Give your CAR’S paint job a birthday

Does your car's paint job need a birthday?

Does your car need a paint job

Has the paint on your car faded due to normal wear and tear and the sometimes harsh sun?

Do you have any visible scratches that you’d like to disappear?

Unappealing paint jobs on cars are frequently caused by age, weather damage, people opening their doors into the side of your car, ‘Trucking’ shopping trolleys, and being bombarded by thousands of loose stones thrown up by other cars and trucks each year. Furthermore, common paint issues that drive car owners to make costly decisions include faded paint on your hood, roof, or boot (the areas that receive the brunt of the sun’s rays), when your paint becomes so thin after many years that it begins to rub off, and the very unsightly peeling of the top coat.

If you ignore the deterioration of your paint job for an extended period of time, you may come to believe that selling your car is necessary because you now dislike looking at it.   Before you go down this extreme route, consider having your car repainted rather than selling it; you might be glad you did. There are numerous advantages to having your vehicle repainted in its original type of paint and colour if you plan to sell it as an original later on.   Alternatively, if making your car look vastly different is your goal, you could also use a different type of paint and a different colour.

Before having your car resprayed, it is best to understand the true condition of the paint job, and if you are unsure, seek qualified assistance.   Because car respraying (even minor work) is an expensive process, it is not a good idea to make a major decision in this area too quickly.

Today, we’ll look at some options for restoring your car’s lustre and putting a smile on your face. First and foremost, please avoid DIY paint touch-ups (as much as possible) unless you are educated, trained, or well-researched in this area. There are few things that look worse on a car than an uneven paint job or a simply horrible looking area where the car owner has not obtained the correct specification paint, etc.

To be honest, minor paint chipping on our prized automobiles is something we all have to deal with. If you intend to drive your car on a daily basis and travel long distances in it across a country like Australia, which is notorious for its poor road quality, you will simply have to get used to minor chips and scratches from various items either falling off vehicles or being thrown up at your car from the tyres of other vehicles.

Unless you are reasonably wealthy and don’t care how much you spend on your car, a couple of minor scratches or chips isn’t a compelling enough reason to spend the money required to restore your car to showroom condition. Sure, if the flaws/damage to your paint job is extremely unsightly for you or if it has exposed bare metal, take your car to a panel beater/spray painter shop as soon as possible, get a quote and get your paint job fixed.

Otherwise, you should wait until the condition of your paint job starts to bother you on a regular basis.   At this point, it’s usually time for a respray, but it can also be situational if you’ve entrusted your car to a qualified professional.   Despite the high cost, your car’s paint job will look brand new again after a new paint job, especially if done by a skilled professional. Once you’ve restored your car’s paint job to the point where it looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor, it’s just a matter of budgeting for that money to be spent again in about 10-15 years, or until it’s damaged enough to cause you concern again.

Take a few mins once a week to have a good look over your paint job.

ugly stone chips on your car paint job

Ignoring deep scratches and stone chips can lead to more serious issues, such as starting the corrosion process, and as you may know, once that process starts, you may not realise how bad it has truly become until it is quite severe and you suddenly have a very big problem on your hands.

Minor scratches are usually not a big deal and can sometimes be polished out. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to call a friendly panel beater/spray painter in your area. Although we are frequently fortunate, and small scratches on your car’s body can be repaired with paint correction techniques when a professional is involved, when the damage is of a certain level, the spray painter will recommend a complete respray, and in my opinion, it would be unwise to ignore the advice of a trusted professional in this area.   Using your fingernail, you can quickly determine the severity of a scratch. If your finger encounters a lot of resistance, the scratch does need to be repaired right away.

Quality automobiles can last for decades if properly maintained and serviced. However, if you’ve had your car for a long time, you might grow tired of the colour and want something new. Car respraying is an excellent way to restore the appearance of your vehicle. It can even make vintage vehicles look as good as modern evolutions.

How to prepare your car for a paint job.

preparing your car for painting

The first step is to distinguish between scratches, dents, and other problems. While car respraying will cover up scratches, it is more for cosmetic purposes; it is the damage to the panels and structure that has been covered with paint that causes your paint job to look bad. Please don’t think you can avoid the panel beating requirements if you want your car to look great again.

Please Note:

A good tip for all car owners is to avoid walking into a panel beating/paint shop of someone who has been doing their job for 20 years or more and pretend to know what you’re talking about and offer solutions.    This will irritate an experienced professional beyond comprehension. All we, the car owners, have to do is report faults, describe what’s bothering us, point out the damage, and so on. Simply explain why you’re in their workshop today.

Never compromise quality, not if you love your car.

It is not going to take 5 minutes to fix your car. You will be without your vehicle for an extended period of time, as advised by the panel beater/spray painter. Please do not bother to challenge that information; it’s not as though that person is going to turn around and say, “Ah you got me, I was only kidding, and of course you’ll have your car back in half that time.   

Naturally you’ll be eager to get your car back and avoid hiring a car for too long, sharing a ride with someone else, taking public transportation, or using another mode of transportation while your car is being repaired.

It takes time to properly fix the underlying problems, prepare, paint and top coat, all stages need to be allowed their time. 

Can I respray my car by myself?

