"etch" marks on rear bumper cover - best options?

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Oct 21, 2015
Hello folks: So I don't know what we drove through in our 2015 Corolla, but the rear bumper cover is pretty much covered with what looks like millions of water spot etch marks. There was a recent snow storm here in Colorado so perhaps it was some new deicing product. I have tried Meguiar's clay which showed a bit of brown color on the clay and claying but no improvement to the bumper seemingly confirming these are some sort of etch marks. Next, I tried some of my Meguair's Ultimate Polish which I understand is one of their least abrasive materials. This improved it a bit, but not entirely. I should note I am doing this by hand with the official Meguiars foam pads. I called Meguiars and they recommended their Ultimate Compound. I'm a bit leary to use any sort of product with the word compound in the name. Do bumper covers even have clear coat on them to make this safe? Should I give it a try? The surface feels very smooth so I don't suppose a more aggressive clay would help, right? I'm inclined to just keep using the Ultimate Polish but perhaps shift to one of these microfiber covered pads I see for sale everywhere so the product stays a bit more confined on the pad and maybe I can apply a bit more pressure. In decades of self-detailing my own cars, I can honestly say I've never seen anything like this. I would post a photo but it is really hard to capture the spots. They even sort of disappear depending on angle of view.
Yes, try the Megs Ultimate Compound, it's very user friendly. I've recently used it to get some rust stains off of some paint. Worked like a charm using a Mother's Powerball and a cordless drill. Went around the entire car removing other scratches, etc. I think you'll love UC. Night and day difference between that and Turtle Wax Compound. Maybe in the fall the car was near a sprinkler and the hard water from that etched into the paint. Eep if it was in the morning and sun came up and baked it in.
It sound like something etched it as you say but keep in mind to remove them you will be removing clear coat to accomplish that. If it happens again then you end with the same thing and a lot less material to work with, eventually you end up with etched primer. If it were me I would just strip any wax off it and use a good sealer that may protect it from future damage.
Use the Ultimate compound as suggested. you would have arms like the incredible hulk before you even got close to ruining the paint thickness. its not THAT abrasive. It is not like the old "rocks in a can" compound from the old days. For reference, I put ultimate compound on with my Porter cable DA polisher and set it for 6 and press down hard to get water marks out of my Toyota truck hood and top. I've done this several times (at least 4) over the years to restore the paint and never had a problem.
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It would depend on how deep the etching is in the clear coat wouldn't it. The deeper it is the more of the surrounding clear will have to be removed to make it disappear. A decent sealer may almost hide them.
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