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Posted 09/20/2023 by

When to Use Paint Protection Products on New and Used Cars

When to Use Paint Protection Products on New and Used Cars

Adding layers of car paint protection helps maintain that fresh-off-the-lot look for the long run. But the best time to apply certain paint protection products depends on if you have a brand new car or a pre-owned vehicle. Understanding when to use wraps, sealants, waxes and ceramic coatings allows you to maximize their durability.

New Car Paint Needs Time to Cure

The factory paint on a brand new car actually continues curing for several months after purchase. Most manufacturers recommend waiting 30-90 days before waxing or sealing a new car's paint. This allows the paint to fully harden so protection bonds optimally. Washing gently with pH neutral soap is fine, but avoid harsh chemicals or friction from polishing until the paint has cured.

Get Paint Protection Film When New

However, paint protection film is an exception that can be applied to a new car immediately. This clear vinyl goes on the front end to shield from rock chips and road debris. Paint protection film needs to bond as close to the factory paint job as possible. Installation is also easier before any contaminants stick to the paint. Just avoid automatic washes for a few weeks to let the film adhere fully.

Best Time for Wax and Sealants on New Paint

Wax or paint sealant is ideal once the new finish has hardened after a few months. The protection penetrates and bonds strongest when the paint is in its purest, virgin state. Wax or sealant topped regularly thereafter helps maintain the factory clarity. Be sure to decontaminate and prep the paint fully before applying protection.

When to Use Ceramic Coatings on New Cars

Unlike waxes and sealants, ceramic coatings bond through a chemical reaction with the clearcoat. This means waiting at least 60-90 days for the paint to cure allows the most secure bond. The coating has the highest durability and protection when applied to virgin paint in like-new condition. Proper paint prep is also critical before applying the liquid glass coating.

Used Car Paint Needs Correction First

The condition of paint on pre-owned vehicles varies greatly depending on age and prior care. More aged, neglected paint likely has swirls, scratches, oxidation and fading accumulated over the years. This requires paint correction before applying protection. A machine polish repairs the clearcoat so car paint protection bonds optimally.

Wax and Sealants After Minor Correction

If the used car's paint just needs minor swirling removal, a light machine polish followed by hand waxing or paint sealant may be sufficient. The smoothing from polishing allows the wax or sealant to bond tightly. Re-apply protection every few months to maintain the revitalized appearance.

When to Invest in Ceramic Coating

Heavily oxidized or scratched used car paint requires a deeper multi-stage correction detail for the best results with a ceramic coating. This removes layers of clearcoat damage so the liquid glass coating bonds to refreshed paint. The correction prep also gives the coating's hydrophobic properties and gloss the best starting point. The longevity of ceramic coatings makes the upfront investment worthwhile.

Understanding the ideal timing for car paint protection allows you get the most value from waxes, sealants and ceramic coatings. With some prep and patience, you can keep your car looking its absolute best whether starting with brand new or used paint. Taking advantage of the optimal windows for applying car paint protection pays off for years down the road.

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