COMBATING PAINTWORK FLAWS
As I tell all of my clients, the bread and butter of my business is car care protection. My objective is to help you find a long-term solution with respect to keeping your investment looking new for years to come. To put things into perspective, if I were to grab a stranger off of the street and ask them what their interpretation of car care protection is, nine times out of ten you'll hear a response such as, "I usually throw on a layer of carnauba wax or paint sealant, paste it on, buff it off, and I'll be in good shape."
While this is certainly a trusted form of protection, one should note that this method is labor-intensive, outdated, and is now considered by many within my industry as meeting the "bare minimum". At Blackstone Detail, I do not subscribe to the "bare minimum". My clients deserve a better solution. In comparison, the glass and ceramic coatings that I offer are 200-350 times thicker than that of your traditional carnauba wax or paint sealant. Why does this matter? Ultimately, this provides you with a long-term solution against the elements. In addition, you're receiving even greater aesthetics including major hydrophobic properties, glass-like reflections, self-cleaning properties, etc. More than anything else, I explore the marketplace and test what performs well and what is labeled as substandard. With this in mind, I only subscribe to a very small handful of manufacturers that eat, breathe, and sleep car care protection.
Conversely, I'll exchange dialogue with clients who had recently purchased a brand new vehicle, only to spot flaws within their paintwork almost weeks after they drive it off the lot. As a result, the owner is now faced with a monstrous headache of contacting the manufacturer, reading through the fine print of their supposed "warranty", and seeing if they can find a silver-lining to their woes of vehicle ownership.
Contrary to popular belief, each manufacturer will have some form of oversight within the manufacturing process. Much like that of going to the doctor or repairing your vehicle at a trusted shop, the cost of maintaining your hard-earned investment is negligible in comparison to what you might pay if major damage already starts to form. This is what I call "preventative maintenance". Most vehicle owners are incredulous to the reality of paintwork damage, but I can't tell you how many times I've had to turn around and address issues that leave the owner crying in angst over what they're expected to pay to replace hoods, bumpers, new paint jobs, etc.
Collectively, there are 6 major types of damage with respect to your paintwork. Below you'll find a list addressing each one and what remedy is best to resolve the problem.
If you live in an unforgiving climate (much like that of Oklahoma), your paintwork becomes exposed to excessive temperatures. If your vehicle is categorized as a "daily commuter", these harmful UVA/UVB rays can penetrate through your clear-coat over time, resulting in white blotches. Depending on the severity of the damage, a wet-sanding process might be required, whereby leveling or "removing" these blotches thereby showing a uniformed finish. In some cases, the damage may be so severe that the only solution would be to repaint the affected area, which in turn can be very costly.
Scratches are inevitable; this is the harshest reality that we have to face as car enthusiasts. Further, paintwork scratches come in all different shapes and sizes. While some may appear minor, others may cut deeper into the finish drifting past the clear-coat, primer, and in some severe cases the substrate or bare metal. While there are many different factors that attribute to the introduction of scratches, some of the largest culprits are from improper use while washing, introducing dirty and coarse materials to your finish, or simply driving in wretched driving conditions causing debris to skate across your paintwork. If you were to look at a cross-section of a modern paint job, you'll see that scratches will create peaks and valleys. These peaks and valleys vary depending on the severity of the scratch. Depending on the severity of the blemish, an appropriate compound will "shave off" this area making the affected area flush with rest of your paintwork. Mind you, this can only be done a certain number of times before you start sacrificing the resiliency of your clear-coat.
While somewhat similar to sun damage, oxidation is a process by which your vehicle's paintwork loses its luster over a longer period of time. This is a slow-moving process and often goes unnoticed by the owner until the damage becomes more pronounced. When it comes to oxidation, some of the best remedies include the use of a wet-sandpaper method followed by the use of an appropriate compound and polish to restore clarity and brilliance.
Sometimes I feel like birds are just vindictive creatures whose only goal is to wreak havoc on your paintwork. Ready, Harry? Bombs away! Bird droppings should be treated with a sense of immediacy. Why, do you ask? The main ingredient within a bird dropping is uric acid. Yes, you heard that correctly. Any form of acid eats its way through like a pernicious disease. I've had countless conversations with clients where I drew their attention to bird droppings that were never treated, thereby resulting in the substance eating through the clear-coat and etching the surface. Depending on how long the dropping had been sitting on the surface, the best removal process could be as simple as using an appropriate compound, or in some cases you may have to dig deeper by reaching for a particular grit of sandpaper.
Not only is tree sap an archenemy to your paintwork, but when coupled with excessive heat and sunlight, this sap can act as a catalyst where it can etch its way deep into your clear-coat. Once again, I'll refer you to the point I made when dealing with bird droppings. Tree sap should also be treated with a sense of immediacy. If left for a longer period of time, it may result in a costly repair at the local body shop.
As you travel down the highway at moderately high speeds, you'll most likely face a situation where small pebbles, debris, and other foreign substances projectile straight for your paintwork, but more specifically your front bumper. When this happens, these substances can pit the surface, and in some situations it could cause considerable damage depending on the circumstances. One preventative measure is to avoid traveling at excessively high speeds, and choosing lanes where dump trucks and other service vehicles aren't present. Again, I'll revert back to the statement I made at the beginning of this article which is "preventative maintenance". Paint protection film is your best form of armor against these unsightly nuisances because it's specifically formulated to absorb the damage. Moreover, some PPF technologies have self-healing characteristics where it's purpose is to prevent damage from rock chips, bug splatter, and other significant damage.