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Rust-colored spots on grey hood (leaves or something else?)

The past two months have been very busy and I have rarely had my car out in the daylight. Being out during those few hours of sunlight we get this time of year, I noticed some rust-colored stains on the hood of my car (2011 Subaru Forester w/ Steel Grey Metallic paint). My car is kept in a garage, but I have to park on the street at work and frequently end up with leaves on my car throughout October and November. Could these stains be the result of leaves, or is there some other likely problem?

More importantly, what is the safest, most effective, and lowest effort way to remove these stains?

Here’s a picture of one taken without the flash:


And with the flash:

Those stains are DEFINITELY from leaves.
We recently took a trip to Big Sur and the car was literally parked in the forest for several days. Several leaves fell on the car and the stains looked EXACTLY like yours. It was a PITA to remove the stains. I washed the car and I had to keep going over those stains until they were gone. I was physically exhausted by the time I was done. The good news is that there was no lasting damage to the paint.

Leaf pigment could cause that I suppose. Or bird droppings on the leaves. Or air pollutants thata stick to the leaves, then fall down to the car when the leaves drop.

I’ve had good luck with removing that type of stain simply using hot water and a little liquid dishwashing soap, and a sponge. Sometimes it takes multiple attempts over the course of several days. But eventually it comes off. If it is sticky and soap and water doesn’t do the job, there are cleaners available at the auto parts retailers that do a pretty good job.

I guess if neither the soap or the commercial cleaner worked, I’d probably try some diluted lemon juice, that often does a good job on rust stains, and if that didn’t work, I’d try a solvent. These need to be thoroughly removed afterward, as they can damage the paint.

If you are trying something you haven’t tried before of course, try it out in an inconspicuous location first.

@George SanJose - I’ll give the dish soap a try. Should I try to polish it after that, or will it be fine through the winter?

See if a clay bar works.

In my opinion, this is all you need, because it worked perfectly for me:
Regular car wash detergent
One of those car wash mitts
Plenty of hot water
PLENTY of elbow grease. If your stains are anything like mine, you’ll be exhausted.
Plenty of time, as you’ll be at it for awhile. It took me HOURS to wash my car.

I removed my stains a few days after they happened, and there was no damage, like I said earlier.

In response to you other guys: I also used to use dish soap to wash my cars, until I heard that it was better for the paint to use special car wash detergent (which seemed like the same thing, to be fair).