Taking care of your car’s paint finish doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Maybe you’re considering a professional detailer to clean both the interior and exterior of the car. Or maybe you’ll be doing most of it yourself: washing and waxing, vacuuming and touching up.
When getting ready to wash away dirt and residue, it’s important to make sure you use products made especially for your car, to help protect the finish. Here are a few tips to remember:
Taking care of a Clear Coat Paint finish requires a little extra thought. If you don’t take care of it, it’s hard to repair. The warning signs are somewhat different than yesterday’s conventional paint finishes; such as, does your car’s finish look dull? Have you ever noticed hairline scratches in your car’s paint finish?
Today’s high-tech paint finishes are applied using a basic two-step application procedure called a “Base Coat/Clear Coat” system. The base coat is the pigmented paint layer, and the clear coat is a thick, durable, glossy layer on top. Introduced in the early 1980s, the clear coat paint finish is used on almost every new car manufactured today.
How can you tell if your car has a clear coat paint finish? Rub a small amount of car wax or polish on your car’s lower panel. If you don’t come up with the “color” of your paint, it’s a clear coat.
Clear coat paint systems, based on advanced paint technology, are designed to improve the appearance and prolong the life of an automotive paint finish. They utilize acrylic urethane enamels to improve the overall shine and durability of paint finish. Today’s paints are far superior to the finishes of 20 years ago.
The sun is the number one environmental enemy at work on the shine of your vehicle’s paint finish. The ultraviolet rays produce heat that can reduce the durability of the clear coat finish. This is why it’s so important to apply a regular coat of wax to your car’s finish, at least once a year. Wax and polish films provide a reflective shine barrier between the paint finish and the elements. The resulting “beading” or “sheeting” action, as it’s called, demonstrates this layer of protection.
Hairline scratches are the other warning sign of paint damage. This is a result of the clear coat becoming damaged by a small, thin layer of road debris that scratches your paint when rubbing against the finish. Road film, caused by environmental pollutants, reacts with water to cause acid rain, leaving water spots on the paint’s finish. This is why periodic waxing and regular washing of your car is necessary to preserve the paint finish.
Conventional paints would “oxidize” over time, producing a chalky cover. Today’s paints, instead, appear dull and hazy. There are special cleaners for heavily oxidized conventional finishes. Today’s waxes and polishes, such as Turtle Wax™ are clear coat safe. A good wax can be found at your local auto parts store and/or mass merchandisers, such as Kmart and Wal-Mart.
Here’s a link to some very informative videos for the “Do-It-Yourselfer’ on how to care for your car’s finish. http://www.meguiars.com/video/