Do it Yourself Remedy for Faded Paint on an Automobile

Written by hunkar ozyasar
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Do it Yourself Remedy for Faded Paint on an Automobile
Clear, shiny paint will enhance the value and appeal of your car. (classic car image by Mariusz Blach from

Paint on an automobile can become dull due to contaminants, dust and oxidation. Unless the problem is severe, a good car wash and detailing--followed by the application of car wax--will solve the problem. For older cars with severely oxidised paint, you may need to sand away some of the paint in order to remove the irreparable top layer. This is a significantly harder and riskier project as inaccurate sanding can permanently damage the finish of the car.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Clean water
  • Car shampoo
  • Clay or liquid detailing product
  • Car Wax
  • Soft cloth

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    Wash The Car

  1. 1

    Park your car in a cool, dry place, and manually remove any objects such as twigs and leaves to prepare for the wash. A thorough wash will not only get rid of the most superficial layer of contaminants that make your paint appear dull, but also allow you to assess the real condition of your vehicle.

  2. 2

    Use a quality car wash product, and never apply household cleaners or personal care items such as floor cleaner, liquid hand soap or hair shampoo to your vehicle. These products will destroy the protective outer layer on your paint and do irreversible damage.

  3. 3

    Dry the car with a soft cloth after the wash. Do not let water droplets sit on your car, as they will leave behind white spots.

    Detail The Car

  1. 1

    Read the instructions on the package of the clay bar or mould. Firmly grasp the clay--slightly moisten it if the instructions recommend doing so--and gently rub it on the surface of your car with linear motions.

  2. 2

    Check the clay periodically, and get a new piece if the surface has picked up a substantial amount of dirt. Remember, clay is not reusable or washable.

  3. 3

    Continue to work with linear strokes until you can no longer see dirt or dust on the surface. The front of the hood and the areas around your headlights may require several applications as these places are exposed to a lot of bugs and tiny particles.

    Wax The Car

  1. 1

    Dry the car with a soft cloth to remove any water or clay residue. Take another piece of clean, soft cloth, and apply a small amount of wax on the cloth.

  2. 2

    Rub the wax gently on the surface of the car. Again, it is best to avoid short, circular motions, and use longer linear strokes instead. If this feels unnatural and hard, use larger circles as opposed to smaller ones, as a larger swirl mark will be less visible.

  3. 3

    Continue to work the wax in until you can no longer see any trace of it. Wait for 15 minutes after finishing to let the wax dry. If you see any dry or less shiny areas, reapply wax to those areas. Buff the waxed areas with a soft cloth to bring out the shine.

    Consider Sanding

  1. 1

    Sand the paint as a last option. If you are working with an older vehicle, the washing, waxing, and detailing may not fully eliminate the fading paint because older cars have no clear coat. Their paint can therefore oxidise with time. If that happens, you must sand away some of the old paint.

  2. 2

    Measure the thickness of the existing paint to ensure this process is viable. Use extreme caution, as special equipment is needed for this process, and you may have to consult an auto bodyworks garage if you lack the necessary equipment.

  3. 3

    Request help from an expert. Since a mistake during sanding can permanently damage your finish, it is best to get professional help if you wish to go that route.

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