The paint of a vehicle has a great influence on its overall impression, because an unkempt surface not only reduces the appearance but also the resale value. We summarize practical tips for optimal paint care.
Temperature fluctuations, frost, heat, UV radiation, dirt, hail, rain, road salt, pollen, insects, leaves, twigs, dust, bird droppings and so on – the list of external influences that cause car paintwork problems is long. Especially the top layer, the clear lacquer, sometimes reacts extremely sensitively. In addition, the various layers of paint used by many car manufacturers are now applied much more thinly to save costs. This makes vehicles more susceptible to paint damage.
For example, bird droppings that are not removed immediately leave permanent traces on many cars. The best protection to prevent scratches, fading paintwork and other damage is regular and correct care.
Initial cleaning and washing
Whether polish, wax or nano sealant: apply none of these products before you have cleaned your car thoroughly. Otherwise, sand, coarse dirt and salt would leave many scratches. Sometimes because of stubborn dirt, the use of a special washing agent for motor vehicles is recommended. So-called car shampoo dissolves even tree resin, bird droppings and insects.
Car paint becomes dull because of constant exposure to the elements. Scratches also have an increasingly negative effect on appearance. We apply a car polish mechanically to the surfaces to make such unevenness disappear and remove even the finest dirt. We distinguish between the following three product groups:
Ideal for new cars and cars as good as new. The abrasive content is minimal.
Medium – strong polish
Designed for older paints and enriched with more abrasives.
It can even refresh heavily weathered paint.
- A straight hand movement is advisable when applying. The often-recommended circular working technique leaves corresponding hairline scratches on modern lacquers, which are noticeable.
- Never use polishes on a hot surface or in the sun, as solvents and oils evaporate. The result is uneven, and polishing is difficult.
- Apply polishes with the softest fabric possible and carefully removed after the product’s drying time.
For vehicles in good condition, only use polishes without hard particles. These finest products without abrasives restore the color intensity and even out small unevenness in the clear coat. Polishing is always a kind of sanding, even if gently. If we use an unsuitable polish with an excess of abrasive particles, this can have fatal consequences for a new car. The products must therefore be carefully matched to the condition of the vehicle.
Preserving with wax or sealant
To shield the paint and to achieve a dirt-repellent effect, we should apply a final sealing. With the additional protective layer, we avoid renewed dirt deposits, at least for a certain period. In this respect, liquid wax has the advantage that novices can easily apply it. Liquid or spray waxing is easy, whereas hard wax requires much more force and is more complicated to use.
According to many users, Ultimate Quik Wax from Meguiar’s has earned top marks for ease of use. As seen from the product comparison of popular wax products, this spray wax convinces with an easy application and a very good gloss effect.
As an alternative to waxing, which should be repeated several times a year, there are different sealants. Some are polymer-based, while others are infused with Teflon or ceramic. For best results, it is advisable to go to a professional. Paint experts apply the sealant skillfully and guarantee lasting quality. However, there are many hybrid sealing products available nowadays such as Shine armor fortify quick coat, that can be applied or sprayed easily with no special skills.
Nanotechnology also promises outstanding results. Nanoparticles are used to reproduce the surface structure known from the natural lotus blossom. A nano sealing has the advantage that even the smallest dirt particles are too large to be deposited on the surface. It reduces the contact area to a minimum. Water and dirt slip away or pearl off. High quality nano-sealing lasts for several years but cost considerably more than the standard car wax.
A nano sealant applies silicon nanoparticles to the surfaces of the vehicle, creating a thin, invisible protective layer. This compensates for microscopic unevenness on paintwork, windscreens or rims.
If you wax your car, you protect your paintwork with lasting effect and ensure that dirt does not stick so easily. Every car should be washed, polished, and waxed regularly, ideally in this order. This way, the shine of the polish lasts much longer because wax seals the paint.