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Will WD-40 Hurt Car Paint?

Will WD-40 Hurt Car Paint?

A quick search on the Internet about WD-40 and car paint brings up a variety of concerns and answers, but not all of them are factual. 

The biggest question is whether WD-40 harms the paint on your car, or whether it is safe to use to clean scuff marks and overspray. 

Let’s explore this topic a little further and see if we can find the final answer. 

WD-40 is a solvent and may damage your vehicle’s paint, depending on the type of paint your vehicle has and the way the WD-40 is applied. When applied correctly, you can use WD-40s dissolving powers to safely remove superficial scratches and blemishes from your car’s paint.

WD-40 stands for Water Displacement 40th formula, suggesting that there had been 39 versions of the product that were rejected previously.

Read on for more about how to safely use WD-40 on your car!

Is WD-40 Made To Use On Cars?

The original marketing of the product said it was to be used to protect metal parts from rust, particularly farm machinery and airplane parts. The formula for WD-40 is a trade secret that is kept in a secure vault!

It was originally designed by the Corvair auto company to protect the outside from rust. It was later found that this product had many other household uses, and now, it is somewhat of a household necessity.

According to the Material Safety Data Sheets, it contains aliphatic hydrocarbons (which could be hexane compounds), a petroleum base oil, and carbon dioxide as a propellant. However, it may also contain other compounds that are not listed.

The European and Australian formulations contain iso-alkanes, naphtha, benzene compounds, xylene, and mixed isomers. It is not known if the version sold in the U.S. contains these same compounds. 

That is the reason for the confusion over whether it will harm car paint or not. Keep in mind that it was originally formulated to be used on bare metal, and it seems to contain some solvents.

From the ingredients that are known, it is difficult to say whether it is safe for car paint.

Also, there might be differences between whether formulations made for different countries would have the same effect. Some of the ingredients would have a detrimental effect on car paint if they were used alone, but it is not certain whether WD-40 contains high enough concentrations for them to be harmful.

Does WD-40 Have Any Safe Uses for Car Paint?

One thing to keep in mind is that paint has different formulations, and it may be possible that WD-40 will damage one type of paint but not another. For this reason, it is always best to try a small spot in an area that will not be noticed. 

Because of the solvent in WD-40, it is never suggested that you leave it on your vehicle for a long period of time.

It is possible to remove small shallow scratches on your car and hide them temporarily, but you should not allow the WD-40 to sit on the car for more than a few minutes. 

One way you can use WD-40 is when you are repairing scratches.

It is an excellent way to remove rust and corrosion before sanding and applying the primer. Before applying the primer, you should make sure that all of the WD40 has been removed and that the area is completely dry.

If you have dirt or water spots on your car, WD-40 is an excellent way to remove them, but once again, you should not leave the product on the car for more than a few minutes.

It is also an excellent way to remove stubborn bug splatters. 

However, be careful when using it on windshields because it can leave a film that can cause glare at night and obstruct your vision. WD-40 can also be used to remove stickers, decals, or marks from bird droppings. 

Will WD-40 Remove Paint Overspray?

It is possible to use WD-40 to remove overspray on your car, but you should do so as quickly as possible and not allow the paint to harden. 

To remove overspray, you should apply a little bit to the area containing the overspray, and let it sit for about a minute or two.

Next, you should wipe it with a dry cloth to remove both the overspray and the WD-40. You should wipe off as much of the WD-40 as possible and not allow any residue to remain on the car. 

The answer to whether WD-40 is safe to use on your car paint is that it is safe for some uses. The caveat is that it does contain some ingredients that could potentially harm the paint over time.

The formulation apparently does not contain enough of these substances to make them have a harmful effect immediately. 

The best answer is that you can use WD-40 on your car paint, but you should not allow it to remain on it for long periods of time. Always test an inconspicuous spot before you use it on your car paint.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!