How To Repair Sun Damaged Car Paint

car exposed to sun damage

If you’re eager to learn how to repair sun damaged car paint, this article is for you, especially if you like to soak up that amazing feeling of getting your car to look gorgeous and new again. 

Life is a collection of memories. From your first house, to meeting your partner and having kids…to driving your brand new, uber-shiny baby home for the first time. 

The paint is glossy and bright. Your toy looks like it just rolled out of the showroom. You can even catch a glimpse of yourself on the car’s mirror-shining paint coat. 

You get inside, and the feeling of excitement stays the same. That famous new car smell, the squeaky clean dashboard, the impressive features, the intact upholstery. What a dream! 

But As Time Goes By…

Eventually, all the gloss and shine seem to have faded. The vehicle feels and looks worn down, and the feeling simply isn’t there anymore. What happened? 

You can now see all sorts of scratches on your vehicle’s surface, and the paint just seems dull. So then, you begin to think about how to repair sun damaged car paint. Is it something that can be done? If so, can you do it by yourself?

Your head is spinning with a lot of questions, and all you can think about is getting your car’s faded paint to look new again. 

The bad news? Oxidation is a process you can’t really avoid when owning a car. Especially in hot climates or close to the coast. The car’s paint will slowly lose its shine and become faded — a paler version of what it used to be. A quite discouraging scene to witness for any passionate car owner.

The good news? You can definitely turn a damaged car around and make the paint look fresh again!

Truth be told, this is the best-kept car care secret. However, once you know it too, you’ll see how easy it can be to become a full-time happy car owner again. The best part is that you too can learn how to repair sun damaged car paint and do so at a low cost, by yourself, without the intervention of professional car detailers. 

You’ll thank yourself later.

We hope that by the end of this article, you’ll have all the information and tools you need to restore faded car paint by yourself, so you can go back to being a joyful and proud car owner!

What Makes Car Paint Fade?

Why does car paint fade? When we talk about faded car paint, we immediately blame it on the sun because this is, in fact, the main factor causing it. It’s not the only one, but definitely the main one.

We must get deeper into the subject of car paint oxidation and look at the process behind it to properly understand it before we give you a peek into how to repair sun damaged car paint by yourself, at home.

So What Is Oxidation?

Oxidation is a chemical process caused primarily by the sun that will inevitably, and negatively negatively impact all cars out there, regardless if they’re in direct sun exposure or not. The thing about oxidation is that it needs both UV rays and oxygen to leave its marks on the car’s paint coat. 

We’re basically talking about a chemical process in which the joint action of oxygen and heat is so strong that it ultimately breaks down the molecular bonds of the paint. 

The paint will simply not hold anymore, and this translates on the surface of your car in the form of sun damaged spots, where the paint is clearly more faded than on the entire car. Knowing how to repair sun damaged car paint would come very handy at this point.

It’s important to remember that oxidation will happen regardless if your car is parked directly in the sun or not. UV light will penetrate the car’s paint coat either way. Oxygen will make its way towards the under-layer of the paint, officially marking the start of the oxidation process. 

In the past, a new factory paint job was applied in only one thin layer. It took quite some time for auto producers to realize that this approach was fallible and that the layer would quickly be broken down by harmful UV rays. 

So, to prevent damaged paint from being a regular occurrence, they decided to apply the paint in two stages, which made it more durable, and the need to know how to repair sun damaged car paint would then be less frequent.

What Does Oxidation Look Like?

Even so, protection against oxidation is neither complete nor permanent. 

UV rays are powerful enough to penetrate the clear coat and break down the paint underneath. You’ll notice this by seeing spots of lighter paint on your vehicle’s surface. Plus, the difference between the areas will become clearly visible. These spots will also have a dull look compared to the other, glossier parts of your car.

Can You Fix Sun Damaged Paint?

Could you possibly take those faded patches on your car and turn them into beautiful, shiny areas of paint? The kind that you can’t easily distinguish from the rest of your car? Of course, you can!

Thankfully, sun damaged paint does not spell the end for your car.

Although you could easily call professional detailers for this type of restoration service, you can also learn how to fix damaged paint on the car all by yourself. 

The knowledge behind how to repair sun damaged car paint is quite straightforward. And as you will discover from this article, anyone can do it, even if you’re a complete newbie. You don’t need impressive car detailing skills nor too much experience as a car owner. Keep in mind that all you’ll need to do is follow the steps below with utmost care and dedication, and positive results will definitely show up quickly.

So How Do You Fix Sun Damaged Paint On a Car?

man explaining how to fix sun damaged paint on a car

Part of learning how to repair sun damaged car paint is to grasp the basics of how the paint was initially applied during the manufacturing process. 

How Was The Factory Paint Applied?

  1. What the car producers did first was to sand the bare surface to ensure there are no contaminants on the car’s first, rawest layer.
  1. Then the primer was applied, which serves as a base coat that supports the actual paint layer itself. The primer will help the paint stick much better and ensure its durability on the surface.
  1. Next came the paint coat itself. Mind you, the manufacturer’s car paint is high-quality, which is why extra care is advised when driving and caring for your car. We recommend you don’t even get to the point where you have to apply what you’ve learned on how to repair sun damaged car paint. But, sometimes, this is unavoidable, and that’s okay! You can always turn things around.
  1. The last step involves applying the clear coat, meant to protect the car paint from any future damage from all sorts of contaminants, including sunlight, dirt, and all others related to life on the road.

How Does The Sun Damaged Paint Restoration Process Unfold?

As we’ve said before, the process is quite easy, and it comprises just a few steps.

