Your new or used car, van or truck actually began diminishing in appearance soon after leaving the dealership lot simply because its paint, finish, bumpers and external parts have not been protected properly. As the months and years go on the vehicle will continue to diminish in appearance because exterior and interior surface maintenance is not preformed on a regular basis to protect its appearance.
The vehicle probably hasn’t been washed properly at the dealership (maybe it was taken to the dreaded car wash, its rubber trim has almost assuredly not been treated with UV Protestants.
Also, the dealership wax/glaze job you over paid for when you bought your vehicle (which hides all of the paint’s defects has probably been rinsed away by rain showers over the weeks and months since you picked up your new car, leaving the paint naked to the sun and revealing all of the defects in the clear coat.
Why Cars Diminish In Appearance
Unprotected, the painted surface is prone to direct damage from environmental contaminates such as pollution, bird droppings and sap. At the same time, water spot begin to form which can cause permanent damage to the finish over time. Paint swirls and contamination are the most common culprits to a vehicle’s premature diminished appearance and premature old age.
Any form of scratch on your paint, whether micro-fine (swirls) or deep (scratch down to the primer) is caused by a foreign solid object getting in contact with the painted surface and being dragged across for a distance by another object. To prevent this from occurring, one needs to minimize the amount of foreign matter touching your paint. One of the worst offenders is actually the cloth you may use to wash your car and the towel you may use to dry it!
Why do Cars Look Old? Paint swirls are especially noticeable on darker-colored vehicles, especially black. Heavy swirls alone can sometimes actually make a black car look a faded gray, but it can be fixed by a professional detailer like Pro Tint Detailers of Central Florida!
When washing a vehicle, a thorough and powerful rinse is a must to remove the initial layer of dirt on the paint. Using a quality, professional lubricating car wash soap and an industrial strength sprayer will help encapsulate dirt particles so they do not touch the surface of your vehicle while being removed. If a wash mitt is used it should be made of a high-quality microfiber or chenille “flagellum” strands to ensure dirt is trapped inside the weave and is not trapped and used by the mitt to scratch the surface and compound the problem.
Using a sponge is bad because it leaves dirt on the surface of the sponge, giving it the greatest probability of scratching your paint, dirt trapped within the sponge can work like sand paper to clear coat. When drying a vehicle, towels should not be used unless they are micro fibers and cleaned separately for each and every vehicle. Conversely, another method is to use an electric powered leaf blower to remove the majority of water from the vehicle, and then gently dry the remaining water from the vehicle using high-quality microfiber towels.
Paint Contamination on Your New Car
Why do Cars Look Old? Beyond merely washing, a new vehicle should always have some sort of protection applied to paint, windows, and wheels which ensures that no foreign contamination embeds itself directly into the surface of the clear coat itself.
Even new cars, which may have been sitting on the shipping dock exposed to the harsh seas or on a dealer lot for extended periods of time can be heavily contaminated long before you take delivery. It’s very common for a “new” car to have actually been sitting on a lot for 3-6 months or even longer, and have been put through the dealerships automatic car wash 20 or 30 times, all before you get the keys to that “new” car.
Go to your car and run your finger gently on a clean section of the paint. Is it silky smooth or is it a bit bumpy or rough, or worse, it is almost sandpaper like? That roughness is foreign contamination, which includes dirt that has been sitting on your paint for extended periods of time, bird bombs that hit your car from above, tree sap, tar, air pollution, oil, grease, and dead insects. Without a dedicated and durable wax or sealant between the environment and your clear coat to resist these foreign particles from contaminating your paint, your paint is left exposed to attack.
Auto Dealership Tricks
One trick the dealerships often use is to use a thick wax (and charge you for it calling it “dealer prep”) making the car shiny and scratch/swirl free. Problem is that this is not polish, this type of filler wax will begin to wash off with the first rain storm and certainly will not last beyond the 3rd or 4th detergent car wash, at which time you will see the swirled appearance and you painted surface is unprotected from that point on.
Paint that has lost its metallic flake shimmer is probably heavily contaminated as well. Fear not, Pro Tint Detailing in Orlando can usually restore your car’s sparkle as good as new, as long as you have not tried over the counter “magic” solutions first and ruined the paint beyond repair.
Repair is possible by a professional detailer because the dull appearance is a layer of dirt within the clear coat that is hiding the true color of vehicle. But don’t worry; paint contamination can be removed through the use of a clay bar treatment service. Read more about the importance of the clay bar treatment and polishing before waxing, polishing or ceramic glazing.