When your vehicle left the factory it was new and shiney and gleaned in the sunshine and at night under the streetlights of the city. But over time it seems to have lost it lustre somewhat but you didn’t notice it as it was happening. So what happened to your vehicles paintwork?
Why is the shine gone?
To answer this question one must understand what happens to the paintwork of you vehicle over time. The paintwork is subjected to many hazards of the environment such as car washing, iron/metal fallout, acid rain, tar, bird droppings and even sunlight! You see, when you car leaves the factory it’s coated in a layer of clear coat which seals in and protects the actual colour paint underneath.
Over time, the clearcoat wears thin and eventually exposes the beautiful but fragile paint layer underneath. At this point the sun and other elements mentioned before will start to fade the colour of the paint, this is also called oxidation. You will really be able to tell if oxidation has set in when you see white blotches all over the vehicle. Clearly no one wants it to get this far and so it is imperative to protect the paintwork year round.
What steps can I take then?
Glad you asked! The very first step is to assess the extent of the paintwork and to do that you need wash the vehicle well. Once it’s washed you can inspect the paintwork for any obvious contaminants. Now you won’t be able to detect all of them because they are mostly minute and embedded in the paint so the first step is to get hold of some detailing clay or detailing microfiber cloth. The clay/cloth is strong enough to remove any contaminants but gentle enough not to leave any additional marks so that when you take the next step, you’re working with a clean surface.
By now you should be able to feel that the surface is very smooth and clean but you’ll still notice some light scratches or swirl marks. Now get hold of some car polish and buff the vehicle all over. This will remove most scratches however deeper ones won’t be removed especially if they’ve penetrated beyond the base coat or primer coat.
So here’s where we get to the crux of this article and it’s what you’ve been waiting to find out I’m sure. With wear and tear and polishing, the factory applied top coat takes a bit of a beating and so now you need to add a layer of protection back to the paint in order maintain that the beautiful colour that’s been restored and that’ll protect it from contamination and ultimately from fading again.
Sealing and protecting
Now you have a couple options to choose from and it depends on your preference. You can either choose to apply a wax coating or a nano-ceramic coating to the paintwork. Both have their pro’s and con’s. Check out this article here where I go into more detail about these two options.
Basically either way you decide to go, you’ll be protecting the basecoat/ colour from all the elements we;ve mentioned here and you’ll keep the rich colour and shine you’ve works so hard to bring out!
To sum it up
Manufacturers have come a long way in paintwork and it’s impressive to see how well they hold up but they aren’t indestructible and will eventually begin to show signs of wear and oxidation leaving you with a dull looking vehicle. But there is hope and things you can do as a DIYer to restore and maintain that showroom shine that once was!
I hope you find value in this article and now have the knowledge and know-how to restore and protect and ultimately retain your cars resale value.
Your’s in auto detailing
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