Your car’s paint is probably one of the top things that attracted you to the car in the first place. Even though a lot of cars share a small selection of colours these days — white, black, grey/silver — the rich metallic paint combined with the sporty lines of the car is a combination that we still find hard to resist, regardless of the colour. The trick, however, is knowing how to properly protect that paint once you’ve got it.
Of course, if anything goes wrong you can always call on top paint correction services in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or wherever you are, but it’s always best to try and protect the paint as much as you can yourself. Here are a few important tips to get you started.
Tip 1: Regular Washing and Drying
The primary threat to your paint’s lustre and rich colour is the myriad dirt, grime, grease and other contaminants that attempt to fight their way through your clear coat down to the painted metal skin underneath. Regular washing and drying of your car will keep your paint free of these contaminants. If you live in a dry or dusty area, then you should be washing your car at least once a week. Most Australians also live by the coast, where the elevated presence of sea salt also presents a risk.
Hand washing is always better than using an automatic car wash. A hand wash is gentler, and allows you to use safer and better cleaning materials, unlike the car wash which employs stinging chemicals that get the job done but can have a lot of negative effects on your paint over time. What’s more, the bristles of those rotating brushes, or even the dangling cloths used are rarely clean, which exposes your car to the removed grit and dirt of other vehicles.
Tip 2: Clay Bar, Sealant, and Wax
On top of your regular washing cycle, you should also look into some additional tools used more typically by professional car detailers, namely a clay detailing bar, as well as sealant or wax. First of all, the clay bar when used correctly is absolutely ideal for removing the most stubbornly and deeply embedded dirt particle. Once these are clear, you will get a better and more even bonding with your chosen sealant or wax.
Sealants (artificial waxes) and waxes will help to form a protective layer on the surface of your car’s paint that will offer some limited protection from mud, dirt, chemical and liquid contaminants. It won’t offer any significant physical protection, but there are other options for that (see below). Sealants are often easier to apply because they come in spray-on form, but waxes offer richer colour boosting effects.
Tip 3: Look into Ceramic Coatings and Paint Protection Film (PPF)
If you want to invest in heavy-duty protection, then either ceramic coating or PPF — or a combination of the two — is a great option. These will offer more lasting protection from all manner of dirt, chemicals, water-based contaminants and in the case of PPF rock chips and small debris thrown up by other road users. These options cost more, but where waxes and sealants protect for a few months at a time, a ceramic coating might last for 5 years or more.
Tip 4: Don’t Follow Other Cars too Closely
Not following others closely is important for other reasons of safety, but if you need one more reason, how about protecting your paint? Cars in front might throw up rock chips and other debris, so by not following too closely, you can be sure that the front end of your own vehicle doesn’t get hit by these objects.
Tip 5: Watch Out for Tree Sap and Bird Droppings
Finally, be sure to avoid parking under trees overnight if at all possible as the runoff from trees forms an unpleasant sticky layer on top of your paint. Besides that, clean off any bird droppings you see ASAP because they are acidic and can damage your clear coat.