We have investigated the effect on precipitate microstructure and hardness upon adding small amounts of Ca to a base Al–Mg–Si alloy. The main investigative techniques were transmission and scanning electron microscopy. We found that large Ca-containing particles with composition CaAl2Si2 form during the production stages of the alloy. The particles leave less Si available in solid solution for the nucleation of hardening precipitates, leading to a coarser microstructure consisting of less coherent precipitates. The resulting hardness decrease is measurable for alloys containing more than 60 at ppm of Ca.