What Causes the Swirl Marks On My Car?

Swirl marks can develop on your car paint over time and are often found on doors and fenders. Many things can cause such gradual damage. If not addressed early on, this will cause ugly marks on your vehicle.

The thing about swirl marks is they’re quite inevitable. It will happen over time to a car, especially if it’s in regular use and exposed to daily wear and tear. It’s usually more obvious on dark-colored cars. Light-colored vehicles can hide the swirls due to the reflection of the light.

The following are some of the culprits behind the unsightly swirl marks:

Dirty sponges

The tiny dirt on the sponge will cause minute scratches, which will manifest as swirl marks. If you’re washing your car, always wash a dirty sponge first before wiping it again to the paint.

Using the wrong pad for buffing

Buffing or polishing with the wrong type of pad will lead to swirl marks. If you are to buff your car at home, look for the right pad that suits the paint

Draping dirty car covers

Dirty car covers will also contribute to the development of swirl marks. The same with dirty sponges, the tiny bit of dirt will scrape the surface of the paint.

Dusting off with a dirty towel

Many car owners are guilty of using dirty towels in drying their cars. Aside from transferring the dirt, the tiny particles will cause a scraping motion to the paint.

Improper rinsing 

Failure to rinse your car after washing can also lead to swirl marks due to soap suds. Since it’s difficult to remove, you’ll wipe rigorously, causing the ugly marks.

How to prevent swirl marks

Take note that swirl marks are a fact of life when you own a car. It’s unavoidable, though you can delay the accumulation of these ugly marks. Here are some of tips you should follow:

Use high-quality mitts

A good start is replacing your dirty sponges and towels with brand new mitts. Also, use only soap made for car paint to reduce damages on your vehicle.

Also, when washing your car, rinse every surface first before applying the soap. That way, your mitts won’t accumulate excess dirt that will cause swirls.

Use microfiber towels for drying

Microfiber towels have soft fabric that will reduce the likelihood of developing swirls on your car’s paint. Some car owners recommend using a leaf blower to dry the car and to limit contact with the paint. We haven’t tried this yet, but we heard that the results are stellar.

Wax properly

This might be surprising, but yes, waxing can also cause swirl marks. Consider using a spray wax and a microfiber towel instead of the standard scrubbing methods. Although spray waxes don’t last long like standard waxes, it helps reduce swirl marks.

Don’t overdo wiping 

As much as you want a sparkling finish, avoid overdoing the wiping. Doing so will only cause the formation of swirl marks. Once in a while, you can wax your car’s paint, but as much as possible, stick to microfiber towels.