The Exterior Detail Blog Series - Get Smart With Spiffy
Part 1 - Know your car's paint
Part 2 - Paint damage (you are here)
Part 3 - Tools of the professional detailer
Part 4 - Do you wax?
Part 5 - The Magic Behind Fixing Scratches
Once a car leaves the factory, often before it arrives at the dealership, the car’s paint finish can be subjected to damage. For this reason, many luxury automobile manufacturers will apply plastic or foam to the car’s painted surfaces for transportation. But there’s no guarantee your car was covered during its transportation process. Of course, some of these environmental factors can also affect your car once it hits the road too, so it is important to be aware of how these contaminants affect your paint.
So what should you look for?
Below is a list of the most common types of car damage, and how to identify them.
An illustration of these contaminants on your car’s paint.
“Rail Dust” is a type of damage that occurs when cars are being transported by train. Rail dust is literally tiny metal shavings that fly off a train’s wheels when it brakes. It often shows up to the consumer as red flakes in the paint because the metal has rusted during the time it has taken to get the car from the manufacturer to the consumer.
“Acid Rain” is a major problem today for automobiles around the country. Pollutants in the air are carried by clouds and wind and are deposited on cars after rain. When the rain evaporates off the car, the minerals in the acid rain are left. These often look like rain spots.
“Scuffs” can be caused by a variety of things rubbing or bumping your car. Scuffs are often caused by items like purses, briefcases, handbags, backpacks and shopping carts. Everywhere you park your car they are subject to scuffing.
“Bugs, Birds and Trees” Nature is beautiful until it becomes a deposit on your hood which makes that beautiful black shine look like mud. When bugs hit your car it’s like leaving drops of acid on your hood. Same applies for bird droppings….the residue and excrement from animals is VERY damaging to a car’s paint. Sap from trees also damages paint, though it’s not as immediately dangerous as animal waste.
“Fungus” Although fungi may seem like an odd thing to find on your car’s paint, it is found in many cars. The fungus comes directly from landscaping of homes and office parks that use “mulch.” Mulch is essentially chopped up trees spread around buildings and flower beds. Although beautiful, mulch is home to animals and fungus...one is called “artillery fungus” and this can be very damaging to cars. The fungus literally flies out of the mulch and lands on anything nearby. This becomes an issue when the nearby object is the siding of your home or your car’s paint. Often we will find artillery fungus on just one side of a client’s car because that is the side that faces the mulch bed in the parking lot or driveway at home or work.
“Chips and Scratches” are caused by a variety of things. This could be anything from gravel and rocks flying up on the road to children running into your car with their bike. Chips and scratches are deeper than scuffs and swirls, and are harder to fix.
“Swirls” are changes in the thickness of your clear coat that are caused by untrained detailers or detailers. Without proper training and experience, many detailers tend to be “too aggressive” in the application of chemicals and the use of buffers in the paint improvement process. Swirls often look like circular patterns across the hood or down the side panels….sort of like icing swirled on a cake.
There are many environmental factors that can damage your car’s paint. Fortunately, there are also many ways to fix these damages. In the next blog post, we will explain how to safely fix each of these issues with the proper chemicals and tools.
Posted in Car Care