One of the biggest factors affecting the overall look and resale value of a vehicle is the condition of its paint. Whether you plan to keep your car for many years to come or trade it in, maintaining the paint job can make a big difference. That’s why preventing and treating paint oxidation is one thing that every car owner should know.
Learn more about what paint oxidation is, how to prevent it and how to treat oxidation damage on your car.
What Is Paint Oxidation?
Have you ever noticed that paint on older cars seems to lose its shine? Car paint is slowly damaged over time as it’s exposed to the elements. Oxidation is a form of corrosion that happens when the chemicals in vehicle paint break down. With regular use and age, the paint dries out and loses its oil content. Heat and oxygen speed up this process, which is why limiting UV exposure is an important preventative measure.
What Does Paint Oxidation Affect a Car?
Oil in the paint is responsible for giving the car that glossy, smooth effect. You can see how oxidation decreases this. Car paint will begin to appear flat and dull in the early stages of oxidation. Next, the color will fade and become noticeably less vibrant. As it progresses, the surface of the paint will start to feel rough and dusty. Then, the clear coat will begin to flake off in patches. At this point, the body of the car is at greater risk because the metal is exposed to other corrosive agents, like rust. That’s why prevention and treatment is so important to protecting the value and integrity of the vehicle.
Can Paint Oxidation Be Prevented?
Unfortunately, science hasn’t figured out a way to stop time yet. The corrosive process of oxidation can’t be stopped, but it can be significantly slowed down. There are a few measures that any car owner can take to keep oxidation at bay. These are especially important now, as the sunny summer months approach.
- Wash your car often with the right soap. Washing your vehicle regularly is always good basic car care. You should avoid doing this in direct sunlight and be sure to use special car wash products. Avoid using dishwashing soap or household cleaning detergents because these products can strip the paint of oil and its protective wax coating. Once it’s clean, dry the surface of your car thoroughly.
- Apply wax after washing. Many car owners skip this step. It takes a little extra time, but applying wax to the car will help protect the paint job. Use a car wax that is specifically formulated to prevent UV damage. This type of product should be applied at least once every season and more often if you live in a climate that gets lots of sunshine. Auto experts recommend using paste or liquid wax as it provides better coverage and lasts longer than spray wax products.
- Seek covered parking. Prolonged exposure to UV rays will damage the paint by speeding up the oxidation process. Protect the paint by keeping the car out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Whenever possible, park in a covered garage, car park or in the shade.
How Is Oxidized Paint Treated?
Restoration of the Original Car Paint
If you notice the early signs of paint oxidation, it’s best to act fast. Like with rust, the longer the corrosion is allowed to continue, the worse the paint damage becomes. Dull, faded car paint can be treated with an intensive buffing process with a liquid abrasive, followed by the application of protective wax. For minimal UV damage, this can often be enough to restore the vehicle’s shine.
Repainting the Car
Oxidized paint that shows more significant damage may require more invasive intervention. More severe oxidation is seen when the car has cloudy, white patches of paint or the clear coat has started to flake. At this point, the car may require a professional touch-up or full coat of new paint. Repainting fully restores its glossy sheen and ensures that the body of the car will be protected from further corrosion. This is a bigger investment, but it will pay off when it’s time to sell or trade in the car.
Get more information here: 5 Facts to Consider Before Getting a Car Painted.
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