I realise there are literally thousands of YouTubers uploading videos every week showing us all how simple it is to paint a car, but keep in mind, they are only showing you what they want you to see. They’re unlikely to show you or explain that they’ve been learning spray painting for months, if not years, before making their video. It reminds me of the DIY home improvement TV shows; there are now hundreds of articles available that reveal how fake most of that stuff is.

In any case, please avoid DIY car respraying; aside from the numerous quality issues, the respraying process can be dangerous if you don’t have the proper protective equipment; some paints emit toxic fumes, so there’s plenty to think about before letting someone convince you that painting your own car is a good idea.

The nuts and bolts details of getting your car resprayed.

painting your car

Overall, car respraying is an appealing endeavour, particularly if you want to restore the lustre of a beloved vehicle. However, because painting surfaces is mostly cosmetic, your car should be thoroughly inspected before getting a new paint job. Painting your car is pointless if the underlying structure and panels require extensive rust repair work. Contact a panel beater/spray painter if you need help detecting signs of damage. Then you can have your car resprayed, enjoy its brand-new look and feel, and not have to worry about any unpleasant surprises with the paint job in the near future.

If your car isn’t too special (it’s not an exotic Hypercar), and you’re on a tight budget, you might want to avoid respraying it with the same type of paint.   Your vehicle may have been originally built & finished with a metallic or pearlescent paint job, both of which are significantly more expensive than a solid paint finish.

A Solid Paint finish is the most common paint option for cars, usually in white, red, black, or blue, with only one base coat and a clear coat of lacquer on top. The cost of solid paint finishes is approximately $40 per litre (paint costs, not paint job costs).

If you choose a Metallic Finish for your paint job, it looks great and gives your car a brighter, shinier finish. It is made by combining aluminium powder and paint and costs around $125 per litre (paint costs, not paint job costs).

If you want a pearlescent finish on your car, this product is made from infused ceramic crystals and processed similarly to metallic paint, and adding this finish to your car can set you back an additional $3,000 and sometimes much more.

Matte paint, which I dislike, gives your car’s finish a sandy, rough texture, it’s a flat, non-reflective paint job, and it typically costs around the same as solid paint (paint costs, not paint job costs).  

A Matte paint job is very fashionable, and the painting process is nearly identical to that of solid paint, with the exception of the clear-coat. The clear-coat on a matte finish paint job dries with a rough texture rather than a smooth texture, which gives matte finish paint jobs their distinct and apparently much desired surface texture.

The method of vehicle respray is determined by the number of panels that need to be repainted or whether your car is being completely resprayed. If only a few panels need to be resprayed, they will be removed from your vehicle or masked off to avoid over-spray on other panels that don’t need to be repaired.

The affected panels will then be sanded down before a fresh coat of primer, colour, and clear coat is applied, restoring your vehicle to its original condition.

Your car will need to be disassembled before any work is done if you decide to fully repaint it. If the engine bay of your car is being painted a new colour, the engine must be removed. Every panel on your car will be sanded down and any dents fixed before a fresh coat of primer is applied. The new colour will be applied to your car’s paintwork before being covered in a fresh coat of clear coat to keep the new paintwork protected from the elements and looking glossy. 

The total cost of the paint job will naturally depend on:

1.     How much repair work was required?

2.    How willing your engine was to be removed from its bay?

3.    Whether you want to keep your car’s original colour or change it completely?

                         a.    Did you opt for a cheaper or more expensive finish than the original?

Where there is steel - there will be rust.

car rust bubble

Steel, which is created by combining iron and carbon, is used in almost every chassis and body of vehicles on the road.    Due to its low cost and simplicity in shaping using tools like stamping presses, steel is frequently used in the production of automobiles. The majority of cars are constructed from a mix of stainless steel, high carbon steel, mild (low carbon steel), and galvanised steel. 

Today’s cars are typically painted after being galvanised, giving them a barrier made of galvanised zinc. This helps prevent the underlying steel from being contaminated by pollutants and moisture.   Even with the protection of paint and galvanised zinc, the steel in our cars is always going to be potentially subject to the oxidation reaction process that leads to rust.

At best we can come up with ways to slow the rust process down, one of the ways you will see people with expensive car collections attempt to slow this process down is via storing their vehicles in plastic bubbles.

Restrict rust from harming your car.

be sure to treat your car and avoid rust

Your car’s paint job acts as a barrier between the bare metal and the elements, such as rain and all the crappy stuff that splashes up onto your car each year, and a good quality intact paint job will slow down rusting but will not necessarily prevent it from forming in the long run.

There are, however, specific types of rust-proofing coatings that can be applied over the top of your cars paint job and underneath your vehicle to maximise protection from rust and corrosion.  Rust-proofing coatings may cost around $1,200, but if you want to keep your vehicle for a long time and take care of it, they are an excellent option to consider.

Enjoy your car and take good care of it.

Do you love your car

The most fundamental maintenance you can do is washing your car. Apart from the obvious aesthetic benefits, maintaining a clean car helps to safeguard its exterior and improves visibility while driving. 

I personally like to wash my car once a week, and while that may not be for everyone, 

I don’t think you should go more than 4 weeks without washing your car because this is a good opportunity to carefully examine your paint job. 

Sure, there is outside factors, like the weather, how often you drive, and whether or not your car is dirty, that affect when you wash it, but giving your car regular TLC and a detailed examination is a very good idea.

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