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Paint and Body Maintenance & Repair



  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    all sorts of stuff out there. lots of "wax" also contains abrasives, look for "removes oxidized paint" in the fine print, or things like silicon dioxide (sand) in the ingredients.

    "bonds with the finish" is a little iffy for me, because you have to wipe it off with a dry rag afterwards, right?

    any wax over a brand new paint job is not good, because the paint has to breathe out the last solvent to finish setting up a tight film for a week or two.

    other than that, it is much better to wax a clean car to keep the nasties away than it is to drag spikes over the finish, rub in kosher salt, and spray it down with hot fuming acid.
  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    The current paints used by the manufacturers are plenty cured by the time a new car reaches you. Even aftermarket paint cures a lot faster than it did 10 years ago. I would be willing to say that (almost) any wax or polymer protectant is probably better than none. But seeing as it is a lot of work, why not go with the best? And why not stay away from abrasives until your car has aged and the paint needs that polishing effect to remove any dulness and oxidation? Besides, if you need to polish out oxidation or scratches, why not use a proper polish or glazing compound? Do it right, and then put you abrasive-free protectant finish back on? There are 2 main categories of protectants. True wax, the majority which are or contain carnauba, and polymers. Each has it's pros and cons. The other consideration to the car's finish is what you use to apply and remove the protectant so you do not introduce swirls in the paint surface.

    There are two discussion groups at Edmunds devoted to this. "Store Bought Waxes" and Zaino Car Polish".
  • versus hand waxing. I have been told wax does not last long in my area because of the sun, and hand waxing is time consuming. What do you think about taking it to the drive through car wash and having the car washed and waxed by the machines?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    but it's a thinner coat
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    Since the brushes, rags, detergents, recycled water with grit, etc., are all pretty hard on the finish, have you thought of having a coat of paste wax applied (about $70 locally) once every six months or so then hosing the car off every 10 days or 2 weeks? If you keep it out of the car washes and use carwash detergent, if anything more than high hose pressure, the wax will last quite awhile. And it's a good excuse to be outside, to boot.

  • I live in Florida, and heard the suns burns the wax off pretty fast. Any truth in this? I would think hard shell wax would last at least three months. It sounds like you don't like the car wash idea too much.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    I'm not the expert some of these other posters are, but I know in New England -- with salt on the roads and constantly varying temperatures -- a coat of wax lasts me 4 to 6 months with hand/hose washing & cheap auto suds.

    But no, I'm not fan of car washes. I've seen a new coat of wax disappear in a couple of washes that way, along with fine scratches (on dark finishes). But the thing about the sun burning off the wax sounds suspicious to me. Why not try a coat of wax and see how long it lasts?

    In addition, with the sort of washing I'm describing, there are people on some of the boards here who claim that some of the new polymers will last up to a year. I doubt that, too, as it sounds extreme.

  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    ... uhhh, wait a minute, you weren't talking about putting them ON THE CAR, were you? that's a whole different issue ;)
  • bird droppings? I live in Florida, and I love animals, but I am getting a little frustrated. They seem to hone in on my car with laser precision. What is the best way to clean this? They dry pretty hard, I figure it could scratch the paint cleaning it. Are there any special quick detailing type products out there for this? What do you recommend?
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    A good coat of wax, then a hose as soon as you see it. If it has already dried, try a wet sponge just laying on top of it for a minute or so; this will soften the goop so that most of it can be hosed off. If you have the wax you most likely won't scrape the car getting it off; if you don't, water still won't hurt a thing.
  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Wax - detergents such as dishwashing soap will strip the wax off your car. To keep it protected, only use detergents formulated for cars. In general, polymers will last longer but historically have not had the shine that carnuba wax offers. Some of the newer polymers do get good shines though. I like Zaino myself. It's a mail-order product. See the discussion thread on this board. Before I switched to Zaino, I used Meguire's carnuba wax every couple of months, with an application of their quick detailing spray wax after every wash or two.

    bird stuff - is very hard on your car's finish, but a good protectant will help. Getting it off as quick as possible helps too. Put a wet-soapy rag over the dried on stuff for several minutes to lossen it up.
  • My dad has been talking about taking a course in automotive welding. If he does that, of course, he's going to want a project to work on, so he feels like he's learned something useful. However, this would have to be a nonessential project, something done just for fun that doesn't have to come out perfect.

    So, recently the opportunity came up for me to get a 1986 Buick Skylark (N-body, not X-body) for free. I've seen the car; I didn't get to start it up, but I checked it out. Under the hood looked clean, no obvious oil leaks. The fluids were all full and the trans fluid looked clean, though it could use an oil change and a new air filter. The interior was not bad, needed a good cleaning and a new headliner. The catch is that the car was wrecked in the rear. The rear quarter panel and wheelhouse are smashed in. The car is still driveable; the rear wheels and shocks are not damaged, and the taillight bar and trunk lid are fine. The current owners drove the car for two months in this condition. It appears to be just the left rear quarter and wheelhouse that are crunched.

    So, I'm wondering, would it be possible to find one of these cars in a junkyard, torch off a section of the body, cut off the damaged area on this car, and just weld in the new rear quarter? I don't have to make this decision anytime soon, as the Buick is sitting in a friend-of-a-friend's driveway and probably will stay there and rust into nothing before they get rid of it. It's just a thought that I had. Opinions?

    -Andrew L
  • I will start letting it soak in water for a while before cleaning, I think that will help a lot.
  • alternatoralternator IndianaPosts: 628
    I have a minor compression dent in my front door (maybe 1/8" deep, 3-4" in diameter). Can anyone tell me from experience if a "suction cup dent puller" such as shown on the following web pages is likely to work on my dent?

