|Polish your Paint to Look Like New |
Automobile paint is by far one of the toughest, most resilient, and flexible
types of paint that exists. With proper care, the paint on your vehicle can
withstand harsh weather, debris, burning hot sun, masses of flying insects,
even kids—and still survive it all looking shiny and new. Even so, every
Superman has his Kryptonite.
|Don't Be Dull|
The one thing that will dull an automobile paint finish is plain old neglect.
The oils and chemicals that keep the paint shiny and tough can literally
evaporate, leaving the paint dull and opening it up to oxidation. Oxidized
paint loses its shine and ends up with a chalky looking layer on top of what
was once a gorgeous finish. Once this process starts, and the paint is left
unprotected for an extended period of time, paint surfaces can decay quickly
past the point of no return. The reflective, shining, mirror-smooth tropical
lagoon that was once the beautiful painted finish on your vehicle can be
reduced to the cracked, arid, dusty, dry desert lake bed in less time than you
might think. The good news is that if the paint has not gone too long without
water and protection, it can be brought back to life with some modern
chemicals and old-fashioned elbow grease.
Bringing back the shine to dull paint involves two crucial tasks. The first is
to remove every bit of old crud and oxidation now smothering the paint's shine
as these are signs that destructive layers have actually depleted the paint of
its protective oils. The second task is to reintroduce these protective oils
back to the paint. There are many products out there to achieve these two
tasks. Rubbing compounds containing a slightly abrasive material, or cut, to
remove oxidation will achieve the first task. The second task will be achieved
by applying polishing compounds containing a milder cut and the oils required
to bring back the shine. These products will achieve the second task. Some
products bridge the gap between the two. Which product to use is determined by
how depleted the painted finish has become.
For some swirl marks along with a water spot or two, a mild polishing compound
will usually do the trick. For chalky, dull, heavily oxidized paint, a more
aggressive rubbing compound is first required to get the paint ready to accept
the polishing compound. A third and equally important task after either a
rubbing or polishing compound has been used is a good waxing. The wax keeps
bugs and other bad stuff out of the paint, and all of your rubbing and
polishing work sealed in and protected against the baking sun, soda-hurling
kids, and other harmful elements.
The first and most important thing to determine before starting is the type of
paint your vehicle has layered on its body panels. Most automobile paint falls
into two categories. The first type is called single stage. This paint is
applied in one shot, and is uniform in its thickness. The second type is known
as basecoat-clearcoat. Basecoat-clearcoat is applied in a two stages. The dull
basecoat contains the color, and goes on first. The clearcoat is applied
second, and gives the basecoat-clearcoat paint job its real shine. Since the
clearcoat lies on top of the basecoat, it takes a beating from the elements.
Extreme care must be taken when using rubbing compounds, polishes or other
products that contain any type of abrasive cut in them on basecoat-clearcoat
finishes. This is especially true if using power tools such as a high-speed
rotary polisher. If the clearcoat is compromised, the only way to bring back
the shine is to apply new clearcoat—an expensive proposition at best.