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Ford uses fake bird poop to keep paint safe in the real world

Bird poop is hazardous to your car's paint, so Ford is making sure its cars can take a beating from sky droppings, as well as sap and pollen.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read

Bird poop is a mortal enemy to vehicle paint as the droppings are notoriously acidic and can cause permanent damage to the paintwork. But where there's a problem, there's an engineer more than likely looking into a fix. At Ford , that's definitely the case: The automaker has developed fake bird poop to take testing to the extreme.

The automaker detailed the process on Thursday and discussed how engineers went as far as creating synthetic droppings that also simulate various bird diets, which can change the acidity levels. The test, known bluntly as the "bird poop test," sees the synthetic droppings applied to Ford paint and baked at temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

The worst damage occurs when drivers let droppings sit and fry in the sun. The acid can eat away at paint even quicker in high temperatures. Engineers will also apply phosphoric acid mixed with soap detergent and synthetic pollen to mimic tree sap and pollen in the real world to see how paint deals with other natural elements. Other days, Ford paint gets a beating with 6,000 hours worth of ultraviolet light, subzero temperatures, gasoline baths to simulate over-fueling the tank and a mix of winter weather grime, including a salt chamber.

All of the tests ensure the automaker develops paint pigments that not only look good, but withstand a lot of brutality in the real world.

While the paint will withstand a lot, it's best to wash bird droppings off quickly to ensure the finish remains well kept for years to come.

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