Why Auto Paint Fades and How to Fix It
Faded car paint is the last thing that’s on a new-vehicle owner’s mind. Unfortunately, due to environmental and other factors, your vehicle paint can start fading within as early as two years. This is more common in locations with harsher elements, but nonetheless, something every vehicle owner should be prepared for. In this article, you’ll learn why auto paint fades, how to prevent auto paint fade, and how to fix faded paint.
So, Why Does Auto Paint Fade?
Sunlight / UV Rays
In locations with more sunlight or stronger UV rays, it is common to see damage to your vehicle’s paint faster. This contributes to the oxidation of the paint, which happens with the combination of heat and oxygen.
Road contaminants like salt and chemicals can be corrosive, which if not cleaned quickly, can cause auto paint to fade. The carbon particles in air pollution can also bind to the coating of the vehicle, which will cause damage.
Improper Vehicle Washing
Keeping your vehicle clean is an essential step in avoiding auto paint fade. If you wash your car improperly using harsh chemicals, or too little, you increase the likelihood of auto paint fade.
Corrosion Due to Saltwater
For readers who live near the ocean, like the salt used to keep roads safe from ice, saltwater causes corrosion of your vehicle’s paint and even metals.
How to Prevent Auto Paint Fade
Preventing auto paint fade comes in two easy steps. But sometimes both of these aren’t as accessible for all vehicle-owners! First, make sure to park your vehicle in a garage or covered location as often as possible. Second, wash and wax your vehicle regularly and properly. Make sure to use less-harsh auto cleaning chemicals. Using wax after washing is an essential step to help protect the coating of the paint.
How to Fix Faded Auto Paint
The supplies you’ll need:
- Vehicle washing items
- Clay bar
- Vehicle buffing compound and multiple polishing pads
- Vehicle wax, polish, or paint sealant
*If available, an electric machine buffer works much better with the polishing pads.
Step 1: Wash Your Vehicle
When you’re ready to start the entire process of fixing your auto paint fade, properly wash your vehicle. Make sure to use a new sponge and car-washing soap. Thoroughly clean, rinse, and dry all areas of the vehicle.
Step 2: Use a Clay Bar for Debris Removal
Make sure to purchase a high-quality clay bar for your debris removal. Follow the recommended steps from the product you purchase. This will remove all additional dirt and grime from your vehicle, making the buffing process more successful.
Step 3: Begin the Buffing Process
To complete the buffing process, follow these steps. First, you’ll need to wet your buffing pad with water and apply the buffing compound to the pad. Then using the pad and compound, begin to buff the impacted area. Clean the area you’ve buffed with fresh water, and repeat this process as many times as possible to achieve your desired look. Once the area seems to be fixed, apply one more buffing with the compound. For more detailed instructions on this process, watch this video.
Step 4: Apply the Paint Protection Product
Now that the paint damage has been buffed out, it’s time to apply the paint protection product. You can use car wax, paint sealant, or ceramic coating. Car wax only provides a few months of protection, so if you choose this route, you’ll need to make sure to keep your vehicle clean and repeat the waxing often. Paint sealant is applied in a similar process to wax but lasts upwards of six months. Ceramic coating application requires a bit more knowledge but provides up to two years of protection. Applying this coating adds a microscopic layer of ceramic coating, which is very heat resistant, and harder than the other two options. Adding this coating will help enhance the appearance of your vehicle.
Professional Paint Restore Options
It is possible that you will go through the process outlined above to fix the faded paint on your vehicle, but will still have damage. In this case, the only way to bring back your vehicle’s original shine will be to refinish the vehicle completely. If this is the case, reach out to your trusted auto collision repair shop. If you’re in the Colorado Front Range, give us a call!