When the clear coat on your car starts to peel, flake or haze up. This kind of leaves you to a decision of what course of clear coat repair to take. There are videos of the dumbest methods of repair out there. There are also ads from body shops that want to repaint your entire car for thousands of dollars. But what if you had a low cost clear coat repair available to you?
DIY Clear Coat Repair
If you are not a do-it-yourself type of person, then this article would probably be useless to you. Well, unless you know someone that has some skills that can do this kind of clear coat repair for you. The biggest issue for many is not having all the equipment to do an actual clear coat repair.
Aside from needing a spray gun and possibly a DA sander, you have to have a compressor. The size compressor you would need to do this kind of repair will cost you at least $600. Investing this kind of money in a one time repair doesn’t make any sense. So I thought I would share this low cost clear coat repair method with you.
What Does It Mean When The Clear Coat Has Peeled, Flaked Or Hazed?
People have the wrong idea about base coat clear coat paint jobs. They think that it is just regular car paint covered with clear. This leads them into all these stupid ideas of sanding off the peel or flakes and buffing it out. This however will not work, at least not for long.
The base coat under the clear is not regular car paint. It is called a base coat for a reason. Base coat is not designed to withstand the weather or sunlight. There isn’t even a glossy finish to it. When it is sprayed on and dries, it is a matte finish. So when you watch these idiots in these videos showing you how you can buff it out. They forgot to show you what the next day looks like.
When your clear coat begins to peel, flake and haze, the clear has separated from the base coat. This is called delamination, which is basically the clear degrading. The clear is the UV protection for the base coat. Without it, the base coat, (color), would burn right off the car quickly.
What Causes Clear Coat Failure?
The number one reason clear coat fails is due to the products. If the base coat and clear coat do not bond properly when sprayed, a delamination process starts. Cheap base coat/clear coat products to not bond to each other properly. Another biggy is improper application. Car manufacturers do not have a guy in a paint booth painting cars. It isn’t done that way in mass production.
Their process is an electrostatic method. The bodies are charged electrically and the paint is drawn to it. The bad parts is, this often dries out the base coat before getting cleared. Too much time between clear coating the base coat will result in improper bonding.
Another cause is the clear coat is too thin from the start. For whatever insane reason, paint manufacturers recommend no more than two coats of clear. This is stupid, there needs to be at least three coats. But due to the cost of paint these days, they get by with two.
Unfortunately, body shops now use some clears that allows you to spray it on till you achieve the look you want. That means you may only get one coat. Of course, buffing out a car too much or even washing one way too much can thin the clear. However, never washing a car is just asking for paint failure and even rusting.
How Does Base Coat Clear Coat Work?
Base coat, what you see as the color, is not a glossy buffable paint. It is the color, including the metallics or pearls you see in a paint job. However, it also has bonding agents in it so that it can bond with the clear.
Once the base coat is applied, it has a limited time that the clear coat has to be applied on top. In painting terms, it has a flash period. Normally, the flash time between a base coat and clear is no more than 25 minutes. This means that the base cost is still soft and the clear will basically melt into it.
If you allow the base coat to dry too long, the clear is just laying on top of the base and will eventually come off.
The base coat is not a paint to be buffed out or exposed to the elements, like sun and weather. So when you watch these morons in these videos. Showing you how cool they are sanding back the flakes and buffing it out. Just know, it will dull back out right away and deteriorate soon after.
There low cost clear coat repair will not work at all and you are just wasting your time and money. I know you are looking for the fastest and cheapest method, but understand. When the clear has flaked off, there is nothing left to fix. You have to replace it.
How To Make A Low Cost Clear Coat Repair?
First off, as I mentioned, when the clear has peeled and flaked off, there is nothing left to repair. When it is gone, it is gone. So understand, you have to put more clear back on, there are just no two ways about it.
Unfortunately, spray painting a car, most people find intimidating. Most people think that you have to have a lot of professional auto body and paint tools. I would agree to that if you are wanting to paint an entire car and want a high quality look. But for repairing panels, there is an alternative.
