What Causes Peeling Clear Coat
You mostly see the clear coat peeling on older cars that have been parked outside for years.
The clear coat is the top-most layer that comprises the paint of your vehicle. Its a type of synthetic polymer substance usually an acrylic or urethane plastic. These are pretty durable, as its their job to protect the paint and primer layers from just about anything. Clear coats are resistant to UV rays and most chemicals found in the environment.
The reason clear coats peel is because there isnt a proper bond to the underlying color coat. As the clear eventually deteriorates and wears off, the lack of adhesion will cause the clear around the damaged area to peel back, starting a chain reaction that requires immediate repair.
Nothing lasts forever. Prolonged exposure to the sun, and specifically to UV radiation, will eventually deteriorate and break down any type of plastic. It doesnt happen overnight, but give it years and the plastic will begin to fade, discolor, dry out, and become brittle. This is true for all plastic trim inside and out of the vehicle, and the clear coat is no exception.
The matte surface of the spot is the paint layer. There is no clear coat its completely gone. The white flaky stuff around the spot is the edges of your clear coat. Once the process has started, it wont stop on its own. As more area is exposed to the elements, contamination will get underneath the clear coat and accelerate the peeling until the entire panel is stripped.
A Warning: Dont Use Thinners Or Solvents To Remove Clear Coat
Aside from all the preparation, the actual removal requires precision and focus.
If youre too heavy-handed while sanding or buffing, you can burn through healthy paint. Plus, youll have to set aside a good chunk of time. Rushed aesthetic modifications will rarely look as good as those with a slow, steady approach.
For these reasons, some people tend to sway towards using lacquer thinners or other solvents. After all, solvents are used for dissolving, loosening or diluting other substances.
However, we dont suggest you use them. You wont have any control over what the solvent does once its on your vehicle.
If you rinse it off too soon, it wont have been effective. Wait too long, and the chemical can eat through your paint. A powerful enough compound will burn right through to the bare metal.
Thees just not enough margin for error, and use of thinners or solvents will result in damaged paint a high percentage of the time. So avoid at all costs.
Clear Coat Edge Repair
1) First, clean the area to be repaired of organic contamination. A glass cleaner with alcohol works well for this.
2) Next, clean it of any inorganic materials with a solvent based cleaner like Eastwood PRE paint prep and a clean rag.
3) Next, use a fine grit grey non-woven pad to scuff the paint in the area of the repair and about one inch to either side of it. Then wipe it off again with more PRE paint prep.
4) Mask around the area to be prepared. Since the paint that the masking is going over is suspect, its a good idea to whet the tape by running it over something like your pant leg to remove a lot of the stickiness. Kevin is using a technique called back masking, in which you stick the center of the tape to what will be the edge of your repair area, then fold it back. This gives you a softer line and lets you fine tune exactly what is going to be masked without having to peel and stick several times.
5) Pop the button on the bottom of the 2K spray can and shake well. The aerosol flows and covers well, so there is no need to try to put a thick coat on. Spray your first coat and then leave it to flash.
6) After about five minutes, the 2K should be dry to the touch and not tacky. Do a touch test, and if it passes, its time for the second coat.
7) Spray a second quick light coat, same as the first, and the paint is done.
Blending Repaired Clear into Old Clear Coat
Here is how you blend the repair:
Question and Answer Time
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Trust A Professional Body Shop
You rely on your car every day and want to maintain your investment for years to come. So, get the best service available. Take your vehicle to an experienced body shop for a quality paint job, guaranteed.
How To Repair Clearcoat Defects
How to Repair Clear Coat Kevin Tetz Shows the Best Way to Fix Paint
Since the 1980s, automotive manufacturers have been painting cars with two-stage base coat/clear coat systems. That may not seem all that long ago to some of us older guys, but these cars are now 30 years old and entering prime project car territory. Because drivetrain technology had hit its stride by then, cars like 5.0 Mustangs are still running and driving just fine. However, many cars from the 80s and 90s have clear coat paint that is just peeling and flaking off in chunks. Some cars, like the Plymouth Neon, seemed to have paint and clear coat failing before they were even off lease.
