My paint has lost its shine..
If the paint on your vehicle has lost its shine, dulled in appearance, or looks like a chalky residue has covered the deep colour it had from new, it could be due to the type of paint used on your car.
Single Stage Paint System. (Old Cars)
Single Stage Paint Systems are the original paint system. As the top paint coating, it incorporates both the colour and the protection elements of the finish in the same layer. This is sometimes known as Acrylic Paint Systems. As the protection and the colour are in the same layer, over time, without additional added protection (wax, sealant or coating) this layer can begin to oxidize due to the pigments in the paint drying and fading due to UV exposure. This leaves a dull and chalky finish to the surface. Today, there are only few vehicles manufactures that still employ this paint system. Mostly Solid colour (white fleet cars, blacks, red, yellow cabs, etc) non-metallic finishes of lower priced models.
Clear Over Base Paint System. (Newer Cars)
Clear over Base Paint Systems, known as Clear Coated Finishes utilise a thin, non-protective base colour coat to give the colour with either an additional metallic or pearl finish. On top of this is a protective clear coat. The aim of this layer to; provide additional protection from UV damage that was occurring in Single Stage Systems, allow for a harder & more durable finish, amplify the gloss of the base colour coat. Many European manufacturers have gone an extra step to increase the durability of the clear layer of coating. A new system was developed to allow an additional coat of harder, ceramic based paint to be sprayed over their conventional clear. This micro thin layer of coating is almost double the hardness of the underlying paint and provides greater resistance to marring and wear from chemicals. When a clear coated vehicle is dull or faded in appearance, this is not generally due to oxidization, however they may be a layer of bonded dirt, fallout and grime on the surface that is known as contamination. This will have to be removed using Decontamination products such as Detailing Clay and other condition specific products. Dullness or fading of the paint finish on a clear coated vehicle is caused by the reflection of light off scratches. When there are no scratches in the finish the light with reflect back directly showing the colour of the finish. When the light hits a scratch, which is an angled indent into the paint, refracts the light in different directions, therefore looking dull.
What paint does my car have? Is it hard or soft?
There is a great difference in the hardness of paints, which vary from Manufacturer. However the biggest difference is generally between the origins of manufacture.
To simplify can be placed in to three groups.
What is a scratch & how do I fix it?
As we talked about earlier, a scratch is an indentation into the paint. This can be a minor indentation known as marring or washing swirls, on visible in direct sunlight. Medium indentations known as medium swirls, light cob webbing or light scratches. Heavy indentations known as heavy cob webbing, heavy swirls & scratches. To remove a scratch, you have to remove or level the paint down past the level of scratch. We call this Paint Correction. We then refine the surface by stepping down to a less aggressive combination of products to remove any micro marring caused by the previous step. This is called Paint Enhancement.
So know we know how to determine what type of paint system was used on our car. An understanding of the hardness of our paint, which can help us determine the type of product combinations we require and finally what a scratch is and how to tell how deep it might be, therefore an indication of the types of products we might require to perform the Paint Correction & Enhancement steps.
Machine Polishing VS Hand Polishing
So why is machine polishing even necessary? Isn’t hand polishing safer? While this is partially true in the sense that you are extremely unlikely to burn through your vehicles paint when using hand polishing, the reality is that hand polishing is actually far more likely to cause micro marring, hazing and swirling in your vehicles paint, which is the total opposite of what the process of polishing is trying to achieve.
So what is a swirl? They have many names and come in all shapes and sizes! Some people refer to them as spider webbing or sun reflections and others cannot see them at all without having them specifically pointed out.
In order to remove a defect, we first need to be able to identify what one is and how it was caused. Swirl marks are primarily caused by friction on the vehicles paint, this can come in the form of washing or hand polishing the vehicle, slight contaminants introduced into the wash pad or polishing pad can cause hundreds of thousands of fine scratches in a uniform pattern consistent with how you moved the implement over the vehicle.
As most people are taught to wash and polish using circular movements, these marks then appear as a vortex of swirls under sunlight. Only machine polishing will effectively remove these defects, as the heat and friction required can only be produced by a machine’s torque.
This is where many people shy away from machine polishing as it’s viewed as a dangerous method that can lead to over removal of paint from the vehicle. In days gone past, this was a valid concern however technology has progressed to a point where machine polishers have adapted to the types of thickness automotive manufacturers are finishing their vehicles with, and as such the enthusiast can safely remove these defects with the right product and machine at their disposal.
How the shine mate system of machines work is the use of a random orbit in addition to the circular rotation of the machines backing plate. This safely dissipates heat and friction over a larger surface area to avoid compromising the paints thickness yet still allow removal of defects that would otherwise cause your vehicle to lose it’s gloss as it stops light from reflecting the colour.
And with the confidence of a 18 month warranty backing the machine in case of failures, as well as a full complement of replacement parts and in-house repair team, you can rest assured your machine will stay relevant for years to come whether you use it every weekend or just the once to correct your vehicle. 5 Reasons Shine Mate polishers are the safest and most reliable choice
Priming the pad & Setup
Paint Correction Stage