MOTOR CLINIC

How to maintain your car's paint

Not all regions share the same PH levels in water.

In Summary

•  On the inside, the paintwork is meant to protect the vehicles metalwork from rusting. 

• There are many factors affecting the natural shine.

Paintwork on a vehicle.
Paintwork on a vehicle.
Image: BOOSTED AUTO

While car paint preparation is a process by itself, maintaining it is another task that should be embraced by all vehicle owners.

Whether your car is a brand-new purchase, newly painted or it's just a fresh second-hand import, sparkling and shiny paint in tip-top condition is everyone's dream but seldom does it glow for longer periods as desired. Perhaps the few who have tried to fulfil the hard ways of maintenance have been termed paranoid.  In reality, vehicles paint maintenance is not easy and must be handled with care. 

 Due to lack of knowledge, many people have taken their cars to body shops for paintwork hoping to retain a fresh look but within a short time the glow fades away leading to questions like "was the paintwork up to standard?" 

   It takes more than just the quality of paint if a lifetime glow is to be achieved from an automobile. It is important to realize that paints are made from several chemicals which are specially formulated to protect the vehicle both from inside and outside. 

 On the inside, the paintwork is meant to protect the vehicles metalwork from rusting while at the same time creating a waterproof environment across the entire car from the outside. 

 There are many factors affecting the natural splendid shine of a vehicles paint namely: 

 Car wash

Washing a car is meant to keep it clean but if you fail to wash it correctly, it may turn out to be the opposite of the intended purpose. We shall subdivide car wash procedures into different categories for easy understanding 

Water and soap. 

Not all regions share the same PH levels in the water. Some are more acidic than others. We learned that paint is made up of chemicals and acid in water harms it. To avoid guesswork on acidy levels in car wash it's usually advisable to buy your car washing soap from the supermarket. They have special additives to lower PH levels unlike homemade detergents used by most carwash guys.

 Debris: 

When the car moves on the road the tyres slung up small debris on the vehicles lower body. Sometimes when not properly removed during car wash, they contribute a lot to scratching the clear coat hence making it have a dull look. 

  The first step in a car wash should be spraying the car with high-pressure water from top to bottom. By so doing, this ensures that all small sand-like debris goes down before washing commences. 

Spraying water from the roof to the bottom is to make good use of gravity thus ensuring enough water softens debris.

  Washing cloth:

washing materials also play a major role in keeping the paintwork smooth. Microfiber cloth or chamois cloth is anti-scratch cloth material found in major supermarkets (car section) that should be used for vehicle body wash. Most car wash use  "gunia" material which is not advisable to use on the vehicle body. (this is only good for washing rims and tyres ). Wash design should only be limited in one direction (left to right) and not circular motion which most car wash guys do. Washing the car along the grain minimises chances of scratching it. Once the car has been washed, soap should be rinsed off with clean water and dried out using a clean microfibre cloth. Having your microfibre cloth saves a lot because you always give it to car wash guys no matter where  you are doing it from. 

  Detailing

It is advisable to carry out vehicles paintwork detailing once in a while. Even though it is time-consuming, detailing removes a dull oxide formed on the paint and restores your vehicles shine for a longer period before another oxide forms on it again. 

Detailing comprises extreme body wash, full-body buffing, waxing and to some extend ceramic coating the paint. 

  Shades 

Direct sunlight is dangerous on paint as it weakens its pigments making it vulnerable to any small injuries and so is acid rain because it alters the chemical composition of the paint thus making its shiny crisp fade away. It is hard to avoid all these because we drive our cars in the open air. But we can avoid this when it comes to parking our cars. Driving them in open-air then parking them in open-air worsens the situation. A well-built shelter protects direct sunlight/rain. Basement parking works best. Having a leaking shade made from old ion sheets may also compromise the paint a lot.

  Many people prefer parking their cars under trees but this may never be the best option. 

Most trees may drop leaves on the car which produce sap that corrodes paint. 

Some trees also have fruits or seeds with hardcore shells. This can drop down and dent the car, especially in rainy & windy seasons. 

Trees also act as harbors for birds. When birds are in their natural habitats the inevitable is bound to happen.  Birds droppings are also acidic. Once on the body of the vehicle, it takes a few hours to soften the paint and leave a mark at the next car wash. In short trees are a no-go zone for car parks unless you know what kind of a tree it is.

 

The writer is the owner of Boosted Auto vehicle repair shop