Restoring Paint

Jan 2005

Does you car shine like it did when you first bought it? Have you neglected the paint over the years? Too hot, too cold, don't feel like waxing you car? Me too. But then after a year or two it looks dull and unappealing huh? But its too much of a pain in the ass to wax that dull, nasty paint and the results look crappy... meaning you can't see a reflection and its all splotchy looking. What happens is when you don't take car of the paint, supposing you don't have a clear coat, the paint oxidizes and looks really bad.

there are a couple different methods that cars are painted with a variety of materials (types of paint)

1. Old school paint - enamel, acrylic enamel, lacquer and such... Primer, Base coat and color coat

2. Old school paint with a clear coat - awesome finish if done correctly

3. Crappy new car paint - primer, thin color coat with clear coat. Don't take care of the clear... it gets brittle, flakes off and there is only a thin coat of paint and primer protecting the metal, which will soon rust.... you have seen lots of newer cars with the clear flaking off and large areas of surface rust appearing....

I am assuming that the paint is or was in decent condition, because there is a point to where you might not get the same results I got. but if the paint was trashed in the first place then so what right? Also if you have a clear coat on your paint you might end up making it come off destroying the finish. I will show you how I made my paint come back to life with a brilliant shine with a good clear reflection. Granted, if you do attempt to follow what I did - BEWARE you can destroy your paint job or make it look crappy. You could end up burning through the paint, especially if it is a really old paint job.

My paint happens to be silver metallic acrylic enamel, with no clear coat. So, when I wax it, the very top layer of oxidized paint comes off.

Certain colors are more prone to oxidizing than others, but the worst are... Gray/Silver, Red and Yellow.

If you try my process... do it on an inconspicuous spot, I am not responsible if you screw up your paint.

Things you'll need:

1. Car washing stuff

2. Clean terry cloth towels/rags (I used and old pair or sweats turned inside out)

3. Bar keepers friend, or bon ami... worse case - comet

4. Polisher/Buffer You can do this by hand but be prepared to use a lot of elbow grease.

WATCH the corners and high spots if you use a polish/buffer. I don't like the rotating ones...the ones that look like an angle grinder. They will TEAR through the paint, leaving you to say "oh shit that sucks"

5. Rubbing/Polishing compound

6. Haze remover/Finish restorer Like Nu Finish or color Back

7. Good brand of Carnuba wax (I like Mothers Wax or Meguiar's)

I tend to like the candle wax over the liquidy elephant snot type

This is what my paint looks like after 2 years of neglecting it. Now, I wash it quite frequently, but I haven't waxed it at all.

But go ahead and wash it and dry it to remove all the dirt and grime. Because the process I'll show you, dirt will scratch the paint making it look horrible

First thing I use is Bar Keepers Friend. What - a cleanser?!

Uh yeah. Trick here is don't rub too hard and keep it wet. It makes a horrible mess and leaves a white residue.

If doing by hand take even strokes, or I tried using my buffer polisher with good results.

WILL burn through the paint.

BTW I removed the light housing and latch so I could get a more uniform shine.

I use an old pair of sweats turned inside out to remove whatever product - Not the buffer/polisher.

Rinse well to remove the residue, I did find a spot where the paint was thin and I did burn through the paint in one small spot... can you see it?

Looks pretty good, but far from done.

Next step I do is use a rubbing/polishing compound. It does the same thing as the Bar Keepers friend, but it has a polish in it

Again watch the corners and high spots. Use even strokes to get a complete coverage with uniform results. If you don't then it will look splotchy

I use an old pair of sweats turned inside out to remove whatever product - Not the buffer/polisher.

Next I use a haze and scratch remover. You could also use a finish restorer like Color Back or Nu finish. Some thing that will polish the surface and remove the oxidation

Basically the step here is to polish the surface to get it looking good.

I use an old pair of sweats turned inside out to remove whatever product - Not the buffer/polisher.

The next step is to protect the paint after it is looking good, and to achieve that shine and depth of a new paint job. Typically I use Mothers Carnuba Wax it looks like pink candle wax... I ran out doing the roof, and I had this can of carnuba wax in the shed so I used it.

I use an old pair of sweats turned inside out to remove whatever product - Not the buffer/polisher.

Again WATCH CORNERS if you use a polish/buffer.

Not too shabby

And yes.... it is messy : ) but it will wash right off

I removed the emblem and did the other side the same way. Then I used the terry cloth buffing cloth on my Polisher/buffer

Before and after. Yes, that is me taking a close up of the paint. Notice how clear the reflection is?

Basically what you have done in a sense is color sanded/polished and waxed your paint. Oh yeah the cleanser also help with getting rid of some of that "orange peel" that you see in new car paint that is covered by a clear coat... : P

I also did my roof. I can't believe its the same car... now I need to do the rest of it...

So this is how I make my paint look better, I have done this on different cars over the years, so I have developed a technique I use. Your results may differ. Questions/Comments then e-mail me

- dragenwagen