How to Stop Clearcoat From Peeling

Written by elton dunn
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How to Stop Clearcoat From Peeling
(Jupiterimages/ Images)

Peeling clearcoat on your car is not only unsightly but it is also bad for your auto body. To stop clearcoat from peeling, you can try to sand away the top layers. Since most cars have four to five layers of clearcoat, you'll still receive the gloss and UV ray protection that your clearcoat provides. If sanding alone doesn't work, you'll need to sand down the area and repaint with touch-up paint.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Wet sandpaper, 1500-grit
  • Bucket
  • Cotton cloths
  • Car polish
  • Automotive wax
  • Dry sandpaper, 180-grit and 600-grit
  • Primer
  • Colour coat
  • Touch-up clearcoat kit
  • Rubbing compound

Show MoreHide


    Quick Method

  1. 1

    Immerse 1500-grit wet sandpaper in a bucket of water. Remove the sandpaper, then drag it in long strokes over the peeling clearcoat on your car. Wet the sandpaper as often as needed to remove paint flakes. You'll peel off the flaking layer to an intact layer underneath.

  2. 2

    Dry the area and inspect the clearcoat. If you can't see any damage, you have stopped the clearcoat from peeling.

  3. 3

    Apply a car polish to the area you just sanded using a rag. Wipe the polish over the area in long strokes and rub it in until the area becomes shiny. Apply an automotive wax to the area in the same fashion to protect your clearcoat.

    More Intensive Fix

  1. 1

    Sand the affected area down to bare metal using dry sandpaper. Automotive Touchup recommends using 180-grit sandpaper.

  2. 2

    Spray a primer over the affected area. This will help the paint go on smoothly. As soon as the first coat of primer dries, apply two more coats by spraying in an even layer. Wait for the primer to dry.

  3. 3

    Sand away any imperfections in the primer using 600-grit dry sandpaper. Rinse the area with water to remove any residue and dry thoroughly with cotton towels before continuing.

  4. 4

    Spray touch-up paint in the same colour as your car to the affected area, then wait five to 10 minutes for the paint to dry. Continue to apply touch-up paint until you are satisfied that the colour matches the rest of your car. Allow the colour coat to dry for at least 30 minutes.

  5. 5

    Brush on touch-up clearcoat with the brush in the touch-up kit. Wait 10 minutes, then apply a second coat of clearcoat. Apply a third coat in the same manner, then allow your car to dry for two hours.

  6. 6

    Immerse 1500-grit wet sandpaper in a bucket of water, then remove it. Drag the wet sandpaper across the area you touched up, working in long strokes. Whenever the sandpaper feels dry, re-wet it. This will remove any blotches in your paint job.

  7. 7

    Apply a quarter-sized amount of rubbing compound using a rag. Work the rubbing compound across the newly painted area, then wait until it hazes over. Wipe away the rubbing compound with a clean rag until you can no longer see traces. This will help blend the new and old paint jobs.

  8. 8

    Wash your car with soapy water to remove any traces of the rubbing compound. If left on, this will strip away the clearcoat and body paint. Your car's paint job should look great, with no evidence of peeling clearcoat.

Tips and warnings

  • Wait one month after touching up the clearcoat to wax your car. This allows the paint to dry and cure to your car's surface.
  • Wear a face mask when working with automotive paint to avoid breathing fumes.

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