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Unusual paint chips all over car

I am stumped. I drive my car every day except when I am on trips it sits in my car. I came out the other day and noticed about 50 small (almost perfect circle) sized paint ships (missing paint) all over the front of the car. They are not dents…just perfect little paint erosions like someone splattered acid on the car. Car repair guy is stumped. He has no idea never seen anything like it. They are about the size of a small bb from a bb gun. At first I thought they were black spots on the paint but now I realize the paint is missing so they went through the paint job.


Make ?
Model ?
Model-Year ?


Could be several things. It’s not unusual to get grit-blasted on a windy day when the topsoil is dry. Back when I lived in NM we had a sandstorm that stripped all of the paint from the front of our van. Or you might have followed a dump truck too close and gotten grit blasted from it.

Could also be from atmospheric contaminants - acid rain, etc.

Depending on how well you wax your car, it could even be from water droplets focusing sunlight to burn through the paint.

It could be a lot of things but a common one that is overlooked is brake fluid. It will eat off the paint but will usually leave the primer unaffected.

Only on the front ?
I’ll bet you’re right that someone spilled acid on yor car…in effect.
While following some other vehicle in the recent past , did you ever get sprayed and all you did was run the wipers once or twice or think nothing of it ?

I got some spray from a semi load once. Some oily substance that would not come off for months…not with car wash, Windex or Dawn.
Well, it ‘washed’ and It looked clean , but every time it rained you could see the water spots peek through all the dots.

My vote is also for driving through a oontaminant, sand or dirt suspended in the air at high speed. This is something you may not notice while driving in the rain at high speeds and being pelted by water at the same time.

Could you post a picture?
Only on the hood? It is possible these are normal chips from driving.
make, model, year, miles on odometer?

“Car repair guy is stumped.”

Who is this car repair guy ?

I’m certain that if you took the car to a reputable auto body/collision shop that has an experienced, professional painter, they could tell you what’s going on or come up with a theory better than anything you’ll get online.

We don’t know how old the car is, what make, or model it is, whether it’s been repainted, if it’s clear-coated, had previous owners, been hit by a shotgun blast . . .


To me, this sounds like a small amount of battery acid was splattered on the paint surface. Unless it was done on purpose, I can’t think of a way such a thing could happen though. I suppose it might could happen if you ever park your car in areas where people are removing and installing car batteries.

"been hit by a shotgun blast . . . "

That was actually my first thought!

Sounds exactly like what all my cars look like after enduring expressway trips in to work. All it takes is one ride behind a truck kicking up small stones. It’s usually not even detectable sitting in the car. Try riding a motorcycle though and you’ll gain an appreciation for the volume of debris and the severity of impact your car is subjected to every day…

Where I Live The County Trucks Come By At 60 MPH, Dumping And Scattering Tons Of Rock Salt/Sand/Gravel Mix Right On The Center Line Of The Highway. Look At Any Salt Crystals (Even Table Salt) With Magnification And See The Nice Paint Chipping Sharp Corners On Those Little Cubes.

The trucks won’t yield to traffic and you often can’t get over far enough or fast enough to miss the thrill and excitement of this stuff blasting the crap out of your vehicle.


I had this lovely experience a few years back on a two lane highway in Arizona. Some guy hauling aggregate and driving like a bat out of hell passed me going the other way. There was a sharp report as a piece of his cargo hit my left rear fixed window (Suburban) followed by a sickening cracking sound as the damage propagated through the hole window causing most of it to fall inside behind the spare and on to one of my kids who was laying on the third seat. Scared the hell out of all of us. I think the OP would have remembered getting sandblasted so my vote in the absence of dents is for some corrosive liquid blowing back off a tanker or something…