What are swirl marks and why are they all over cars? Chances are, even brand new cars on the dealership lot will have a few of them. So what are they and how does one prevent them? Swirl Marks also referred to as Spider Web or halos are basically very light scratches on the clear coat of a car caused by different dirt particles being dragged around on the paint without sufficient lubrication and with the incorrect mediums. Swirl Marks can also be caused by harsh chemicals such as dishwashing liquids or cheap chemicals which do not contain the proper chemistry and can thus leave light scratches. Swirl marks are usually very fine and can be most noticeable in natural lighting. The way you wash your car is crucial to preventing swirl marks. If you hand wash your car do not use a old T-shirt or cheap mitts. Most wash mitts cause more damage than cleaning your car at a high quality drive-thru car wash which use professional grade materials and chemicals. Use quality material or just go to a trusted automated car wash. Automated car washes keep their brushes clean constantly and use more than enough soap, water, which equates to proper lubricity to keep the brushes from scratching and causing swirl marks on the vehicle. Always be sure to wash your car properly.
Wiping down a dusty or dirty car with a dry towel is a big cause of scratches and swirl marks on a vehicle. We recommend using clean terry cotton towels or microfiber towels when drying your vehicle. The lack of lubrication between the two surfaces causes a lot of friction which in turn damages the car. Never dust, dry or wipe down a car when it is dirty without washing it thoroughly. Car covers cause many swirl marks as well. It’s because covering the car one day then taking it out for a drive and bringing it right back and put the cover on is the worst thing you can do. This is a big no! No matter how expensive and reliable the car cover, it will cause swirl marks when placed on a car that wasn’t washed just before the cover is used. Even a 10 minute drive to the grocery store and back will leave dust particles on the paint, so when the cover goes back on it’s simply rubbing all this dust into the paint. Therefore, wash your car before putting a cover on it AND make sure the cover is completely clean on the inside to avoid swirl marks.
So to summarize, the primary causes of swirl marks are:
2) Improper cleaning techniques
3) Harsh/cheap chemicals
4) Lack of proper lubricity when washing car
5) Car Covers
Best Practices to Prevent Swirls:
1) Use Clean Cotton Terry Towels
2) Use Clean Microfiber Towels
3) Use high quality car wash soaps and chemicals
4) Use only trusted and high quality professional car washes
Read Also: Can a Car Wash Damage My Car?
5) Use clean high grade wash mits or brushes. (Ie. Hog Hair brushes)