how to apply clear coat over your repair
If you're in the process of refinishing or repairing a newer car (anything built after 1997), chances are you'll eventually find yourself spending some quality time with a can of clear coat. Clear coat is that all-important barrier which protects your car's paint from the cruel world around it. When properly applied to your car's base coat, clear coat will block harmful UV rays that can cause fading, protect against chips and scratches, and provide a glossier finish than any single-stage auto paint.
When it comes to applying clear coat, the most important thing to remember is that it's more of a science than an art. It's an often meticulous job, which requires a delicate environment, but the results are well worth the effort put into it. Here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind when tackling the job:
1. Be mindful of the weather.
2. Practice makes perfect.
- An environment of 75 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal. Anything below 55 degrees or above 90 degrees and you're going to compromise the job.
- On hot days, try painting in the shade, late at night, or early in the morning.
- For cold days, head for a heated garage.
- Try to avoid high humidity whenever possible.
- NEVER paint in direct sunlight.
- If your clear coat becomes foggy, chances are you have a temperature or humidity issue.
3. Don't rush a good job.
- For those without prior experience dealing with spray cans, I would recommend practicing on a smooth piece of metal to get a feel for how it flows from the can.
- Try to create straight, even strokes with a 50% overlap upon one another. This will prevent what's called "Tiger Striping".
- Be sure to wait 10 minutes between each application of clear coat.
- After the final coat is applied, it will be about 1 hour before the surface is safe to touch.
- It is strongly recommended that you wait 30 days before waxing, buffing or taking the treated car through a carwash. If you live in a cold climate, wait at least 45 days.
- For those who have trouble waiting 30 - 45 days to see the fruits of their labor, a temporary gloss can be achieved by applying a hand glaze, one day after clear coat application.
4. Save some for next time.
- When the job is done, be sure to properly store unfinished spray cans so that their ready to go next time you need them. To do so, tip the cans upside-down and spray away from the vehicle till all that comes out is clear gas. This will clear the nozzle, allowing the paint inside to stay good indefinitely.
- Be sure to never store the cans in an area where they can possibly freeze. This will permanently ruin the paint inside.
- As with most aerosol cans, never store the above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will run the risk of explosion or fire.