How to Repair a Car's Clear Coat?

By Slyng Team

Updated Feb 18, 2024

In Guides Feb, 2024

Although vitamin D is known for its increasing benefits for the human skin, it's not good for your car's clear coat. Just like too much exposure to sunlight can cause a person's skin to become dry, cracked, and wrinkled, it can have the same effect on your car's clear coat. The sun's UV rays break down the paint's pigments and binders, which causes the paint to fade, chalk and become dull.

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    If your car's paint is looking faded or dull, it might be time to repair your car's clear coat. Now, if you take your car to a paint shop, they are more likely to suggest you strip it all down and do a complete repaint job, which can easily take weeks or cost you thousands of dollars. Now, this might not be your only option; there are ways you can repair your car's clear coat without having to repaint the entire vehicle.

    But before we get into the details on how you can perform a car's repaint job, let us help you first understand what causes deterioration to your vehicle's paintwork.

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    What is the Cause of a Clear Coat Damage?

    clear coat

    Clear coat damage can take place because of multiple reasons. However, the main culprit behind clear coat damage is the vehicle's exposure to the sun's harsh UV rays. They can create cracks on your dashboard, fade the carpets in your vehicle and have the ability to easily rot plastic on the interior trim panels of the vehicle.

    Ultraviolet rays have a high intensity which can easily degrade the outer layer of any paint protection, whether on your car or elsewhere. The degradation of the paint job doesn't affect it in a single day, but it's a relatively slow process. To fully come into effect, it may take some time. However, once it has caused damage, there's no going back.

    You can only fix it by taking it to the car dealership and cashing up on your warranty. Or you can talk to the guys at the paint shop to do a complete repaint.

    There's also another way, and that's a complete DIY.

    How to Repair a Car's Clear Coat?

    Start using a degreaser to remove any wax previously applied to the vehicle's body. Then clean the entire body panel using a car wash soap. The process will eventually clear all the leftover wax & remove all possible foreign contaminants from the vehicle's body.

    Next, you can mask off the areas that require repairing with painter's tape. When applying the painter's tape, leave an inch of the area from the damaged surface.

    Now use an 800 grit sandpaper and start sanding the damaged area in a circular motion. Remember to be gentle with the 800 grit sandpaper as you don't want to damage the layer below the clear coat. After you have sanded the damaged area, use 1,000 grit sandpaper and repeat the process to refine the surface. Use alcohol and a microfibre cloth to remove any remaining particles left on the surface due to the sanding process.

    Now you can apply the clear coat to the damaged area.

    Start by shaking the aerosol can of clear coat for about two minutes to mix the contents properly.

    Now spray the first paint coat across the sanded area. Once applied, now wait and move on to the application of the second paint coat after 5 minutes. If two coats do the job, stop there or move on to applying the third layer of coat.

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    After the final paint coat, let it dry for about 24 hours before moving on to the next step.

    Once the coat is fully dried, you can use 2000 sand grit paper and start sanding the area to smooth the surface. The process will make the transition between the old and new paint more seamless. Just make sure to use a gentle hand because you're blending the whole thing and not removing the layers from the vehicle whatsoever.

    Lastly, use a rubbing compound to buff out the entire area to give it a new paint job look.

    And there you go, your car's repainted and looks remarkably well than before.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you spot repair clear coats in vehicles?

    Once professional hands properly apply the coat, it's hard to realize if the repairs are permanent or not. In some cases, if the clear coat is flaking off, it can indicate that the previous paint job wasn't up to mark. Apparent coat spot repairs are usually impossible as the whole panel requires a new paint job.

    How long does it take for the clear coat to dry?

    A clear coat hardly takes up to 24 hours for a complete dry. However, the drying time may increase if you reside in a humid area. Several other factors are also involved, such as how many layers of the clear coat have been applied, the type of paint, and the weather.

    Let the vehicle sit in an area without direct sunlight or wind is best. This will eventually speed up the drying process.

    How can I remove a clear coat from my car?

    Clear coats are usually applied to protect the paint job; removing it without damaging the paint job is not easy. The best way to remove it is by taking the car to a professional who can do the job without harming the vehicle.

    You can also use sandpaper to remove the clear coat, but it's advised that you go to someone professional.

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    A clear coat is essential to a car's paint job as it protects against scratches, UV rays, and other elements. If your car's clear coat is damaged, it's best to repair it as soon as possible. We hope this guide helped teach you how to do it yourself.