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Speckles of black "dust" stuck to car after snowstorm

Over the weekend I washed my car after the blizzard a week ago that hit the northeast. I use the waterless and wax wash, which is mostly just spraying and wiping.

Everything came off easily, except for these pesky black speckles of “dust.” I can pick them off by scrapping with my finger (with a microfiber cloth in between my nail and car), but it leaves a very faint streak on the car that I cannot take off. The stuff that comes off also clings to the cloth and I cannot get it off.

Anyone have any idea what it is? Could it be some kind of grease from perhaps the plow that may have gone through the street?

And what is the best way to clean them without damage to the car paint?


Diesel soot?

If there’s a snow storm occurring, there’s a lot of heavy duty snow removal equipment plowing roads/streets, a lot of diesel soot is produced.

If it’s older equipment, it might not have any diesel emission control components. So the soot ends up on your vehicle.

Just use a clay bar to remove whatever it is.


I can’t guess what it is, but it’s worth trying bug and tar remover to see if that removes it.

I’ll second the clay bar to remove it. Bug and tar remover will take the wax off and we still have a way to go until Spring.


A snow storm?

I don’t think there’s any bugs.

And if there’s a snow storm, nobody’s tarring any streets.

But they’re plowing them?


Bug and Tar remover worked for me when I was in Anchorage.

I think that Tar and Bug Remover takes off more thqn just tar and insects. Tester, you scamp.

Bug and tar or even wd40 will work.

Could be someone in the neighborhood is still burning coal in their stove. I saw this a lot when coal stoves were common.

I would advise the OP to use a self service car wash before trying any chemical cleaners. Really soak the vehicle good with the soap feature and then rinse.

It could be from anything and could have been there before the last storm. Unless you washed the car day of storm(doubtful) and then drove it.

I ran into that problem years ago, and it was soot from a nearby manufacturing plant that made steel products. If the wind was blowing in my direction and they were performing some smoke-inducing steel-making function that night, I’d wake up with the little black specks on the snow. Which would tend to stick to the car’s finish when the snow melted. So I’d try to remove as much of the snow as possible before it melted when I saw it. For the ones that remained, I could get most of them off using a pressure washer wand at the local 25 cent car wash. Yes, it was that long ago … lol .