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The car is a white Toyota Camry 2012.

As you can see there are many tiny black dots on the roof. I can't remove them by scratching by hand or with a high water pressure cleaner.

enter image description here

What caused these dots? What can I do to remove them?

  • We once had a release of "harmful dust" at a steel plant that damaged the paint of nearby cars. Reminded me of that. Just posting this as a comment to remind that chemical release is of low probability but can still be a possibility – Martin Apr 25 at 19:38
  • Are the spots elevated, recessed or even with the paint? – Martin Apr 25 at 19:39
  • I too have these little black deposits on my car. I've tried several cleansers with none being efficient. Bug and tar remover is my next attempt. They are more easily removed when the temperature was below 20F. If you find something that works well, PLEASE let us know. – B540Glenn Apr 25 at 20:05
  • Windex or window cleaner with ammonia works well for me, and is a lot cheaper than aerosol BugNTar type removers. – SteveRacer Apr 26 at 2:42
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Looks like tar spots to me - unusual to have that many on the roof but not impossible.

Try a dedicated tar remover - Autoglym do a good one (called "Intensive Tar Remover" IIRC) that should have a good chance, it also works well for tree sap (which is another likely culprit).

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Looks like tree sap indeed.

The best way to remove it is to use a clay bar after a good pre clean without putting too much pressure on the paint.

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    I have these also. Paper towel, cloth, sponge and fingernails don't remove them. I doubt a clay bar will. – B540Glenn Apr 25 at 20:07
  • I'd encourage you to try anyway, it will take some time but trust me, all the contaminants will eventually be scraped off. :) – Aziris Morora Apr 26 at 8:04
  • I do have a clay bar kit that I planned to use after getting all the specks off. I'll try it a little earlier. Thanks :-) – B540Glenn Apr 26 at 13:10
  • Good! Let us know how it went and don't be afraid to spend some time on it, the result is worth the time investment. – Aziris Morora Apr 26 at 13:11
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The cause can be one of many possibilities:

fly spots

tree sap

or worse paint overspray

The first two should come off - good cleaner / polish and lots of work, but the paint may mean that you need a re-spray at the worst - there may be a professional treatment that could do it. So go and see a good paintshop and see what they say.

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