Spray can products have come along way since the day when they were considered just rattle cans. I know what you might be thinking, spray can stuff won’t last or even work. Well, not true! Today’s spray can products are the equivalent of what is put on at factory.
The clear coat on cars is a catalyzed urethane. Catalyzed just means that the clear hardens through a chemical reaction and not by air flow. The difference is, an air dry clear will not last and not provide the gloss. Catalyzed, which is known a “2K”, is high gloss and long-lasting, which is now provided in a spray can. Read more on the Difference Between 2K and 1K Clear Coats.
Starting The Repair
Depending on what kind of damage you have, a level of sanding is going to have to occur. One repair that might be harder than you think is when the clear has hazed. When hazed, this means that the clear is letting lose from the base coat. The challenge here is, you are going to need to sand the clear away.
The reason is. Any thing you spray over the hazed clear won’t last. The hazed clear is fixing to flake off. Any paint you put on it will cause it to come off faster. The solvents in the base coat and clear will act like paint remover.
Repairing Hazed Clear
This can be time consuming, some money and will require a sander. Here again, you may think you are going to need a compressor and pneumatic dual action sander. Good news is, not true. You can get an electric DA sander HERE. However, once you start buying equipment, your low cost clear coat repair will start getting expensive.
The clear will most likely sand away fairly easy if you use between 180 and 220 grit for the initial sanding. If it seems to be sanding away really easy, try using 320 grit. Try your best not to sand through the base coat. Once you get all the haze sanded away, wet sand the area with 400 grit sandpaper.
Due to the excessive sanding, I highly recommend using a primer. Ensure that is is a sandable primer. Wet sand the primer with 400 grit sandpaper. Apply your matched base coat color, then 2K clear coat.
Repairing Flaked Or Peeling Clear Coat
Again, sanding required but shouldn’t be as much as hazed clear. In this type of sanding, you want to feather out the broken edges of the clear. Now there are videos out there that show to sand with 1000 grit sandpaper. This is NOT correct. 600 grit and above is for color sanding and buffing.
At minimum, you will want to wet sand with 400 grit. It most cases, you will knock down the broken edges of the clear with 320 grit and then go back over with 400. The same as above, try not to sand through the base color.
Primer is always the best way to get a smooth level surface. However, if you got the clear and base to feather back far enough, you can just apply matched base coat and 2K clear. Even adding primer and sandpapers won’t affect this being a low cost clear coat repair.
The reason you want to apply the base coat color over what you sanded is to hide the repair. If you just applied clear coat over what you sanded, it will still look messed up. If you don’t believe me or in doubt, just cover it with water. You can also watch me demonstrate this in my video, “How To Repair Clear Coat Truth Revealed”.
Always Clear The Entire Panel
You may think you can just spray clear to the damaged area and it will magically blend in. It will not and look horrible. If you are repairing peeling on your hood. Once you get the peeling sanded and feathered back. Sand the entire hood down with 400 grit, wipe with grease wax remover.
Use a tack cloth; spray your base coat over the damaged area only to blend the color back in. Then clear the entire hood. This will cause the job to look very professional and you won’t be able to tell it was damaged.
$70 Low Cost Clear Coat Repair
Technically, if you already have some sandpapers and you just have some mild peeling clear. All you really need is the base coat and clear coat. The base coat runs around $35, the clear about $35. That should include some shipping, which comes to around $70.
Even if you spent about $150 on a panel repair. This is still better than $800 to $2000 a body shop will charge you. To give you a ball-park idea of what a repair cost. If you have a fender with peeling clear at the top. You will have the expense of the sandpapers. There will need some grease-wax remover to wipe it down with. Mask off the rest of the car from the fender. Then add in the base coat and clear coat. This should all run you around $110.
There is a place you can get everything you need to make a repair or paint an entire car. AutomotiveTouchup is the leader in matched base coats. They provide all the materials to make auto body repairs and paint. The best part is, they make it possible to do a low cost clear coat repair job.
I created an eBook, “Auto Body Repair Guide And Tips,” that I sell on Amazon and other places. However, if you would like to find out more about Automotive Touchup, I will give you the book for free. If you are wanting to learn the tricks of the trade. Including building your own paint booth, get my book below…