How to Make Old Car Paint Look New

January 27, 2012

Making old car paint look new is something a lot of people desire but aren't always sure how to accomplish. With so many products available, it is easier than ever to restore old paint to a like new appearance. Cars should always be washed and waxed in the shade and the surface should not be hot to the touch; this helps eliminate water spots and makes waxing or polishing the car much easier.

Step 1: Thorough Rinsing

One step often overlooked by car owners is the importance of thoroughly washing a car. The car should first be rinsed to remove as much dust and dirt as possible, to eliminate the risk of scratching the finish.

Step 2: Washing and Drying

It should then be washed with an automotive style sponge, using a detergent made specifically for automotive applications. The use of harsh household detergents and can cause damage to the paint finish. Wash and rinse the car, one section at a time, starting with the roof. Once the car has been thoroughly washed and rinsed, dry it using an automotive style microfiber cloth or soft cloth.

Step 3: Cleaning the Paint

A car that is badly oxidized will require a product formulated to remove the oxidation. Some companies make what is called a paint cleaner, which is used to remove surface contaminants after washing and prior to waxing or polishing.

Step 4: Deciding between Wax and Polish

Waxes and polishes come in liquid, cream and spray on formulas, with some colored to match the car paint color. This can help to improve the overall appearance of the finish. Car waxes are usually made of carnuba or synthetic wax, and while they tend to produce a much better shine than a polish, they must be frequently reapplied. Car polishes may also contain wax, but they generally contain polymers that better adhere to the paint, giving it better protection. Some people recommend polishing the car first and then waxing it; the idea being that polish provides added protection, while a coat of wax will give the finish more shine. A car that has faded paint might benefit most from polishing and waxing.

Step 5: Applying Car Wax or Polish

Many professional detail shops use orbital polishers during the waxing or polishing process; however, if not done correctly, an orbital polisher can actually damage and in some cases remove paint from the finish. Car wax or polish should be applied in a circular motion to one section at a time. Most automotive products will require that it be allowed to haze prior to removing. Once the product has hazed it can then be removed using a soft cloth or microfiber cloth. Remove the product using a circular motion and turn the cloth frequently.

Restoring old car paint can be as simple as a thorough washing and the use of a high quality polish or wax. Using car rust paint to touch up any imperfections can also greatly improve the appearance. Proper maintenance will keep old car paint protected and drastically improve its appearance.

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