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Old 05-29-2022, 04:32 PM   #3
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the paint really isn't that bad. there was a change a number of years ago to water-based paints per EPA requirements. the old paint did more environmental damage. it really applies to all new cars, so there's really nothing different from other recent production vehicles of any make/model. it's just a change in the industr

paint protection basically boils down to a few main points:
1. cleaning/prep
2.scratch/contaminant correction
3.paint/UV protection
4. continued maintenance of the condition/coating/vehicle.

there are zero coatings that will last forever, or are a one-n-done scenario.

due to your lack of availability of local shops, it might come down to learning all the techniques yourself. so my advice is going to generalize that scenario. there are usually some detail shops in a lot of areas that can do all of this if you're more a hands-off kind of person, and their cost is going to vary. might even be able to look around on the local facebook groups-- i know a couple guys that offer full detailing services out of their personal garages.

first, a link:

they sell everything, but also have a ton of how-to pages and videos about every product category they sell. they've also got a very detail-oriented forum for all of it as well.

1. cleaning really comes down to just washing it regularly. it will also involve a clay bar from time to time, which will strip all of the contaminants and residues off the car-- don't use unless you're in a position to re-apply something, or are prepared to go into step 2. using a clay bar lubricant, you rub down the car with different parts of the bar-- it removes contaminants from the paint. this is one of the single biggest differences one can feel in paint quality. before/after clay barring will feel like the difference between feeling 1,000 grit sand paper and smooth paint.

2. clay barring is also really the first step into paint correction. at this step, the goal is to remove any defects/contaminants, and make for as smooth and nice of a finish as possible. there's a number of products depending on the sevarity and personal preference, i personally like using wolfgangs uber compound for this step. it's a nice not-too-harsh-not-too-soft compound that tends to rely on product application technique more than the compound itself to do the work.

3. this is the step where the actual protection product would be applied. we've already cleaned, and made the paint as nice as possible to be ready to accept this step. everyone's got a different opinion on the 'best' product in this category, and i would say that none of them are any better, just different use-case scenarios will favor one product over another.

there's 3 main classes of protection:
carnuba waxes

carnuba waxes are known for their gloss, depth, and warmth. but they last about 3-6 months on average. many will apply a carnuba wax last after other coatings to give the paint more depth and warmth, while the other coating is there for longer lasting protection. lately, i've been using poor boy's world, natty's paste wax for this.

sealants and ceramics are similar. sealants were what came before ceramics. sealants are known to last at least a year or longer, but are not known to bead the water as well, or offer a deep gloss to the paint. but they do offer the same uv protection as a carnuba wax, over a longer time span. i've personally tried a few, but never really cared for the time/effort/finish they offer.

ceramics are a newer product category, and are a more advanced type of paint sealant. they generally last longer, and offer a tougher protection. many times, these require specialized techniques to apply, so many people prefer to have an experienced detail shop apply them. some claim the same warmth as a carnuba, but YMMV.

4. this is where long term protection comes in. any/ all of these coatings are going to require reapplication, many people agree to reapply sealants every year. keeping the car out of sunlight/weather will help maintain the coatings longer, as well as not needing to wash them as often. there's quick detail sprays that offer to bump protection up again in between detail jobs as well.

everyone's got their own opinion on what's best.

personally, i do #1 about every few weeks, and then #2 is about once per year, or every other year. i usually use a carnuba wax for step 3, and just reapply at least twice a year to my vehicles.

as far as #4, i really don't do any of the coatings or processes except washing the vehicles from time to time. it's important to know that any soap that gets rid of gunk is likely also strong enough to slowly remove the coatings over time as well, so the less the vehicle needs to be washed, the better.

paint protection is more of a hobby to a lot of people. it can be as comprehensive as you want and require tens of thousands of dollars of equipment, or can be as simple as just cleaning and waxing the car in regular intervals for nothing more than the cost of a clay bar and a bottle of wax.
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