Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays at the beach is a given for us humans. But those same UV rays can also damage your car, causing it to fade over time. You likely don’t think about your car’s paint job until it starts to get noticeably lighter. This is due to the oxidization from the UV rays of the sun. On top of that, extreme weather due to snow, hail, high winds and rain can all have an impact on the hue of your car — not to mention the critters that can really do a number on your paint job.
Here are some tips on keeping your car’s paint job looking new year after year:
Come up with a washing schedule: Prevention is key here, so the best way to protect your car from the sun and environmental damage is to keep up with a consistent washing schedule. Praying for a rain storm isn’t going to help. You need a good clean that can protect your top coat from existing and future damage. Top coat is like sunscreen for your car, and keeping it as clean as possible is like giving it SPF 50 protection. However, that top coat is also the most vulnerable to sand, salt, snow and acid rain.
Restore the paint job: Once fading begins, you may think it’s too late to be saved. Not true. You will have to break out the elbow grease but restoration of your paint job is absolutely possible. First, you’ll need to thoroughly wash and dry your car, then use a clay bar to remove the junk that’s contributing to the dullness factor. Clay is designed to “fix” a contaminated surface — one that is plagued with tiny bumps in the paint that can detract from its smoothness. All that embedded debris can cause small imperfections in your finish that the clay bar can pick up and remove, says Dr. Beasley’s. Doing this will provide a prime surface featuring a tighter seal to the wax making sure it looks better and lasts longer.
Polish after claying: The clay bar is great, but it’s no substitute for polishing your car. Do this in a shady area, out of direct sunlight. Make sure your car is cool to the touch and not hot. Work in small, concentrated areas and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Normally, you would use a foam applicator but once light oxidization and fading has occurred, it’s best to use a microfiber applicator pad for car polish application.
Wax your car regularly: If a clean top coat adds an extra layer of protection for your car, adding wax gives you yet another protective layer that prevents dirt from harming your car. Not only does it make your paint job look beautiful and shiny, it can give you a whole new level of SPF protection that can complement the efforts of your washing schedule.You have four types of wax products to selection from: liquid, paste, spray and wipe-on, wipe-off. The paste and liquid formulas seem to work the best when a car is faded or oxidized car paint. Ideally, you should wax before the winter, then keep up with maintenance every two to three months.
Take it to the pros: If all of the above methods don’t work and your car’s finish is too badly faded, oxidized or damaged, you may need a complete paint job. Whether as part of collision repair or a simple desire to get your paint job restored, professionals have the right equipment, tools and paint to bring that luster and sheen to your car that you miss so much.