My Canon 7D won’t focus on my car

QUESTION: “I can’t get my 7d to focus on my new car. It was a bright sunny day so there was enough light. What am I doing wrong?” – Brenda, Dallas TX

ANSWER: According to the Canon 7D manual on page 92 one of the conditions under which the camera may fail to autofocus is “Extremely backlit or reflective subjects (Example: Car with a highly reflective body)”

You may choose to photograph the car when the light is not as harsh such as late evening or under partly cloudy skies. Or you may choose to focus manually.

Here is what the manual says on page 92:

Autofocus can fail to achieve focus (the focus confirmation light blinks) with certain subjects such as the following:
– Very low-contrast subjects (Example: Blue sky, solid-color walls, etc.)
– Subjects in very low light
– Extremely backlit or reflective subjects (Example: Car with a highly reflective body)
– Near of far subjects covered by an AF point (Example: Animal in a cage)
– Repetitive patterns (Example: Skycraper windows, computer keyboards, etc)

In such cases, do one of the following:
1. With One-Shot AF, focus an object at the same distance as the subject and lock the focus before recomposing (page 52).
2. Set the lens focus mode switch to <MF> and focus manually.

The Canon EOS 7D manual is available online here.