Debris on the road, age, and exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can all take a toll on your car’s paint job and cause it to fade. If your car currently has a clear coat on it, constant exposure to the sun can also cause the clear coat to peel. But learning how to fix car clear coat on your own can help you save both time and money since this type of job can potentially cost $1,000 to $2,000
How to fix car clear coat can be accomplished using some sandpaper and an aerosol clear coat. You’ll need to take the proper steps to prepare the area. This will include washing the car with a car wash soap, and using some isopropyl alcohol to remove any waxy residue. The areas should be sanded down gently to prepare the area for the new coat. Tape off the area that will be treated.
After you apply the clear coat you will need to give it ten minutes to dry before you add a second or third coat. By buffing the surface after giving it twenty-four to forty-eight hours of drying time, you can easily blend in the newly treated area with the old clear coat on the surrounding areas.
Damaged Clear Coat
Damage to the clear coat is often caused by several different factors, however, the biggest issue is sun exposure. Harmful UV rays can fade the interior of your vehicle, crack your dashboard, cause the plastic to rot, and can significantly fade cloth upholstery. Over time, UV rays will degrade the clear coat, causing it to peel. However, road debris is also to blame and can cause pits and small scratches in the clear coat.
Additionally, there are some issues that can occur during production or when you take your car in for a new paint job. In some cases, the base coat is allowed to dry for too long. If the clear coat is added after the base coat has had too much time to dry, it will not give the clear coat a tacky surface to adhere to. This will cause the clear coat to begin to peel in as little as three to six months since it was not able to settle properly.
Protecting the Clear Coat
There are some steps you can take to help prevent clear coat damage. Waxing your car regularly can create a type of invisible thin barrier between the sun’s rays and the clear coat. If the clear coat on your car is already peeling and faded then using preventative treatments won’t have much of an impact. While using soap, and car wax will make your exterior look better, the damage is already done.
Regularly waxing and washing your vehicle will definitely work to help prevent damage to the clear coat, but again using these products once the damage has already occurred will do nothing to reverse it. If you head to your local body shop they’ll offer to repair the damage, however, this option isn’t cheap. First, they’ll want to strip the entire vehicle or a specific panel where the damage is apparent. Next, that will apply a base coat and primer, in two to four layers. If you can afford it, then this is the best way to fix your damaged clear coat, however, if you’re on a tight budget then this may not even be an option. In which case, there are some things you can do to repair the clear coat damage yourself.
Of course, since the base coat paint has been sitting for several years, applying a new layer of clear coat will not allow the clear coat to bond properly. Because of this, most body shops will want to start from scratch, which involves a whole new paint job complete with a base, primer, and clear coat. However, if you want to go the more affordable route I’ve included some steps that will teach you how to restore the clear coat to its factory-like finish.
Just keep in mind, repairing the damage and fixing the clear coat will not make it as durable as what you’ll get if you have the entire car repainted. Although, this type of do-it-yourself repair job will have your car looking great instantly, and will keep the paint job protected for at least three to five years.
To repair the clear coat you’ll need to purchase some basic car wash supplies, in addition to the aerosol clear coat and some fine-grit sandpaper. If you currently own an air tool with a compressor then you can use a spray gun for a more professional look. Using a spray gun is always a better idea than using an aerosol clear coat, but if you don’t have the money to invest in an air compressor then an aerosol clear coat can get the job done.
Repairing the Damage
If you normally have your car waxed, then you’ll need to use a degreaser to remove any remaining waxy residue. Next, you’ll clean a car using a car wash soap. This will help to remove any foreign contaminants and any leftover degreaser that could negatively impact the results with a clear coat.
The next step is masking off the area that you went to repair. This can be done using your basic painter’s tape. You want to spray the surface approximately 1 to 2 inches outside the damaged area.
Next, you’ll use fine-grit sandpaper in order to sand down the rough patches of peeling clear coat until it feels smooth. You can use a fine-grit sandpaper on the surrounding clear coat to smooth and blend the damaged area, without removing more of the clear coat.
Grab a microfiber cloth and wipe the surface down using some isopropyl alcohol. This helps to remove any remaining remnants of contaminants from sanding.
Applying the Spray
If you’re using the aerosol clear coat make sure that you shake the can prior to spraying. Shake the can for at least 60 seconds. Next, you’ll apply the first thin coat. You should overlap the spray on to the area that has been sanded, not only that area that’s damaged. Allow the first coat to dry for 10 minutes before you spray an additional second coat.
Next, you’ll want to wait 10 minutes to determine if the car needs a third coat. If you don’t think it does, then you can remove the tape by pulling it off slowly and at an angle away from the damaged surface. Once the tape has been removed you’ll notice that the area that has been repaired tends to stand out from the older clear coat.
The clear coat should be allowed to dry for at least 24 to 48 hours before you add any additional layers. Once the coat has had dried, you can use fine-grit sandpaper and sand down the border of the repaired areas. Doing so will allow the coating to blend into the surrounding areas.
Buffing the Surface
The next step involves using a rubbing compound and a polish on an electric buffer. Before use, make sure that the setting has been switched to low and apply only light pressure. After this step, you should be the only person that’s able to identify where the new clear coat has been applied. You should give the coat a total of three to four weeks to completely cure before you add some wax
Is Ceramic Coating Better for Your Car?
Ceramic coating shares some similarities with a clear coat, however, unlike a clear coat, it’s not able to absorb scratches. In fact, its main job is to keep your car looking cleaner for longer, make it easier to clean, and provides some paint job protection. If you’d like to learn more, stop by and read my guide on how to apply ceramic coat.
Do I Have to Take My Car to a Shop to Diagnose Why the Check Engine Light is On?
How Do I Remove the Clear Coat Without Damaging the Paint Job?
This is a common concern most beginners have. However, all you need to do is soak a sheet of twelve hundred grit dry/wet sandpaper in warm water for five to ten minutes. This will soften up the sandpaper and allow you to carefully remove the peeling clear coat without damaging your existing paint job.
Now that you know how to fix car clear coat, you can save around $500 to $2,000 depending on how much work you have on your plate. Purchasing the aerosol clear coat and applying it yourself can take plenty of time and patience, but if you’re on a tight budget, it’s a great option, and a way to instantly improve the appearance of your car’s paint job.