Q: A neighbour had the front of his house painted, but my car was parked outside at the time and ended up covered with fine spots of paint. When I told the painter about the damage, he said that it was no problem and it had happened before. His advice was to take it to a car valeting company so that they could steam the paint off the bodywork, and he would pick up the bill. I’m concerned that this might damage the paintwork. Melanie Jones
A: The exact process for removing the paint will depend on the type of paint used. It is possible that by using a high-pressure steam washer the paint can be washed off. However, most car manufacturers do not recommend using high-pressure jet washers, as they believe that they can damage the car’ paintwork.
Products are available that are designed to remove tar- and oil-based substances from paintwork, and these can sometimes be successful in shifting house paint.
The only way to ensure that the paintwork is not damaged is to take your car to a bodyshop certified for your make of car – your local dealer will tell you where the closest one is. The bodyshop will know about the composition of the paint on your car, and the chemicals that can be used on it without causing damage. It’s possible that it will take several hours to remove the paint by hand or, in the worst scenario, having the car resprayed.
The painter responsible should pay for the cost of repairing any damage. If he is a professional tradesman, he should have liability insurance, which would cover the bills. However, if he is not covered, or is unwilling to make a claim, you could try pursuing him through the small claims court.