How to remove oxidation from a car

Written by cathryn whitehead
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Whether you have a car with a clear coat finish or conventional car paint, your car can become dull through a chemical reaction between pigments in paint and radiation in the atmosphere called oxidation. Oxidation leaves a chalky residue on the car and it can't be removed with washing and waxing. But, there are many other ways to remove oxidation from a car.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Soft rags
  • Cotton cloth
  • Polish
  • Cleaner
  • Polishing compound
  • Rubbing compound
  • Transparent glaze
  • Wax
  • Shaded area

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Move your car to a shaded area or in a garage where the temperature is between 18.3 and 21.1 degrees C. Do all your cleaning and detailing in this area.

  2. 2

    Choose a polish with fine grits like Smooth Cut Polish or a product that combines a polish with sealant like Klasse All-In-One or Meguiars ColorX. These products are available at auto parts stores. Make sure you buy the kind of polish that is applied by hand. If you have a clear coat finish, there are polishes available especially for your car. Apply the polish in a 1-foot area with a damp rag and rub it until the oxidation is gone. Use a clean, soft cloth to wipe the polish off. Finish each area before you begin a new one. This process takes time, but it's worth it.

  3. 3

    Try a cleaner that is a little more abrasive than a polish like Zymol HD Cleanse or ClearKote Moose Wax cleaner wax if the polish doesn't remove all the oxidation. Both are available at detailing stores. Apply the cleaner with a damp rag in a long, straight motion. Remove the cleaner with a clean soft cloth.

  4. 4

    Use a polishing compound on heavily oxidised car finishes. Use a clay bar such as one made by Turtle Wax to remove paint contaminants. Carefully apply a very small amount of polishing compound such as Meguilars No 2 Fine Cut Cleaner or Turtle Wax Premium Polishing Compound. Both are available in auto parts stores. Rub very gently in a small area with a soft rag. Remove the compound with a soft terrycloth towel.

  5. 5

    Try rubbing compound only if nothing else works. Turtle Wax and 3M Rubbing Compounds are both available in auto parts stores. Carefully apply the rubbing compound with a damp rag, gently rubbing one square foot at a time. If you rub too hard, you could remove the paint.

  6. 6

    Use one of the restorative systems that offer step-by-step instructions and includes all the products you need. It's cheaper and you don't have to guess what products you should buy. Klasse and Meguilar both offer good systems.

  7. 7

    Shine your cleaned car with a transparent glaze like Meguilars No 7 Show Car Glaze. Apply the glaze with a clean, soft cotton cloth and let it sit. When it's dry, it should look hazy. Buff the glaze by hand or with a machine buffer. Follow immediately with a coat of wax to protect the shine and weather proof the car's finish. Carnauba wax gives your car a wet looking shine. Synthetic wax gives a glossy shine to your car. Both protect your car's paint from contamination.

  8. 8

    Try rubbing compound only if nothing else works. Turtle Wax and 3M Rubbing Compounds are both available in auto parts stores. Carefully apply the rubbing compound with a damp rag, gently rubbing one square foot at a time. If you rub too hard, you could remove the paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't wash, wax or detail cars in the sun. Use a shady area.

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