Do you feel your car is looking dull even after a wash and wax? Do you notice any scratches? What should you do? Should you go for a new paint job or have a detailer correct the paintwork (paint correction)? If the car is too old, it may seem like a waste of money to repaint it but painting it may be necessary if you plan to keep the car for many years ahead. Furthermore, the top three reasons a car starts looking dull or old are due to either weather, collisions, or negligence.
Most of new cars nowadays are not manufactured the same way they were built back in the day. Instead of a thick layer of protective clear coat, it is most often now replaced with a thin layer of paint and a very light clear coat on top. This means your common culprits for wear and tear such as UV rays, rain, and other contaminants can cause oxidation and make the paint peel or fade significantly quicker than before.
So, when and how do you decide that your car needs new paint by a panel beater or paint correction through mobile car detailing? Here are a few signs that can help you make the decision.
Fading is a slow process, and most car owners will take time to notice it. Initially, they try to wax and clean the car more often to bring back the shine. Fading happens when the paint starts to lose its richness and depth in colour most often to general wear and tear, which tends to accelerate due to exposure to the Sun. It usually occurs when the clear coat starts to break down and the surface then becomes chalky. How do you know that paint is fading?
1) Compare pictures of your car. Check the old photos to see the difference.
2) Check the record for all waxwork and paint protection work that you have done. See if there has been too long a gap between your historical car detailing and car wash sessions. Was there a period of neglect?
3)The paint looks a bit chalky, flat and dull, has lost that gloss and richness
If you notice several scratches, whatever the reason, you will need to paint your car. If you ignore the minor scratches, it may lead to a bigger problem. Minor scratches can be buffed out, but if that does not help, then you will need to arrange your car for a paint job. Sometimes, if the scratches are left unattended, the surface may create rust build up and cause further damage. Minor surface scratches (within the clear coat) can most often be repaired by paint correction, while deep scratches may require complete repainting and reapplication of the clear coat – quite the costly scenario. If your fingernail gets caught in the scratch as you glide it across, chances are, the scratch is too deep. Furthermore, in order to fix minor scratches, the surface must be buffed, which ultimately thins the protective clear coat slightly, so there is a minor trade-off. For this reason, you should really question if the scratch is better off minimised or corrected 80% of the way so that it is less noticeable, whilst maintaining the clear coat.
Is Your Car Red Or Black?
Red and black are, unfortunately, one of the two most popular colours for vehicles which happen to both be more prone to fading paint compared to any other colour. This is because both these colours can absorb more UV rays, which accelerate the ageing effects whilst deteriorating the protective clear coat. Advice for those with these colours
1) Regularly wash the car to avoid an accumulation of contaminants on the paintwork.
2) Park in shaded areas to avoid the sun such as a sheltered carpark, car port or better yet, a garage. Yes, you can park under trees, but they are notorious sites for bird droppings and tree sap, which can be highly acidic.
3) Use a car cover to protect your car when parked out on the driveway overnight, for those who do not have a garage. Only problem, it is becomes tedious to constantly cover your car wherever you go and also puts your car at risk, if someone decides to steal your car cover.
4) Recommended: Protect your car’s paintwork – always opt for a protective wax coating after each wash, since it will add some protection to your paintwork that will last a few weeks to a month most often. On the other hand, if washing your car every few weeks is too much to ask for, then investing in nanotechnology paint protection is the way to go. Either a ceramic or graphene coating will allow you to have long lasting years of hardness and a glass like barrier to protect your paint. The great part about this, is that you do not have to worry about polishing or waxing your car for the duration of the paint protection.
G-Fusion by Duratek Labs is a popular Graphene Oxide coating that boasts 10H Hardness with excellent durability when it comes to protecting your car against bird droppings, water etching, scratches/abrasion. Please note that this product is only available for Professional Car Detailers due to the complex nature of the preparation and application.
Bubbling, discolouration, and peeling paint are all signs of clear coat wearing away or clear coat failure. When you notice peeling, it is primarily the clear coat that is peeling off. If the clear coat gets too thin, there is no protection, and it starts to peel. Bubbles also indicate damaged clear coating. Mostly, it is oxidation under the clear or paint layers which is causing the bubbling. Similarly, if you notice spots or blotches of discoloured surfaces, you know that your car needs to go for repainting. At this point, it is beyond the expertise of a car detail and will need a full car respray to fix.
What are the options?
So, you feel that it is time for new paint for your car. What are the options that you have?
1) If you catch the paint fading early, you can opt for a polish, more specifically by machine since polishing by hand has barely any correction, if any. Do note that depending on its condition, will determine how many stages of correction your paint will need. Most often a 2 stage paint correction will get you fantastic results, best bang for your buck.
2) Another option is to find a professional who can carry out the clear coating. The major expense here is in the prep work, which involves removing scratches, surface levelling, dent repair, etc. Clear coats are applied after this.
3) If the clear coat is too damaged, then you will need paint and a clear coating. This will cost more money and more time as well. Getting this done from a reputable place is essential, or you may be left with a shoddy, patchwork job.
The Final Verdict
Your car’s market value is heavily influenced by the condition on your paintwork. There is no hiding the fact that a car is undergoing heavy fading, oxidation or clear coat failure.
Although automotive paint is supposed to last for a long time, due to fading & wear and tear, there may come a time when your car stops looking its best – more prone to warmer climates. It is best to fix this as soon as possible because the longer you leave it exposed, the worse it will get. The key is routine and consistency, do not wait for these signs to appear to signal your next car detailing appointment, because most likely by then it could be too damaged or require additional work. Regularly wash and protect your car in order to slow down the ageing effects of time and sun damage.
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