Piston Slap: Paint Protection Possibilities?
I’m the owner of the dark green 1999 Honda Accord Coupe that appeared in prior editions of Piston Slap. Its paint is failing (clearcoat starting to peel and gray patches showing) after many years of sun exposure here in the Dallas area and it’s time to get a new car. I have a garage to protect the car at night, but my engineering career requires that my car spend the day out in the sun on a concrete parking lot. The good news is my cars never get exposed to road salt and snow, ice, frost, and morning dew are pretty much a non-issue for cars that spend the night in a garage.
1) What color paint resists damage from sunlight best?
2) Do any waxes or other products work significantly better than others?
3) Would covered parking during the day add years to paint or are pollutants like ozone attacking the finish in the shade?
Clear coat only lasts so long, even on vehicles that spend the majority of their lives in a garage. And if you own one of those vehicles from the early 1990s that were on the losing end of paint booth/environmental regulations, the clear coat failed far too early. You could easily repaint your Accord and be happy, but maybe it’s time to find a new “paint job” to call your own.
To answer your questions:
1. I’m no experienced body shop dude, but I know a couple. Ordinary white (like you see on fleet vehicles) is probably the most durable color against the elements. And the most forgiving to hide/repair scratches, which is worth considering.
2. That’s hot button issue. I will stick with one big generality: the caranuba-based waxes don’t hold a candle to the newer polymer based waxes. I’ve even heard manufacturers mention that the polymer waxes last many months longer than the traditional stuff.
3. I think covered parking improves the lifespan of any paint job, not to mention the well-being of your rubber bits and interior fabrics. This is a no brainer….right, B&B???
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Buy a good quality car cover, use it religiously. It preserves the paint, the interior, and the plastic exterior bits from the sun.
If you want to take the lazy way out, then use a paste wax on your car every 3 months. That way, even with just a rinse most of the dirt just rinses away with the water. Also, a nicely waxed car (4 times a year is considered nicely waxed) will be so much easier to wash since the dirt just effortlessly wipes away. The drying time is cut down a little too since the water just beads off the car leaving a mostly dry surface. As for car wash, do you mean the kind where they roll your car thru a big conveyer belt and these dudes wipe it down at the end? I really don't like these since the water they use is their own recycled rinse water but you can't tell since it's so super sudsy. Also, those huge towel looking things that scrub over your car are heavy and leave tiny scratches on the clear coat. Also, when you dry your car, you should use straight strokes that are longitudinal with the car. Never in a circular pattern like ALL those dudes that dry your car at the car wash do. The circular motion creates the swirl marks that are on 99% of cars out there. A good 2 stage polish will get your car looking like new. I could totally make that cars surface that's in the pic above look like new. The clear coat is just oxidized and needs to be smoothed over with a nice 3 stage polish and a nice coat of paste wax.