The bad news is, you cant just sand for adhesion and respray clear coat. Modern urethane paints are thermoset paints. This means that once they dry they wont flow again. The clear coat creates a strong chemical bond with the still slightly wet paint and locks in. You can sand for adhesion and spray a new coat of clear over the base, but it will never lock in, and it will always sit on top of the old clear at the edges. The new clear coat will never be as strong as the original and will fail much quicker.
The only option for a proper, permanent repair is to sand the whole car and respray color and clear.
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Removing The Old Clear Coat
Is Cutting The Same As Buffing
No, it isnt. Cutting clear coats are done with ultra-fine sandpaper. And buffing is performed by an orbital buffer. Buffing removes swirl marks, scratches, and other imperfections that you wouldnt be able to see with the naked eye.
Cutting alone makes it look like its new again. However, clear coats that have been cut will not be as clear as those buffed.
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How To Fix Clear Coat
This article was co-authored by Angel Ricardo. Angel Ricardo is the owner of Ricardo’s Mobile Auto Detail headquartered in Venice, California. With over 10 years of experience in mobile detailing, Angel continues to attend auto detailing trainings to improve his customer service and auto detailing skills.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 136,203 times.
Over exposure to the sun and the elements can cause the clear coat on your car to start to peel. Instead of getting a new paint job done on your car, which can be very costly, you can try fixing the clear coat yourself. Start by sanding away the old clear coat. Once the old clear coat is removed, you can reapply a new clear coat. If you need to blend in the old clear coat with the new one, lightly sand the area and polish your car like new.
Heres What Will Not Fix A Peeling Clear Coat
So, how do you fix a peeling clear coat?
We have to break it to you. Theres no easy fix, no magic product, no trick to deal with a peeling clear coat in 15 minutes. Once the clear is gone, its gone. The only thing that can replenish the finish is more clear coat, and this is neither quick nor easy.
To save you some time and frustration, heres whats already been tried and tested to not work.
Dont waste your time with silly repairs. Stick to the end of this article to find out how you can solve the problem yourself.
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Find The Biggest Chip Nick Or Scratch
If this is the first time youve attempted car paint touch-up work, chances are youve got quite a few chips, nicks and scratches in your vehicles paint job to choose from. Start by doing a thorough examination of the entire painted surface, and identify the biggest, ugliest flaws. Youll be fixing these first. Once youve learned the process and gotten some practice, you can come back and fix the small stuff.
Quick Steps To How To Apply Clearcoat:
Still not sure how to apply clearcoat or have general questions? Call us at or email us and wed be happy to help!
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What You Need To Know
Your cars clear coat withstands high pressure and significant abuse every day of its life. Of course, there are the obvious things like bumps, scrapes, water, soil, hail, gravel, bugs, tar, bird droppings and all kinds of other objects. But the most damaging thing your clear coat faces all day, every day is ultraviolet radiation from the sun. These UV rays are the primary cause of both oxidation and peeling clear coats. Oxidation, while serious, isnt our primary focus in this article, so well save the science behind that issue for another day.
Your clear coat starts to peel after the suns UV rays penetrate through the clear coat and start attacking the bond between the color coat of paint and the clear coat on top. Typically, this happens because the body panels of your car expand and contract ever-so-slightly in hot and cold temperatures. Eventually, after this happens over and over again, year after year, the clear coat loses some of its elasticity and starts to craze and crack. Even at a microscopic level, these weak points in the protective layer become doorways for UV rays to pass through. With too much exposure, the UV rays break down the bond between the paint and clear coat, and the clear coat begins to lift away from the color coat underneath.
How To Remove Clear Coat From Car Step By Step Guide
Last Updated | By C.E.H
If you are a car owner. You must know that a cars beauty is in its exterior. The car paint is the main part of the exterior, as well.
