M3 with Spots

When I got this car, it had been under a car cover for about nine months. Included in the receipts was a recent bill for detailing. I couldn’t connect the dots, so to speak. How could this nose be so dirty when the car was recently detailed? Those spots weren’t dirt. That was mold. Ew.

Clear bra can be a great way to protect the paint of your car, especially along the the leading edge of the hood where it is subject to all kinds of debris. The key to remember, however, is that it is a disposable layer of protection. It’s supposed to be replaced periodically, usually every 3-5 years.

This clear bra was probably 10 years old. It was faded and cracked in places. It trapped water between the film and the paint and that’s where the mold developed. If the film isn’t too old, removal is just a matter of using heat to activate the adhesive, catching a leading edge, and peeling it off. No such luck in this case.

Every inch of this stuff had to be carefully scraped off by hand. Heat it too much and the film liquifies leaving the adhesive behind. Don’t get it hot enough and it won’t come off at all. In the end, what worked best was to heat a small area with a heat gun, then use a plastic scraper to scrape it off, much like paint removal on an old piece of furniture. I found an old credit card worked best. The plastic is harder than the film, but softer than the paint. Steam worked well on areas which weren’t petrified, like the mirror caps. There the film would come off in several inch long chunks, but on the hood it was all heat and scrape.

It took about six hours to complete. My reward when finished was a new roundel. I also polished the headlights while I was there.