How To Remove Exhaust Stains From Car Paint?

Who doesn’t like that shiny bumpers around the car? But a bad exhaust or common carbon particles exiting from the back of your can spoil the whole beauty of the car. Since they are caused due to carbon buildup on the bumper, it requires some techniques and ways to deal with the problem. it can be a good weekend exercise.

In this article, we will learn in detail how to remove exhaust stains from car paint problem in a very simple fashion. Let’s dive into it.

What Causes Exhaust Stains On The Bumper?

The carbon soot from the exhaust. It can be some polish job or something as easy as adjusting the exhaust hangers to move the tips away from the bumper. Here are common causes for remove exhaust stains from car paint problem-

1. Bad Engine Health

Smoke that leaves the car engines can be a result of engine overheating. It can also be an indicator of faulty wire casings, heated residues of the oil on the engine block, and overheated liquids such as oil, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. This can also represent a fault in your coolant system, or your engine may be low on lubricant. This will result in the smokey exhaust and staining your bumper.

2. Lose Exhaust hangers

The exhaust hangers, that support the exhaust, are the mounts that secure and support the exhaust pipes, the underside of the vehicle. They are usually made of rubber in order to absorb vibrations from the engine and also to allow them to flex for the exhaust to move as the vehicle travels. It plays an important role in properly securing the exhaust, preventing noise and vibration in the cabin. If the hangers are loose, then it can direct all the exhaust to the bumper and staining them in the process.

3. Engine Running Rich

Many things in the car are involved in the engine ignition system. The spark plugs that ignite the engine, makes most cars run on fuel as it burns. A proper balance ratio of fuel and air during combustion is necessary. 14.7:1 is considered as the best ratio. It is not easy for your car to maintain this perfect ratio. When it fails, your car starts to run rich, which will leave stains on the bumper.

4. General Situation

As we use the car, it is bound to become dirty as it gathers dirt and dust along the way. In the same manner, the bumper also collects stains and carbon soot from the exhaust in a routine manner.

How To Remove Exhaust Stains From Car Paint?

A stubborn exhaust stain can be very difficult to remove, but thankfully there are simple ways through which you can deal with the problem. Here is the procedure to remove stains-

1. Wash And Dry The Vehicle

Wash the whole car with plenty of soap and water, it should always be your first step. There are many tutorials available on many platforms in case you are new to this. The car wash method which you should be using is the is a hands-on method and it should not be combined with just a simple water hose down of the car. Since it is a staged process, make sure that the washing is done properly.

2. Make A Vinegar Solution

After completing washing and drying of the car, use some vinegar solution on it. Vinegar is an amazing cleaning product and odor eliminator. The perfect blend is a 50/50 distilled water mixture. It has a great ability to remove many types of tough surface stains.

Shake the bottle and spray the solution onto the stained surface. Allow it to sit for about 30-seconds before wiping away the solution with a clean microfiber towel. Conduct one more application with the vinegar spray before proceeding. to the third step.

3. Clay Bar Treatment

The next step to remove exhaust stains from car paint is the classic clay bar treatment. This procedure involves the use of an automotive-approved moldable clay and some lubricating car wash shampoo. Slide the clay bar back and forth over the car bumper, you will pick up microscopic impurities and surface stains too. This procedure is very labour-intensive.

4. Buffing

Buffing removes exhaust carbon and light scratches as a result of being exposed to the elements. Start buffing with the wool pad and compound. These are a bit abrasive, which is what takes out those stains in the clear coat. Apply compound directly to the bumper and spread it around a small section with the pad. Begin buffing by keeping the pad flat and alternating between up/down and left/right motions in a 2’x2′ section. Refrain from tilting the pad, as this focuses too much heat on one spot and can ruin your clear coat.

5. Final Wash

After you have followed all these steps mentioned above, you must wash your car thoroughly in order to remove all polish and compound residue from the bumper of the car. Washing will also help in removing all the carbon stains that have been removed through the process. Vinegar residue can be bad so make sure it is rinsed off completely.

How To Prevent The Exhaust Stains?

The problem regarding cleaning your paint of exhaust stains completely eliminated from your worries if you follow the general maintenance procedures of your car. A healthy engine will produce a healthy exhaust and it will reduce the tendency of the carbon buildup.

Also, you can cover your car bummer in PPF film which will protect your bumper. Overall it is easy to remove exhaust stains from car paint but it can be prevented.

How Much Will It Cost To Remove Stains?

Since it is basically a home remedy, the material involved would not cost you more than 50$. In case the engine tune-up is required or any major engine issue is present, then it can cost up to 500$. A professional detailer will charge you around 200$.


In order to remove exhaust stains from car paint, you do not have to make many efforts technically. It is not that serious and just requires some elbow grease from you. You can easily deal with this problem at home. Also, keep your engine in a healthy condition to prevent such occurrence. Feel free to comment down below.

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