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Automotive Paint Oxidation

What is paint oxidation, and what can be done to fix it?

We need oxygen to live, however, oxygen can actually contribute to your car’s death. Oxygen in the atmosphere can damage your vehicle’s paint through a process known as oxidation, which, if left completely unattended, can lead to body damage and rust. Oxygen has a tendency to strip other molecules of their electrons, which weakens the bonds between those molecules. When the bonds are sufficiently weakened, those materials (like your car’s paint) can fall apart.

Oxidation is a gradual process, but here are the telltale signs to watch out for. Initially, you might just notice a general dullness to your vehicle’s paint. Then, the paint will start to fade and the colours will appear less vibrant. Heavily oxidized paint has a cloudy or chalky surface. Finally, the clear coat might deteriorate altogether, and the unprotected paint will dissolve. If that happens, your car is extremely vulnerable to rust, and it will need to be repainted.

How to Fight Oxidation

There is nothing you can do to prevent your car’s exposure to oxygen, but there are many things you can do and tools you can use to protect your car from the effects of oxidation. If your car is showing the signs of oxidation, here is something you can do to help restore it:

  • Move your car into the shade, ideally where the temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius.
  • Wash your car using an automotive soap and soft cloth or mitt, and dry it thoroughly.
  • Find a product that is designed to remove oxidation from cars. Polishing compounds will remove moderate oxidation, while a rubbing compound should be used for heavy oxidation.
  • Working in small areas, apply the compound to the paint and remove it quickly. Repeat this process until the oxidation is completely gone.
  • After removing the oxidation, waxing your car will help protect it against re-oxidizing. Automotive wax covers your car in a thin, hard shell that protects the clear coat and paint from oxidization and sun damage.
  • If your headlights are also showing signs of oxidation, you can clean them with a headlight cleaner.

How to Prevent Oxidation

Regular maintenance is the best way to protect your vehicle from oxidation. One thing you can do is wax your car every few months, and park your car indoors and/or use a car cover. The best protection available on the market today comes from Ceramic Coatings; read more about these right here. Following these simple tips can protect your car from oxidation, and keep your car looking beautiful.

Are You Having a Paint Oxidation Problem?

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