In order to protect that perfect flawless paint finish on your vehicle, there are a number of things which need to be taken into consideration. If the paint is damaged, sometimes it can be corrected, using some form of paint correction. Other times the damage can be too severe, therefore the only method for correction is to repaint the damaged area. Keeping your vehicle's paint safe will not only be aesthetically pleasing, but maintains the value of the vehicle as well.
With more modern vehicles, they have a two stage paint. The first outer layer is the clear coat which gives the glossy finish or in some cases a matte finish if the vehicle is finished in a satin paint. The clear coat protects the color from fading or wearing. Below that clear coat is a paint layer which gives the vehicle it's color. On older vehicles a single stage paint was used instead which turns two layers into one. This provides both the gloss and color in one application. Not all paints hold the same quality or durability characteristics, therefore some maybe more delicate than compared to others.
- Bird deification is very acidic ranging with a pH level from 3 to 4.5. The damage can be more prominent on fresher paints, but will still occur on older paints as well. When left on for an extended period of time the poop will eventually break down the surface of the paint causing discolouration or etching. The affected area must be cleaned immediately using a water and a good quality soap.
- Whether it's bug splatters from driving on road or having bugs die on your vehicle's paint when caught up in the morning dew, these too can damage the finish. Just like bird deification, bugs contain acid that has a ph level of about 10. The acidic compound can cause etching, discolouration, or pealing in a severe situation. If a dead bug is left on the surface for a longer period of time, their acidity levels can increase, but this is dependant on the type of bug. In order to clean the contaminated area, use a high quality soap or a bug and tar specific cleaner. Some cleaners can be used alone with a microfiber cloth, others are used while washing your vehicle.
- If pooling water or water spots are left on the finish, they can cause light markings to etching. This applies to a variety of situations such as sprinklers, dew, rain, moisture from drinks, splashes from puddles, or washing. The longer the water is left on the paint, the larger risk for increased damage. After washing your vehicle, it's best to use a microfiber drying towel or a waffle towel to remove any water. For those harder to remove water spots, sometimes a specific water spot remover product or a paint correction method is required in severe situations.
Blanket or Towel
- If our vehicle happens to break down, despite it being a form of shelter you will still need a means to keep warm or hold in your body heat. Especially if one is forced to stay overnight in your vehicle, you will be exposed to much lower temperatures than compared to the day. Either a blanket or towel is sufficient for the task. Even is one were to get wet, a towel can be used to dry ourselves off.
- Tree sap can be incredibly hard to clean and will also cause etching and discolouration. When left on for longer periods of time, this will increase the chance of damage along with solidifying the sap which makes it much harder to remove. In order to remove the tree sap, first ensure the area is free of any debris which can further damage the paint. Using a soft cloth, apply rubbing alcohol, mineral spirits, bug and tar remover, or a wax and grease remover. Then continue to gently rub the affected area until the tree sap has been removed. Once that area has been cleaned, any protection will have been remove so it is important to follow up with a wax or some other form of paint sealant. To prevent any future occurrences of tree sap, avoid parking under any trees.
- Avoid those mischievous acts such as writing on dirty paint with your finger. Any dirt present on the paint's surface will be dragged along with your finger leaving behind scratches. These scratches can be anywhere from mild to more severe, therefore a form of paint correction cannot always repair the damage.
Ice Scraper Snow Brush Combo
- Anytime during the cooler months we do not want to be stuck outside scraping ice and snow with our bare hands. It's very important to ensure your vehicle is cleaned off of any winter debris as this will maintain our safety along with fellow motorists. Especially if you own a larger vehicle, there may be some harder to reach points which are only accessible using an ice scraper snow brush combo. This tool is available is a variety of styles, some even have an extendable handle. The assistance of this tool will not only do a better job cleaning, but also reduce the amount of time needed to clean your vehicle.
- Depending on the type of beverage and their acidity levels, they too can cause damage. The pH level for soda is about 3, while coffee is around 5. If any beverage has spilt on the paint, it is best to wash it off as soon as possible before any damage is caused which includes both etching or staining. The same principle can be applied to some foods as well.
- When filling up at the fuel pump, don't spill gasoline on the surface. Gasoline isn't excessively strong compared to some other compounds, but when continuously spilt in the same spot and left for longer periods of time will eventually cause damage to the paint finish. It's important to clean any spillage or drips immediately. When filling your vehicle, follow the nozzle with a cloth or paper towel to catch any fuel drips or spillage.
- Finger nails can create a fair amount of damage around handle areas, especially if the paint of the vehicle tends to be softer. Some waxes and sealants can provide a scratch resistant coating to some extent. The main solution in order to solve this problem is ensuring you and your passengers are careful when grabbing the handles on your vehicle.
- Stone chips not only ruin the paint's surface but also creates an area for moisture to penetrate the metal underneath causing further damage such as pealing or corrosion. They tend to be more prominent on forward facing body components such as the front bumper, front side of the hood, mirrors, and front edge of the front fenders. Chips can also occur from debris being thrown up from the road around the edge of the fenders and rocker panels. If chips do occur, it's best to touch up the affected areas as soon as possible before further paint issues. To prevent stone chips, do not tailgate other vehicles on the road, take care when driving on gravel or unpaved surfaces and install a clear urethane stone guard film.
Washing or Drying
- Improper washing or drying will create anything from swirling to scratching. Avoid using a brush or sponge, always rinse the paint to remove any loose contaminants before agitating the surface, and use two different wash mitts for your wheels and paint. Beyond this, use a two bucket method which will help separate any contaminants on the wash mitt. One bucket is intended to rinse your wash mitt and another to apply soapy water. Next step for added safety is using a dirt guard in your buckets. This will allow the dirt particles in the bucket to sink to the bottom, the guard will sit a couple inches above the bottom of the bucket giving your wash mitt and area to rest while allowing separation.
When moving onto the drying stage, it's important to use a soft fibrous material such as a microfiber towel or waffle towel. A chamois will trap any contaminants between the material and the paint, having direct contact which too can cause scratching or swirling. Falling back on a previous risk, water should be removed from the surface as water spots can be left behind afterwards.
- Ashes which can be from a regular camp fire or a wildfire. They not only have an alkaline rating, but are somewhat gritty as well. The akaline level is mostly activate once the ash is wet, therefore it is best to clean the ash off with compressed air or a leaf blower first. Then continue to wash the vehicle with a pH balanced carwash soap to reduce the chance of any possible damage.
- Last but not least is UV light which can dry out various materials, paint being one of them. It will cause structural failure within the paint, creating excessive drying. This drying in turn will create oxidization, fading, cracking, and pealing.
With any of the possible risks it's best to wash your vehicle on a frequent schedule, along with providing some form of protection to the paint such as a wax or paint sealant. Wax or sealants will vary with quality of protection along with purchase prices. Some may be able to withstand stronger hazards and last for an extended period of time. Beyond that, park your vehicle in a garage or car port if you have access to one.