In the same way that you care for your skin, you should also care for your car’s ‘skin’, the paintwork. Left to the mercy of the elements, rarely washed and waxed, or put through plenty of off-road punishment – your car’s paintwork puts up with a lot. But it’s just paint, right? It’s easy to fix if it starts looking tatty, and it doesn’t affect the performance of the car, so why bother worrying? Here are a few reasons why your car needs paint protection.
The paint forms a ‘skin’ over the surface of your car. Left exposed, steel starts to rust within hours, aluminium will begin to corrode when exposed to oxygen, and the molecular bonds that hold polymers and plastics together are adversely affected by exposure to heat and moisture. That wafer-thin layer of paint and lacquer is far more important than you think, preventing rust and corrosion from taking hold. If allowed to progress, rust in particular can have a serious effect on the performance and the safety of your car, so it’s important to keep bare metal surfaces properly protected – and that’s where your paintwork comes in.
Flaking and cracking are a sign of either inferior quality paintwork (especially in a more modern car), or age-related deterioration. It’s also incredibly unsightly, and can instantly devalue your car. Even the smallest cracking or flaking needs to be dealt with quickly, as it destabilises the integrity of the coating, so the situation is only going to get worse, not better!
Your new or pre-owned car is going to be one of the biggest financial investments in your life. And as we’re influenced strongly by visual input in our buying decisions, a car’s paintwork is a key element of any purchase. If the paint’s tatty, tarnished, chipped or in poor condition, it immediately puts off buyers, who assume that if the paint’s in poor condition, then there are going to be other issues too. It can also knock off a big percentage of the resale value of the car, and even if the vehicle is mechanically sound, poor paintwork will give the impression to buyers that it’s a badly maintained vehicle overall. Bear in mind, too, that a respray is going to cost a lot of money, so it’s not a quick or a cheap fix.
A huge range of influences can damage your paintwork, some of which you may not expect. At the top of the list, though, is the weather. While rain won’t have a major influence on your paint (unless it’s particularly salty if you’re close to the sea), the sun certainly will. The UV rays of the sun can damage paint over time and fade some colours, especially those in the red spectrum, giving you a patchy, uneven look.
Wind can blow up tiny particles of dust and sand that can ‘scour’ your paintwork, (imagine the effect a scouring pad has on a metal pan and that’s similar to the effect desert winds full of sand particles will have on your car bodywork).
Extreme heat can soften paint, causing it to bubble and ‘lift’ away from the surface of the metal. Our top tip: keep your car parked in a shaded area and out of direct sunlight (which can also damage and fade your interior).
Other corrosive elements that can do lasting damage to car paintwork include bird droppings, tree sap, scratches and scrapes. Avoid parking under trees (especially pine, spruce or lime trees), and if you do scratch the paintwork getting out of a parking bay then make sure it’s repaired as quickly as possible to stop the metal surface from becoming exposed.
Apart from high-tech products such as ceramic car paint protection or nano car paint protection, you can take care of your paintwork with a little bit of regular valeting. If you’re washing your car with the traditional bucket and sponge method, then start from the top of the car and wash down to the bottom. The most abrasive ‘road dirt’ will be at the bottom of the car close to the wheel arches and sills, so you don’t want to be scratching your paintwork by washing from the bottom upwards!
Once it’s dried, give it a good wax and polish. It requires a little extra effort, but it will prolong the life of your paintwork. Waxing doesn’t have to be done every time you wash your car, but make it a once-a-month treat for your vehicle. Not only do you end up with a great-looking car, but it also gives you a chance to give your car a thorough checking over to spot any potential problems that the dirt may be hiding.
If you really want that deep-down clean, have your car professionally valeted every so often to keep it looking its absolute best. And if you’re interested in more high-tech ways of protecting your paintwork, talk to the team at Al Futtaim Fastfit, who’ll be happy to tell you all about ceramic car paint and nano car paint protective coatings.