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Posted 08/23/2023 by

Restoring Faded and Oxidized Car Paint

Restoring Faded and Oxidized Car Paint

Over time, your car's exterior can start to look dull and fade from oxidation and UV damage. The protective clearcoat breaks down, and the pigmented basecoat underneath loses its vibrance. Luckily, you can restore that showroom shine with some car paint correction. The key is using the right techniques and car paint protection products.

Wash and Clay Paint Thoroughly

Before performing any correction, the paint needs to be completely free of contaminants. Wash the car with pure soap and rinse thoroughly. Then, clay bar the surface - this removes embedded grime and oxidation layers. Use plenty of lubricant like a clay lube to safely glide the clay over paint.

Assess the Severity of Damage

Look oer the paint in indirect lighting to see the full extent of oxidation and fading. Running a hand over the surface can also reveal if etching or roughness is present. This determines what level of correction and cut is needed. Minor oxidation requires less aggressive buffing than years of UV damage.

Use Paint Depth Gauge

Use a paint depth gauge to check thickness in various spots before buffing. This ensures you don't burn through thin clearcoat when correcting. Body panels typically have 4-6 mils of clearcoat to work with, while edges may only have 2-3 mils. Adjust your buffing as needed.

Start Polishing with Light Cut

Begin polishing using a dual action polisher with a light cutting polish pad and compound. Test a small area first to see if this is sufficient correction. If more cut is needed, step up to a medium-cut foam pad and polish. Be sure to follow product instructions.

Work Small Sections at a Time

Divide the vehicle into manageable 2ft by 2ft sections to focus your polishing work. Use overlapping passes and moderate arm pressure with the buffer. Work on each section thoroughly before moving on. Avoid letting products dry on the surface.

Rinse Residue and Inspect

Frequently stop and rinse off compound residue to inspect results. See if deeper scratches have been removed and if the overall clarity and reflectivity has improved. For severely oxidized paint, going over areas twice may be needed.

Refining Removes Haze

Once the correction is achieved, follow up with a fine polishing pad and finishing polish to refine the paint. This removes any buffer haze and jewels the clearcoat. Frequently wipe and rinse the surface to check your work until the paint looks crystal clear.

Clean Up with IPA Wipe Down

After all the polishing steps, thoroughly wipe down the paint with a quick detailer spray and a microfiber towel. Then go over the entire car with an isopropyl alcohol (IPA) wipe-down - this ensures all oils and polishing residues are gone before applying car paint protection.

Apply Paint Protection Products

With fresh polish and correction, the paint is ultra vulnerable to new damage. This is the ideal time to apply car paint protection products like ceramic coatings. A ceramic coating bonds to the clearcoat for durable protection against oxidation, bird droppings, UV rays and road grime.

Maintain with Proper Washing

Part of keeping your car's finish revived is using proper car washing techniques going forward. Use the two-bucket method, a pH-neutral soap and microfiber mitts to prevent new swirls and scratches whenever you wash. Be mindful of how automatic car washes can degrade coatings over time.

Perform Touch-Ups Annually

A yearly touch-up maintenance polish helps keep the corrected paint intact. Use a light polishing compound to treat any new oxidation or rough patches before they get out of control. Then reapply a fresh layer of your car paint protection product like a ceramic coating.

With some time and effort, you can breathe new life into your car's faded, oxidized exterior. Correcting the clearcoat and underlying paint restores the vibrance and gloss. By adding layers of car paint protection, you can maintain the revived appearance year after year through proper maintenance.

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