Kurt
    Saturday 30 November 2013 - 10:16 | Permalink


    Hey all.seems like ur stories are similar to mine.im not 100% sure it’s sun cream but can see it gradually increasing.anyone got a permanent solution?.i have a silver vw golf 5 Gti and really need to get these white scars removed.

  • Anonymous
    Sunday 9 February 2014 - 3:48 | Permalink


    a rubber (eraser) works quite well

  • Anonymous
    Saturday 8 March 2014 - 2:19 | Permalink


    Thanks for the suggestion above. I just used a rubber (eraser) to remove sunscreen from my silver Commordore. The only rubber we had in the house was Faber Castell PVC free, so that is what I used. I was like magic! I rubbed it over the white marks, then used a dry micro fibre cloth to remove the dull rubber marks. Mostly all gone, there are a few dull marks you can see faintly, but nothing like the white hand prints which were there. Hopefully they won’t come back

  • Alfredo
    Saturday 8 March 2014 - 15:11 | Permalink


    We have the same problem on a metallic silver audi a2 and honda civic. T-cut seems to give a bit of light relief for a while. I will have to measure how long the improvement lasts, I think it was a couple of weeks. Must admit I have not seen a whole lot of cars with white finger marks on the paintwork but reading his blog it seems we were not alone.

  • Di Clark
    Monday 10 March 2014 - 16:42 | Permalink


    I’ve just found this blog from researching the mystery marks. My lovely VW camper 2009 started to develop them last year. Have tried the eraser (which has seemed to work) rather than the expensive paint remover. Thanks for the advice!

  • Monty
    Friday 14 March 2014 - 18:17 | Permalink


    I have a wolkswagen Passat 2011 reg with the same white marks. Nothing takes them off and car is now covered with them. Looks awful.

  • Brian Ennis
    Tuesday 15 April 2014 - 19:09 | Permalink


    The idea of using an artists rubber is a brilliant idea. Rubbed the white patches on my VW PASSAT WITH a soft artists rubber and then polished off with a duster. Magic! stains removed. Forget about re-polishing, respraying, polishes, etc. This is the solution!
    Brian

  • Seth
    Friday 16 May 2014 - 13:01 | Permalink


    I tried the rubber trick – it didn’t work for me. Recently bought another VW, which then turned out to have the same problem. Car went back to VW for repolishing, it came back, then so did the marks. VW refunding us for the car – its a massive problem to which there is no solution. Personally, I’d say the paint they use isn’t suitable for purpose. Questions VW salesman about it – he said it happens to all colours of their paintwork. Next VW will have to be white, until the learn to make proper paint! Very disappointed in this, given they are meant to be a premium brand.

  • Lee
    Saturday 31 May 2014 - 20:00 | Permalink


    Unbelievable the rubber works . On my Daytona grey audi a4 . It seems to good a solution to be true but it works a treat !

  • John
    Thursday 3 July 2014 - 13:35 | Permalink


    My Ford Focus was covered in white and black hand marks – a few hours with a rubber removed the lot. Thanks for the advice. Brilliant result

  • Rohan
    Thursday 3 July 2014 - 15:14 | Permalink


    Very happy to find this post, seems a common fault on particularly Silver VAG cars, I have the problem on my Silver Skoda Octavia The woman at Skoda came up with the useful suggestion of washing hands after putting sun screen on, I happened to talk to them about trading my skoda for a new one and they have offered me £2k less than normal value due to the number of hand and finger prints on the car, very harsh I feel as its their rubbish paint at fault.

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