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Driving Concerns

Can an egg really ruin my car's paint job? Add to ...

Can a bad egg really ruin my car’s paint job?

Throwing eggs at cars isn’t a harmless yolk. If the egg isn’t washed off quickly, it could cost you as much as $15,000 to repaint your car.

“The shell can cause scratches in the clear coat – they could be superficial or deep enough to go right through to the base coat,” says Darryl Roberts, professor in the school of transportation at Toronto’s Centennial College. “The yolk of the egg is the worst… it’s acidic and can eat through the clear coat and stain or damage the base coat.”

If your car’s been hit with eggs, you need to wash it to get the acidic yolk off – right now.

The longer it sits, the more damage it will cause. Ideally, you should wash it off before the eggs have dried. That’s because egg whites are used to make waterproof glue — so once they dry, they’re not coming off easily.

Be gentle

Carefully remove as many of the scratchy shell pieces as you can before you start washing.

If the egg has dried, you may need some help to get the egg off.

A California autobody shop suggests three fixes: spraying the egg with white vinegar, using automotive clay and detailing spray, or using Automotive Goo Gone. The tips makes sense, Roberts says.

If you got the egg off before it caused serious staining and paint damage, scratches to the clear coat can likely be fixed by sanding with wet sandpaper and using a polish, Roberts says.

You could try to fix it yourself, but you have to be careful not to sand too deeply. Roberts suggests going to a body shop to get it done properly. And if you didn't get the egg in time?

“The issue is that most egging happens when people don't know and find it later. This gives the egg a chance to eat into the clear coat,” Roberts says. “If it is left on, the only way to fix it is to strip the areas down to the metal.”

Pricey prank

Egging was in the news this month, along with plenty of egg puns, after Justin Bieber was accused of throwing eggs at a neighbour’s house in Calabasas, California, reportedly causing $20,000 in damage.

We wondered how much damage a carton of eggs could do to a car.

If the whole car was pelted with eggs, the cost of repainting it could range from $5,000 to $15,000, Roberts says. If the damage is isolated, repainting individual panels could cost between $500 and $1,000.

If caught, the pranksters would face charges of mischief under the Criminal Code of Canada, says the OPP.

“Depending on the cost to repair the damage, mischief is divided into two categories, mischief under $5,000 and mischief over $5,000,” says Sgt. Pierre Chamberland, OPP spokesman.

Mischief under $5,000 could bring a maximum of two years in jail, while mischief over $5,000 could bring a maximum of ten years in jail.

If you have questions about driving or car maintenance, please contact our experts at globedrive@globeandmail.com.

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