Clearcoat damage on 2 week Tesla from tree sap

Clearcoat damage on 2 week Tesla from tree sap

I parked my 2 week old Blue S85 under a tree at work to charge the car (it was the only open charger). Few hours later, I came out to dozen or so sap stains on the car from the tree above. I did not think too much of it and washed the car a week later. Terrible mistake -- when I washed the car, the area that came into contact with the sap was stained and did not come off.

I took it to a trusted auto detailer (AJ's in San Jose) and they recommend a full clay, polish and wax. After 3 hours, the end result was better but some of the sap permanently etched into the clearcoat. You need to get close to see the etching but it's visible which really sucks. I know in retrospect, I should have washed it right away but I don't recall damage like this in my other dark color cars including MB and BMWs.

Is the clearcoat on the tesla not as durable as the other car manufactures'? Is there anything I can do to fix this?

The other thing the detailer mentioned is some car manufactures don't apply a coat of wax when the car is new, reducing the protection. Does anything know if Tesla applies wax prior to delivery?

JAD | July 16, 2014

My car was nicely waxed, just had to clean excess wax from a few panel gaps. With any paint you always have to clean bird dropping and sap off asap to minimize damage.

DonS | July 16, 2014

The modern finishes are not as hard a the old ones. You can thank the CARB rules. Bird droppings will mark the clear coat in hours. A fingernail is harder than the paint, making it easy to leave permanent marks when trying to remove a spot. Clay or buffing can renew the finish by removing a bit of the clear coat. This has been covered extensively in older forum topics.

Anthony J. Parisio | July 17, 2014

I am a real car guy and had a detailing business years ago. The paint on a Tesla reminds me of the paint used on high end German cars which I have had 8. They are soft and fragile. My experience has been that the really hard strong paints today are found only on Ford products. Bird droppings tree sap ruin all other unprotected high end clear coats. That is why in the past I have used expensive waxes and sealers for protection.

Now I am going to use Opti-Coat 2. I have read many good things about it and seen many videos. Putting a thin ceramic coating on a car is new for me. However I am will to try it myself. It only coast $79.00. This is less then some waxes I own. My hopes are high but after an month I will still use "ICE" on top of it.

In the case of you tree sap marks. You may need a good finish polishing. After this it must be sealed with SOMETHING REALLY GOOD AND STRONG!. (ICE, MOTHERS GOLD, ZYMOL, maybe OPTI-COAT 2) That should restore your finish to mirror like appearance.

Good luck and remember these finishes are fragile.

Mathew98 | July 17, 2014

Opticoat 2 is the consumer version. Opticoat Pro is only available via authorized detailers.

Make sure all paint swirls and imperfections have been cuffed out and clay waxed before using OC2. Otherwise the imperfections will locked in under the layer of OC2.

Webcrawler | July 17, 2014

Carnuba wax with UV resistance is your friend and takes about two hours every three months...

Rheumboy | July 17, 2014

Camuba wax stopped talking to me 3 weeks ago. I don't think we are friends anymore. :-(

AmpedRealtor | July 17, 2014

I use some kind of Meguiar's high tech liquid wax every few months. When I wash the car, I spray bug and tar remover on the front end as well as the wheels, then wash with 2 bucket method. When drying, I use a Turtle Wax spray wax finishing product. Car looks like new!

dougp | July 17, 2014

The marks are most noticeable in the shade. In direct sun, it's harder to see. I will post some pictures, it's amazing how much etching is on the car.

The detailer tried claying and repeatedly polishing the area for 2 hours and spend the last hour applying wax. He said a body shop might be able to sand down the clearcoat in the effected area and apply protection on top of it but he did not recommend it.

If Opticoat could prevents this, I would highly recommend it.

kawdennis | July 17, 2014

When I get tree sap on my Tesla I use methanol or denatured alcohol to remove it as soon as possible then rinse with water, works well

bobrobert | July 17, 2014

Profuse sympathy for your experience. No point in preaching now about glass coatings - though even with them one needs to wash off chemically active things like sap & bird droppings as soon as noticed.
You say that your detailer is trusted, but I wonder that they didn't buff as deeply into the paint as needed, using detailers' lights to verify the result. Did they discuss any form of paint armor? It's unfortunate that it costs so much to protect - and in your case, restore - an already expensive car.

murraypetera | July 17, 2014

QuartzQC is easy to self apply and has done a great job for me protecting the paint from bird presents.