answers to common touch up paint problems

Unfortunately, the majority of questions I receive from customers often come after a repair or restoration project has already been completed and the results are less than optimal. More often than not, these issues could have been easily prevented within the preparation and touch-up stages by following some simple steps, but sometimes they're unavoidable. But don't despair. Almost ever problem you run across during an automotive paint project can be solved, whether you're halfway through or on your last coat. Here are some quick troubleshooting tips based on some common questions I receive:

Q: I have just painted my Subaru WRX engine cover and sprayed it with clear coat. The clear coat has an orange peel and isn't shiny. How do I get it to be smooth like the rest of the car?

A: When clear coat is applied correctly, it should be as smooth as glass. Orange peel, texture, or lack of shine, are usually signs that you have not used enough clear. This can often occur when the clear has been sprayed from too far away, too quickly, or in weather that is too hot.

To fix this problem, first lightly sand the area down with a 1000 grit sandpaper. Wash the area with water, let it dry, and then re-apply your clear coat. You should apply 2 - 3 medium wet coats.

It's important to know that how the clear coat looks when first sprayed on, is how it will look when it's dry. Therefore, if you are still seeing texture or blotchiness once the clear coat has just been applied, chances are you need to apply more.

Q: How big of a part does weather play when applying clear coat? Can a rainy day really affect the end result? What are the ideal weather conditions to be working in?

A: Weather can make all the difference and can usually cause all the headaches if not taken into consideration. Rain, for instance, will cause extra moisture to be trapped in the air, which in turn can cause a dull shine and cloudiness to your car's finish. This can sometimes be fixed by simply using a hair drier on the area. In worse cases you may need to sand the clear coat completely and re-apply.

When applying clear coat, 75 degree Fahrenheit weather with 50% humidity is ideal. Granted, you can't always wait around for this perfect day to occur, but as close to it as you can get will always produce the best results.

Q: Why does clear coat require 30 days before it can be washed or waxed?

A: It's not so much the clear that needs the 30 days as it is the entire paint job. Long after automotive coatings are dry, they are still releasing solvents. During this time, the paint is not necessarily drying, but rather is curing. Curing refers to the polymerization and strengthening of the binder. Therefore, your car's paint job needs 30 days to reach its maximum strength potential.

Q: What does it mean when there is cloudiness in the paint, prior to applying clear coat?

A: If the cloudiness is in the paint, it's most likely just the lack of gloss that you are seeing. An hour after applying your last coat of paint, you can begin adding clear coat. This should add the gloss to your finish and remove any cloudiness.

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