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How to restore your car's colour without surface abrasion

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:25 pm
by PoshTwit
After Roger posed the question on his "Roger's Scimitars" Project Thread I thought that rather than specifically post a reply to him I would pop something in here for the unwashed masses to see.

Many Scimitar (and other GRP, Carbon Fibre or Kevlar bodied car) owners are a little nervous about polishing their cars. By which I mean the use of traditional abrasive compounds to level the surface to a greater or lesser degree. Quite justifiably too in my opinion as polishing a car with a non-conductive body requires far more care and attention than a metal body as the insulative nature of the substrate does not allow any heat dissipation across the panels leading to concentrated hot spots and causing premature burn through of the surface finish. Whenever I work on such a vehicle, I am always extra vigilant and check panel temperatures often and keep the machine moving to avoid excessive heat build up in one particular spot. As a Professional, the one tool I would never be without is my Paint Depth Gauge. Hang on - you say - how does that work on a fibreglass car?!

I would not recommend one for the home user (mainly as they cost a lot of money - mine in excess of £2k) but ultrasonic gauges will measure not only the total thickness of the surface coating, but also break it down into individual layers ie top coat, base coat and primer. The information this gives, once you have learnt how to use it, is absolutely invaluable.

But back to the initial query. If you have a car with unknown paint thickness it is of course wise to err on the side of caution and there exists a small selection of products that will allow you to remove oxidised paint from your car's surface, rejuvinating and even-ing the colour. The two product pairings I have chosen are some that I have used extensively, on both clients' and my own vehicles. Both work in slightly different ways and give their own individual benefits as I shall describe below. Other products are available and I have no links to either of the companies. Of course you will have already washed, dried and then used other products such as tar removers, fallout removers and maybe detailing clay as necessary.

Chemical Exfoliation

If your paint suffers from oxidation - ie a fading of the paint surface caused by degradation of the pigments often exacerbated by UV light and other environmental factors, the product I would turn to would be Imperial Wax Perfect Clean which is a Professional Only product but is due to be available to the general public in the next month or so. This can be used by hand or by machine but responds best to a soft pad (not a very soft finishing pad though) on a Dual Action Machine Polisher. Where the bottle will tell you to apply the product to the pad and then work it into the panel I find it best to "prime" the panel first by spreading product directly onto the surface - no more than quarter of a bonnet at a time for example - and then draw a cross on the pad with the Perfect Clean. Your machine should be set to a relatively low speed setting around 1,000rpm and in slow, overlapping straight lines move the machine from side-to-side and then up and down until the compound becomes translucent. By hand, a foam or microfibre applicator pad should be used in place of the machine pad, but the basic technique is the same - apply a little pressure and work the product in small circles up and down, side to side. Once the residue has been removed you will find that the surface will be silky smooth as it has dissolved the oxidised paint and other microscopic contamination. Due to the way this works (think of it as an exfoliation, ask your wives about chemical peels and the like) it leaves the "pores" of the paint open so it is incredibly important to seal the surface to protect your perfect paint and save premature deterioration of the fresh finish.

The ideal follow-up to Perfect Clean would be Perfect Protect as the two products were designed to work in tandem. Perfect Protect is a liquid polymer wax which leaves a similar finish to other liquid waxes, but has vastly increased durability due to its high synthetic content, meaning it can last for up to 12-months depending on aftercare.

Imperial Wax products can be purchased from them directly at http://www.imperialwax.co.uk.

Pre-wax Cleaner and Glaze

If the paint has a large number of minor defects such as swirling and "love marks" from years of incorrect wash techniques which cause the finish to appear dulled and for whatever reason they cannot be removed using abrasive compounds I would personally turn to a line of products from Prima. An American company, they manufacture a wide range of predominantly synthetic waxes, but their killer product is Amigo. Strictly speaking this is a glaze with a very high polymer content which gives it the ability to fill minor defects. Use of Amigo will make your car's colour appear deeper as it artificially smooths the surface allowing light to reflect more naturally. Again, the product can be used either by hand or by machine but for best results a Dual Action machine will be required once again. 4 to 5 pea-sized blobs on a very soft finishing pad and a 1,000rpm speed will give the best application to a quarter of a bonnet and as above it should be worked in the same manner. No "priming" of the panel is required. By hand, the same technique as Perfect Clean should be employed. Remove the residue very carefully so as not to wipe the fillers out of the defects as they are quite fragile and they will wash out almost immediately if the vehicle is allowed to get wet before it is protected.

As with the Imperial Wax products, Amigo has been designed to work in conjunction with a protection partner and in this case Epic is my choice (they do a few other waxes, but Epic gives the best finish and longevity in my experience). Again, a synthetic liquid wax with a very high polymer content it will seal in the fillers and give up to 6-months of protection. Bear in mind though that these products are not removing anything, just covering the defects allowing the light to do the work for you, and will need reapplying periodically to maintain the finish.

Prima do not sell directly into the UK, but their products are available from a variety of wholesalers including http://www.attention2detail.com and http://www.cleanyourcar.co.uk.


Hopefully some of you will find this of use. As always, if you would like any advice or indeed would like to book me to work on your car, please get in touch through http://www.classic-details.co.uk. I work nationwide and RSSOC members receive discounted rates.

Re: How to restore your car's colour without surface abrasio

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:34 pm
by Roger Pennington
Thanks Rich, that's great! :D Looks as though I shall have to put a shopping list together! However, I might have to be a bit patient - if Perfect Clean is going to be another month before it appears (certainly doesn't appear to be on their website yet), and also, although your links seem to be able to provide Pima Amigo, Prima Epic seems to be a different matter. Might call for a couple of phone calls on Monday, unless you've got any other suggestions?

Re: How to restore your car's colour without surface abrasio

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:22 pm
by Scimher
...Brilliant article; wonderfully written, as usual, Rich!

Re: How to restore your car's colour without surface abrasio

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:15 pm
by PoshTwit
Thank you chaps.

Perfect Clean is due for release to the public in early April. If needed I may be able to arrange a "sample" bottle from them at cost. Drop me a PM if interested.

If you look on the attention detail site they list Prima Epic. It is a little used product in the UK and does take some searching but when you try it, you will understand my enthusiasm!

Re: How to restore your car's colour without surface abrasio

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:44 pm
by Roger Pennington
Thanks Rich, You have a PM

Re: How to restore your car's colour without surface abrasio

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:54 pm
by Will Anderson
Rich,

Following your post on the "What Cars Have You Seen" thread (which I didn't want to hijack so I came here instead :D ) I had a look at your Facebook page. The Delorean was interesting and no doubt a real chalenge but the transformation you did on that TVR was nothing short of amazing! :shock:

If you ever find yourself in Scotland let me know. :lol:

Re: How to restore your car's colour without surface abrasio

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:58 pm
by Lukeyboy46
I have bought and used the combo of prima and epic on recommendation from Rich, they really look great on the cars paintwork! Really slick.

Re: How to restore your car's colour without surface abrasio

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:00 pm
by PoshTwit
Thank you Will.

I travel nationwide, and (very) occasionally into Europe so the distance is no object.

Do get in touch if you wish.