You should focus on your car paint maintenance, and that is why you need to learn how to remove a clear coat.
A clear coat is a transparent layer of paint that not only protects the colored car paint but also makes it last longer. When its function is starting to fail, you need to remove it by full concentration and proper steps.
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Rectifying Your Cars Peeling Clear Coat
You can take your car to a body shop for a quality solution. There, your car will be stripped and have a primer and basecoat applied to it. This option results in a quality, long-lasting solution, but it isnt cheap.
Alternatively, if you are a do-it-yourself driver interested in saving a bit of cash, there is a way you can resolve your cars peeling coat yourself. You will have a good-looking vehicle, but the solution wont last as long as that experienced after visiting the body shop.
You will need a few tools for the job degreaser, car wash supplies, aerosol clear coat, microfiber cloth, painters tape, and sandpaper. For a professional-looking finish, you could get a spray gun.
Start by using a degreaser to remove any leftover wax. After this, clean the whole panel with your chosen car wash supplies to remove the earlier used degreaser along with any possible contaminants.
Grab the painters tape and tape off the affected area. Place the tape about an inch from the damaged area to be safe. Using the sandpaper, sand down the damaged coat until you can no longer feel it. Lightly sand the surrounding area as well. Once youve done that, wipe the sanded area with the cloth dipped in isopropyl alcohol.
If not, slowly pull off the tape at an angle facing away from the rectified area. You will notice that the area you just repaired doesnt match the rest of the panel. Depending on the conditions, leave the coat to dry for a period ranging between a one and 24 hours.
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Spray On The Clear Coat
Apply several coats of clear coat, allowing the recommended drying time between coats. Gradually work the clear coat into the surrounding painted areas to achieve a smooth blend line. This is the hardest part because all clear coats run easily and that will ruin the look of your paint job. If you create a run in the clear coat, youll have to let it dry for at least 48 hours before attempting to fix it with fine-grit sandpaper and polishing compound. Then youll have to respray the sanded area. So practice spraying on a scrap piece of cardboard to get a feel for the nozzle and the speed of application.
Using an old cotton T-shirt or microfibre cloth and buffing compound, hand-buff the repaired area. Dont use a polishing machine for this step. Wait at least 30 days before waxing.
What Is A Buffing Compound
A buffing compound is a clear liquid or a paste solution applied on clear coats with a foam applicator. It helps get rid of scratches, swirls, and other imperfections in clear coats. Buffing compounds come in different forms depending on your preference. For example, a toothpaste-like buffing compound can be used for small jobs. Spray-on and liquid varieties are meant for large jobs.
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Why A Clear Coat
Maintaining the exterior of your vehicle lengthens the life of the car. A clear coat protects and prevents damage to the paint. Without the extra layer, paint can peel away and eventually lead to rust. Basically, this causes deterioration over time to the structure of the body. Applying clear coat products are the first defense to your car exterior.
Can You Remove Clear Coat Scratches
Fortunately, clear coat scratches tend to be the most common paint scrape on the planet, and are by far the easiest to remove.
In order to eliminate this form of paint marring, a polishing method known as paint correction must be implemented, which sounds a lot more intimidating than it actually is.
Paint correction typically involves applying a cutting/polishing compound to a surface area via the use of an electric orbital polisher and a microfiber buffing pad. As the pad circulates, the varying grades of compound cut into the clear coat, slowly polishing away the scratch, layer, after layer, after layer, until it is no longer visibly or physically detectable.
Quick Nerd Note: Due to being advertised as a quick-fix solution, liquid scratch removers are one of those hassle-free options many people gravitate toward. Unfortunately, these products dont typically last very long, and when applied in excess, a liquid scratch remover will stand out like a turd in a punch bowl.
This guy is going to be fixing more than just a few surface scratches when he gets back to his garage. Photo Credit: Micah Wright
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