When the clear coat on top of your vehicle starts to peel, it is easy to assume this is going to be an expensive repair. Peeling clear coats can seem overwhelming, but it is something that you can actually be fixed at home. This type of peeling can happen for all types of reasons, but it is typically a poor paint job or aging that causes the peeling to occur. However, clear coat peeling typically does not mean the actual paint underneath is damaged as well.
Before getting started with this type of repair, it is important to remember that fixing a clear coat paint issue at home is not a permanent solution. While the repair will last for several months and even several years, if you want a more permanent fix to your peeling clear coat, you will need to take you device to a professional.
Here’s how to do a temporary repair on your own.
Preparing Your Car for Repairs
Before you start repairing your clear coat, there are a few things that you will want to do in order to get your car ready.
Make sure that you have a well-ventilated area to work in. You will also need to wear safety goggles and a dust mask while you do these repairs. Gather a fine grit grey non-woven pad to scuff off the paint in the area of the repair. You will also need 2000 grit sandpaper and a polishing compound. Make sure you have a piece of cardboard with masking tape and some touch-up clear coat paint, in spray form, which you can find at most automotive supply stores.
With your gear in tow, you will want to wash and dry the area that you are repairing. It is best to use a glass cleaner first as this will take care of any organic materials on your vehicle. Next, follow up with a solvent based cleaner to take care of any inorganic materials. Typically, these are “pre-paint” cleaners at your automotive stores. You can apply this with a clean, soft rag. The car should be allowed to dry completely before you get started.
How to Repair Peeling Clear Coat
Once your car is prepped, here’s how to make the repairs.
- You can start with your repairs by sanding and buffing down the area of the repair. Use a fine grit grey non-woven pad to scuff the paint in the area of the repair. You should continue to around 1 inch along either side of the impacted area. Your goal is only to remove any evidence of peeling, be careful to not sand through the paint.
- Wash off the area again with you solvent-based cleaner and rag and allow it to dry completely.
- Cut off a piece of cardboard and use your tape to cover the areas surrounding the ones that need touch up. This will help keep the clear coat in place and prevent it from spreading to the areas that are not damaged.
- Apply the clear coat to the damaged area. While you can use a brush, a sprayer is typically recommended for a more professional look. Keeping the outside areas covered will not only help keep the clear coat where it needs to be but will prevent dirt and dust from settling in the area.
- Spray a very light single coat. Allow it to dry for approximately five minutes, then spray on a second coat.
- Carefully pull away the tape, do not pull too hard. When you reveal the newly painted area, chances are it is going to look different from the rest of the car. You will need to sand and buff it, but you should wait 24-48 hours, or the recommended time on the paint before touching it up. Go back over the edges of the newly finished area with 2000 grit sand paper.
- Use your polishing compound to blend the edges of the new paint into the older paint so it looks more seamless. You can use a rotary buffer or an orbital buffer, depending on your preference.
- Wipe the area clean and you are finished.
Tips to Help Keep the Clear Coat In Tact
Doing your own repairs to a peeling clear coat can be a great way to temporarily fix this problem. However, if you aren’t careful, you may accidentally do more damage to the layer underneath your clear coat, so it is important to remember you are taking a risk with this repair.
You will also want to make sure you are doing what you can to keep your repairs in tact once you invest the time into fixing your peeling clear coat.
When you are fixing peeling clear coat on a car, it is important to remember that there are some risks involved with peeling clear coat, the most prominent beings that most clear coat repairs are not going to provide your vehicle with UV protection. This is why there is some risk of sun damage if you are doing clear coat repairs on an area with high sun exposure, such as the hood or the roof. If you are doing a repair on this area of the car, it may be wise to make sure your vehicle isn’t sitting out in the sun. This means storing your vehicle in covered parking when possible.
Your car can also be sensitive to extreme seasonal temperatures. When the sun bakes away the clear coating on your car it is known as clear coat delamination. In short, you should keep your vehicle away from extreme temperatures when possible until you invest in a more permanent fix.
Regular waxing may also help improve the appearances of the car and to provide a protective layer that helps keep the repairs intact.
You should also pay close attention to the repaired area. Since this isn’t a permanent fix to a peeling clear coat, you will want to look for signs of the clearcoat peeling again, or the paint color fading.