How to refinish a carbon fiber hood with clear coat

Written by jenny carver
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How to refinish a carbon fiber hood with clear coat
Carbon fibre has a distinct pattern. (Yasuhide Fumoto/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Carbon fibre is an ultra-lightweight, extremely durable material originally used to make precision moulded aircraft parts. Carbon fibre has become popular for automotive parts, particularly in the aftermarket. Carbon fibre is a black and grey material with a distinctive square or diamond checked weave pattern. Some automotive applications of carbon fibre are merely cosmetic, such as dashboard trim. But a carbon fibre bonnet has a performance purpose: It makes the car lighter and holds up to the stresses of race driving. Still, a carbon fibre bonnet can be damaged. Bugs and rocks can cause nicks in the carbon fibre, for instance. Refinishing a carbon fibre bonnet with clear coat can make the bonnet smooth, shiny and bright again. Remove the bonnet from the car, or cover every part of the car except for the bonnet.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • 900-grit sandpaper
  • Water
  • Clear coat spray

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  1. 1

    Use 600-grit sandpaper to sand the entire outer surface of the carbon fibre bonnet. Keep the sandpaper and your hand flat against the surface. The sandpaper should stay soaking wet with water the entire time. Hold a running water hose over the sandpaper -- a helper simplifies the task -- or continuously dunk the paper into a bucket of water. Rinse the bonnet to make sure it is dull, with no shiny areas.

  2. 2

    Sand the bonnet again using 900-grit sandpaper and water. This smooths the scratches from the 600-grit sandpaper and makes the surface as smooth as possible. Rinse the bonnet and allow it to dry completely.

  3. 3

    Spray three to four coats of clear coat paint on the carbon fibre bonnet. Hold the sprayer 6 to 8 inches from the surface and use left-to-right-and-back motions, beginning at the top of the bonnet near the windshield and working down toward the front end. Wait five minutes between each coat and wait one full day before handling the bonnet.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't spray paint inside a closed building without proper ventilation.
  • Don't sand the bonnet too hard, or the carbon fibre design can become distorted. Keep the sandpaper flat on the surface.

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