Your vehicle's paint is actually a
very delicate surface that needs regular attention in order to have it
looking it's best. Proper washing, drying, polishing, and protecting
will keep the paint and other exterior surfaces from becoming gritty, dull,
swirled, scratched, and oxidized. Statistics have proved that a
vehicle polished and waxed/sealed 2-3 times a year can average 15 years
(outdoors) before needing a new paint job. A vehicle without any
polishing and waxing/sealing will need a new paint job typically after only
8 years. To put this in perspective, a standard (OEM quality) paint job averages $3000.
Let's look at some typical problem
Gritty feeling paint:
This is caused from contaminants
like industrial fallout,
to brake dust, to tree sap, and so on bonding themselves to your vehicle's
surface. These contaminants lock
themselves onto the surface and don't usually come off with normal washing.
Although you may not notice at first, soon you will feel your paint
condition depleting after
washing and drying it. The movement of your hand over the surface will
feel gritty and rough. A proper clay bar procedure will remove these problems leaving your paint silky smooth and contaminant free.
Notice in the picture
below how the folded over piece is bright grey whereas the other sections
are brown and black with contaminants.
Here a detailing claybar was used in this small 1' x 1' section
to remove imbedded soot (from storage in a steel garage) and other dirt contaminants. Notice the folded over area; which I did to show the
difference in color. The darker, streaky area shows how the contaminants
were safely lifted from the paint into the the clay bar.
dull, lifeless paint comes over time from improper care. Improper
care ranges from improper washing and drying techniques, to not washing your
car, or dragging anything but a clean towel or wash mitt across the surface
causing it to "swirl" and leaving it dull. Swirls are very light
scratches in the paint's surface caused by an abrasion.
This will come inevitably over time, but swirls need to be removed in order
to keep your finish looking it's best. Polishing with the right
polish, pad, and procedure will make your finish look shiny and new.
Then, top it off with a high quality carnauba wax or paint sealant and you
have yourself a car that looks arguably better than the day it came off the
This paint was
already washed, dried, and clayed in this
picture, but still looked dulll.
Using the right tools, product, and technique, I was able to
bring the shine back.
A good way to show paint defects is to bring it out to the
direct sun or use bright lights (such as a flash from a camera) aimed directly
at the paint. As you can see, there is a problem. This is a classic
example of "swirling".
Polishing with the
right tools, products, and techniques brought this Pathfinder paint back to showroom
quality. Also notice
the depth of the black color.
Here is an excellent example of a
deteriorated finish. On the left shows the raw form of heavy swirl marks
from poor washing and paint care techniques. On the right you see the optically clear surface which was
compounded and polished to bring up an amazing shine.
Here you see the swirling the sun has amplified. Also
notice the reflectivity of the trees compared to the picture below.
With a 2 step polish, then paint sealant applied, I was able
to bring the finish back to new. Notice how well the trees reflect.
oxidized paint comes from a lack of surface care. If
your paint is oxidized it will look hazy and cloudy due to the chemical
reaction of oxygen with the dirt and contaminants on your paint. A
simple way to keep this from happening is to wash your vehicle weekly and
use a good carnauba paste wax or paint sealant every 3 months or every oil
However, the proper way to remove oxidation fully is to clay bar the car,
polish it, then protect (wax or sealant). Oxidation is very common in
red cars...This leaves them turning "pinkish".
This surface has nearly no gloss
and is very hazy.
After claying, compounding,
polishing, and sealing, this red is deep, rich, clear, and vibrant (please
excuse the raindrops).