Since the beginning of time (or the origin of the automobile, really), mankind has fought a constant battle, spending a nice afternoon washing his (or her) car and making it shine, only to have a rebellious bird fly by and, well, leave its mark on that clean paintwork. But bird poop isn’t just a visual eyesore – it can also be quite harmful to paintwork. Thankfully, this is something that a new Ford paint test, one that involves the use of fake bird poop, has helped solve.
This fascinating Ford paint test uses laboratory-developed synthetic droppings that are so realistic they can accurately reflect the differing bird diets – and subsequent varying acidity of droppings – of most of the birdlife in Europe. Ford engineers apply the fake excrement by spraying it on a car’s surface, after which they’re “aged” at 104, 122, and 140 degrees in an oven to replicate real-world customer use in extreme heat, pushing paint corrosion protection to its limits.
Warm weather presents a bit of a challenge for paint, as it can soften and expand under intense sunlight. When it cools, the paint contracts any grime it comes into contact with, including bird droppings. If left on the vehicle, droppings can leave a permanent impression that requires special treatment to remove. And since the white part of bird poo is actually uric acid, that’s a big problem, too.
By fine-tuning the pigments, resins, and additives that go into making a car’s shiny protective paintwork, specialists can ensure the coating Ford applies to its vehicles has the optimum make-up to resist the impact of these types of pollutants.
This very interesting Ford paint test is just one of many that the automaker completes on its vehicles, too. The Blue Oval also sprays phosphoric acid mixed with soap detergent and synthetic pollen on panels before aging them at extreme temperatures. The resulting Ford paint test helps guard against airborne particulates such as pollen and sticky tree sap.
It’s nice to know that Ford is working hard to protect the paint of the vehicles it sells from these ages-old pollutants. And the automaker even has a little advice for us in the event that we do find a surprise on our car’s paint from the local bird gang. The automaker recommends washing the vehicle with a sponge and lukewarm water containing a neutral pH shampoo to clean the poo immediately.
Waxing painted surfaces once or twice a year also helps to ensure new paint finishes can better resist the harshest of attacks, while also keeping it shiny for a longer period of time. So the next time we have a “crappy” day (literally), simply follow these tips to keep bird poo from ruining a car’s precious paintwork.