Repairing faded paint

The paint on the hood and roof of my BMW has become disfigured. It has faded and a thin white scale has formed atop it. I applied polish and buffed it to seemingly little effect. I could, however, scrape away the white scale with my fingernail.

As I was reluctant to spend an afternoon scratching away, risking ruin to the painted surface and to my fingernail, I thought that someone within the erudite ranks of the Car Talk Clan might know of a more simple and efficient way of removing this white scale or deposit and of restoring the painted splendor of the car.

I and my blighted Beemer would welcome your advice.



It sounds like the clear coat on your BMW is failing. Probably only cure is to repaint. Take it to a reputable paint and body shop or two, see what they say. Good paint work isn’t cheap.

What you’re describing is called “Dead Paint”.

This means that the pigments in the paint are breaking down and turning white. Since clear-coat is just paint without a pigment added this dead paint effects both the clear-coat and the base coat. And once this begins with the paint, the only fix is a new paint job.

Let me guess. You weren’t one to wash and wax the vehicle on a regular basis?


Year, model, mileage, storage conditions? (inside/outside)

Try to get the wax off with a vinegar solution; use a wet rag. Then get the vinegar off with a water wet rag. Sand with 220 grit and wipe down. Paint with clearcoat in a can and it will look great.

Your paint is delaminating. Polishing and buffing will not restore paint that is not there.