    Thanks for any advice.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    You'd be further ahead to have someone like Dent Doctor (or whatever they're called in your city) do it. They'll have the expertise and tools to remove the dent without breaking the paint or stretching the metal.
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    is right. have a pro do it. ask any auto body shop who they use to do there paintless dent removal. they can set it up for you.
  • I have a few chips in the paint of my 2003 Mustang (blue). For some reason, I wonder if the paint may be prone to chipping on this model or on Fords with this type paint? The chip goes through the blue and to a white color. Is the best thing to do to get touch up paint from the Ford dealer and dab it on the chipped spots, or is there something else I should be doing? Thanks!

    BTW, I hate birds. I don't know what they like about my car so much. Someone told me blue attracts birds. I don't believe it. Does anyone know if this is true?
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    New environmental regs a few years back have made it so the paint on new cars is water based and comparatively soft. Darker colors, in addition, show chips more than the lighter.

    You can use touch up paint but it is nearly impossible to get it so it's 'invisible.' I've even done some I'm embarrassed to say that have looked worse when I'm done!

    As a result, the 3M (and other products) plastic sheeting (invisible bra) has become very popular. You may know about it. It can be installed reasonably and, to my way of thinking, is worth it if you're going to keep your daily driver and want it to look good.

    The only downside I've heard of is that people who like a huge shine to their paint complain that it looks duller to them and they don't like the faint line the edge of the material shows across the surface.

  • but I might think I am a bit late, as I've had my car awhile. Does the sheeting cover just the front of the car, or the hood also? The only downside is that it sounds like the automotive equivalent of a "pocket protector" like the nerds use, and that is not the impression I want.
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    What jwilson is talking about is transparent so no one will know its there unless the look VERY closey. and the thin peice of plastic dosent cover the bumper or anything, just about six inches or so up the hood and wraps underneath the hood to prevent chipping.
  • they are made out of latex, one popular manufacturer is Trojan.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    just over the wipers :-D

    it's very similar if not identical to the plastic cladding they used on the underside and splash surfaces in the 90 ranger, among other cars. if I hadn't gotten a strip of hood munged up by a cheap windscreen pressing against it on the road, I would lay the sheeting down as soon as it got warm enough to work.
  • but maybe not as much fun. And now they make them in different colors too.
  • Anybody know the compositon of manufacturer applied paint sealant? My 7 month old white vehicle has it and it's durability is surprising. I was a meguire 3-step believer for 8 years but I don't have the time to continue this procedure on this bigger rig. However, I do want to increase and/or maintain the paint protection I currently have with minimal time investment. The dealership has a sealant protector they sell that will "maintain the sealant integrity better than anything on the market". I would expect such a comment from them. They claim once or twice a year is adequate. I'm receptive to trying the "miracle product without equal". I've perused the Zaino and wax boards and I'm still on the fence as to the identity of this product.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    hmmmm..... I don't think I've ever heard of a mfr that applies a paint sealant. Which mfr is this? I have contacts in the surface care products industry and can ask them.

    How exactly do you know the mfr applied a sealant? Did it come with a warranty? Who wrote the warranty?

    The majority of dealer-applied paint sealants are nothing special. Lots of companies mfr and sell sealants. You can buy some of them at retail for about $10/bottle. A number of large dealer chains have supply agreements with certain suppliers to provide sealants. For example, all the Rick Hendrick dealerships get their paint sealants from one supplier in Charlotte. Rumor is that he's one of Rick's good ol' boys. This is the stuff Hendrick dealers push on every new car sold. I forgot what they call it..... Auto Armor or something. Not a total rip but a 99% rip.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    they don't.

    virtually all cars are painted with a basecoat and clearcoat combination, if that's what you mean. the clearcoat is the same solvent and paint resin base as the paint, except there is no color mixed in with it. the basecoat is intensely more infused with colorant, metal flake, etc.

    as for dealer "paint sealants"... repeat after me... It's Only Waxing. It's Only Waxing......
  • Gulf States Toyota applied the sealant according to the dealership manager who sold me the vehicle. I have no proof other than the sticker that lists everything that comes with the $1300 protection package, (which I didn't order but he "gave" it to me for $600). I suppose it's possible that nothing was applied. However, water beads up on its surface like its recently been waxed and the finish (when freshly washed) is still as smooth as a baby's butt. Tar, bugs, mud and bird droppings come off with minimal effort. If this is how new paint performs with nothing on it then why does anyone bother protecting their finishes with waxes, polymers,etc? Whatever is on this vehicle appears to be as good or better than the meguire products I've used.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    I don't understand it, but something similar happened to me. The initial coat of dealer wax (I had them detail it before I picked it up) lasted nearly a year on my wife's Subaru. So, when it finally quite beading, I took the car back to them and this time paid for the waxing ... it only lasted like a regular coat. I have no idea what it was.

  • I called they told me my truck did not have a clear coat. They supposedly confirmed it using my vin number. I, too, have a tendency not to trust the dealerships but my eyes aren't fooling me. I was told that its common for white vehicles to not have a clearcoat finish. It is possible that Gulf States Toyota does in fact have something that works better than the average wax/polymer. Something foolproof so that anyone can apply it on a new finish without ruining it.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    but if they can't put the same stuff on a year later when you go in for detailing, it's all so very suspicious to me.

    especially since you can't seem to get a car without the Unicorn Ear Wax / Kryptonite Undercoat / VIN-etched windows / all-important ADP sticker addition (Additional Dealer Profit - yes, some dealers do this).

    it sounds like... yes... Bait And Switch! gouge 'em while they're signing so many papers they can't read the darn things! customer auto-screw! no car sold without brother-in-law insurance!

    do be sure to go in for their recommended air rotation in the tires each quarter, and for the draining of extra ads from the radio. it's on the service list, it must be needed.

    sheesh, will these slimy sales techniques never end?
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