How to Fix Faded Carbon Fiber Hood

Written by richard rowe
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Refinishing a faded carbon fibre bonnet is much like restoring any other painted surface. Much of the white glaze found on older carbon fibre parts is actually oxidation in the clear coat, the same as one might find on any painted surface. The main difference between carbon fibre and paint is that the fibrous weave of the material is much more UV-resistant than the coloured pigment, meaning it takes much longer to actually lose its dark colour. To refinish a carbon bonnet, you must only get past the layer of white oxidation on the surface with a good polishing system.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 8 microfiber cloths
  • Medium-duty scratch remover compound
  • Fine polishing compound
  • High-quality wax
  • Car wash detergent
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Wash the parts to be refinished to remove surface dirt, as the hard silica can leave scratches in the finish.

  2. 2

    Remove the layer of surface oxidation and heavier scratches with a microfiber cloth and a medium-duty polishing compound, such as Scratch X. Work the polish in with overlapping 8-inch diameter circles. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as it's not difficult to wear thin spots in the clear coat.

  3. 3

    Wait for the polish to dry, then buff with a clean towel.

  4. 4

    Polish the surface further with a high-quality product. Using a good polish is very important on carbon fibre, as the dark colour, depth of the weave and several coats of clear hide nothing. Work the polish in gently with overlapping circles using a clean towel.

  5. 5

    Wait for the polish to dry, then buff with a clean towel.

  6. 6

    Wax using the highest quality product available with---you guessed it, a clean microfiber towel. Avoid using spray-on waxes (remember, the carbon fibre's clear coat hides nothing).

  7. 7

    Allow 10-15 minutes to dry, away from direct sunlight. Buff with a clean towel. Repeat waxing if desired.

Tips and warnings

  • For truly damaged and worn carbon fibre parts, consider taking the part to your local paint shop for a fresh clear coat. This is generally much cheaper than having the same part painted with standard paint, and it may yield a deeper and better finish than the component had when it was new.
  • As when using any sort of abrasive on a painted surface, do not polish for too long in any one area. Though hand polishing drastically reduces the risk of burn-through versus machine polishing, it's still quite possible to do so. Never wax or polish your car in direct sunlight or under any heat-producing source of light.

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