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What Is Fallout On Cars

What Is Fallout? Fallout is basically tiny shards of hot metal that have that embedded themselves onto any surface they touch. The tiny shards of hot metal can come from a variety of surfaces so has many applications but all comes down to the friction of metal on metal.

Once embedded the fallout can easily oxidise and therefore rust, creating tiny orange dots on whatever surface they’ve landed on, easily seen on white car paint.

If you have a dark colour car you may not be able to see the fallout or iron filings so easily but you can probably feel them. If you’ve ever rubbed your cars paint then you may of realised that it felt rough, or at least not as smooth as it should be; like glass (unless your glass is affected by fallout!).

Your paint can be rough for a few reasons but the most common reason is fallout and tar. You can easily see if it is fallout if you use a traditional white clay bar as it will quickly turn orange and brown; oxidised metal that is beginning to rust!

The main problem that makes it hard to remove iron filings from paintwork is due to the heat at which fallout is released making traditional clay bars and polishing useful for removing the problem but not the source.

Where Does Fallout Come From

Fallout can come from nearly any application where there is metal on metal contact, but keeping on track and sticking to our industry knowledge we will be concentrating on common fallout problems on cars.

New Car Fallout Problems

The most common problem that we rectify with new cars is finding fallout across brand new paintwork.

You may be thinking why does my new car have small orange dots on the paintwork? This is caused from fallout from trains, industrial factories and shipping yards.

Most new cars are delivered by train these days but not before having been sat around by a factory before being transported to a shipping yard to be sailed to another port (more factories and fallout) to board another transporter before finally making its trip to the dealership…oh and potentially another trip to another branch of dealership!

This can obviously take a few days but most often takes weeks from being made to reaching the dealership, plenty of time for the paintwork to get its fair share of dirt and fallout from the factories, trains and boats.

Learn how to remove fallout from cars with our free guide!

Used Car Fallout Problems

Just like new cars, all older and used cars suffer from the same external fallout contamination by driving near, or parking at, train stations, factories, industrial yards but also, from on-board factors such as brake discs and brake pads.

The most common problem you may come across is fallout on wheels. This type of fallout is predominantly iron from the brake discs and brake pads.

You will find that larger and more luxury cars expel off far more iron than smaller, lighter or cheaper cars. Automatic vehicles will also have far more fallout, especially iron filings, on their wheels due to the way that they are constantly pushed forward and require far more braking.

Owners of such vehicles, or wheels that haven’t been cleaned for many months, will require a strong wheel cleaner where the use of an acid will break down the metallic particles and brake dust.

An even better solution is to use a specific iron remover that is safe on car paint, wheels and glass.

The advancement of car care technology has led to the development of iron removers that are still PH neutral making them safe on ANY surface.

Iron removers quickly break down the metallic particles and whilst doing so turn purple to make it easy to see if fallout, or iron particles, are present.

Using a specific wheel cleaner followed by a fallout remover and tar remover will give you the cleanest possible wheel and will look like its just come out of the showroom!

Other Fallout Problems On Cars

The most common problem with fallout on cars, as stated above, is from railways, factories and metal working shops.

You may also find that if someone has been grinding metal by your car then you may have small pieces of metal over your paint or glass.

These can be removed by the use of a clay bar or fallout remover.

If the contamination is bad then using a firm clay bar to remove any protruding particles first will help to break down the fallout quicker which is useful especially as iron removers aren’t cheap.

You can then apply the fallout remover, allow it to dwell, agitate with a wash mitt or sponge then rinse thoroughly.

You may need to repeat this process, especially if the contamination is severe but it WILL work! If it doesn’t then its probably not fallout..!

Have you had a problem with fallout or metallic particles on your car? Comment below and we will give you free advice!

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Hello
    I can my car outside my work which is a metal manufacturing company with lots of grinding and cutting of steel.

    Does the company have to take any responsibility for the cost of repair in these situations?

    Kind Regards

  2. Hi John, they should out of courtesy but I am sure they will have some sort of clause that gives them a way out of being responsible and deemed as ‘nature of the business’. It is worth speaking to someone friendly though and seeing if you could get the cost of a fallout remover reimbursed. All the best, Tom

  3. Hi have just purchased a new Peugeot gti have only had it 3 weeks noticed a defect in the paint work on the rear spoiler so went in to have it polished out drove home went on holiday for a week when I washed it I noticed brown marks had started to appear on most of the panels have counted approx 300 marks sent it back to the dealership last Sunday and have had a reply today that it is fallout they say they can polish it out but will it come back and will it damage the paint work as it is metallic white seems bad on a new car would welcome some advice thanks

  4. Hi Glenn, thanks for getting in touch, I have sent you an email but if there is anything else I can help with just let me know. Thanks, Tom

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