1. Get All Your Supplies In One Place

First of all, you’ll need to have some supplies handy before you start to fix the sun damaged paint on your car. Having said this, begin the process by gathering up the following supplies:

  • Car washing materials
  • Car buffing compound
  • An electric machine buffer
  • At least one microfiber buffing pad and polishing pad
  • Bucket of water
  • Any paint protection product, such as car polish, car wax, paint sealant, or the Nexgen Ceramic Spray.

2. Wash Your Car Properly

There’s very little you can ever do for your car in terms of car care when you don’t wash it first. Do you know how car washing using the bucket method has always delivered great results? 

Well, it still does, and it’s actually your best option for the first step of the faded paint restoration process. This is because you can pay extra attention to how you wash the car while also using a professional sponge and car soap.

This will help you efficiently remove the contaminants that may be stuck to the car and interfere with the sun damaged paint restoration process. Just make sure that you don’t simply leave your car wet as it is to dry on its own. This enables pesky water spots to form on the vehicle’s surface. Use a few microfiber towels or a leaf blower to dry your car after washing.

3. Use a Clay Bar

Even after an intensive washing session, bonded contaminants can still linger on the paint of your car. This is, precisely, where using a clay bar could make all the difference. Clay has this miraculous ability to spotlessly clean your car even after you’ve washed it. Don’t skip this step if you really want to learn how to repair sun damaged car paint like a professional.

4. Repair The Damaged Paint

As soon as you’ve made sure the car is all clean, then you should move your attention towards the affected paint area. Inspect the size of the scratches on your car, and if they’re not minor scratches, yet not too deep, you can simply apply some rubbing compound on the impacted area.

5. Buff It Out

At this point of the process, buffing out the sun damaged car paint is essential.

What you want to do first is to wet your buffing pad and then add some buffing compound to it. If you want to master how to repair sun damaged car paint, then you absolutely must pay attention to this step of the process.

You can now start to buff out the area with your buffing pads. On average, it’s recommended that you repeat this three times. You can also check to see if the rubbing alcohol has had its desired effect. For this, you can simply wet the affected area of your car. If the paint looks like it’s been fixed, you can go for another round of rubbing compound.

6. Apply Protection

It would be a shame if you’ve gotten so far with your sun damaged paint restoration process and you didn’t go through the final sealing stage as well. For this step, you can choose from several options, and these are:

Car Wax

We recommend waxing for any car owner that wants to keep their car in pristine condition. This means extra gloss and a top layer of needed protection against future contaminants. 

If you can, go for carnauba wax, it’s natural and very beneficial to your car, even though it may last for a shorter amount of time compared to synthetic wax. However, it’s best if you first polish your car before waxing it, since it clears whatever contaminants may still be left on the paint coat. As you can see, all these steps are essential if you want to learn how to repair sun damaged car paint.

Paint Sealant

Applying a paint sealant is very similar to applying wax. The main difference between both is that with paint sealant, you’ll need a follow-up session within about six months, while with wax, this timeframe is much shorter.

Ceramic Coating

Now, this is the true long-lasting protection your car really needs. You may not have heard yet about ceramic coating, but what you need to know about it is that at the current moment, it’s the best kind of protection in the entire automotive industry that you could get for your car. 

This is because it offers an incredibly durable protective layer that’s highly efficient against sun damage and other types of contaminants.

It won’t matter if you’ve learned how to repair sun damaged car paint if you don’t properly protect the paint in the end.

There is ceramic coating done by professional detailers, which will cost a small fortune each time. But, there is a DIY ceramic coating that you can easily do by yourself, at home, by using our tips and tricks for ceramic coating.

If you go for the DIY version, be sure to only use the best products on the market. When it comes to ceramic products, the SiO2 composition makes all the difference in terms of protection. 

In this respect, we strongly recommend Nexgen Ceramic Spray, Torque Detail, or Shine Armor. Our top choice is the Nexgen spray. Its staggering 13% SiO2 composition makes it last four times longer than other, similar sprays on the market.

This is about everything you need to know when it comes to learning how to repair sun damaged car paint. As long as you follow all these steps and gather all the necessary car care materials, you should be able to completely turn around sun faded paint and make it look shiny again. 

What If You Don’t Like The End Result?

But what if you did follow all these steps, yet the end result is not that great

Well, this can happen and will happen in many cases. But don’t get discouraged!

Learning how to fix sun damaged paint on a car is not difficult, but it’s not extremely easy either.

Thankfully, there’s good news in this regard. You can always correct a paint restoration process gone wrong by taking your car to the body shop. The professionals there will know what to do, and in many cases, they will do it right, so the mistake will be impossible to spot in the end. 

However, if you want to follow up on how to repair sun damaged car paint by yourself, you can save yourself loads of money. 

So here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Local wet sanding on the slip-up should do the trick just fine.
  • Proceed to buff the paint.
  • Polish the paint to ensure it gets that incredibly beautiful shine.

In the end, remember that mistakes happen, but they can also be easily corrected since nothing is truly permanent. So try to look on the bright side and be thankful that you have indeed learned how to fix sun damaged paint on a car!

Final Thoughts

In the end, it’s great and comforting to know that any sun damaged paint can actually be made to look good once again. 

As a car owner, it’s almost impossible to avoid facing these challenges over time, including the moment you see your car lose against sun damage.

We also know how discouraging it can feel to see unbecoming faded spots on your car’s paint coat and how unaesthetic your car’s finish can turn out to look.

Truth is, you don’t need to have an incredible amount of experience as a car owner to learn how to repair sun damaged car paint. Anyone can do it, and it’s simply a matter of following the steps, getting the right car care products to support the process, and arming yourself with passion, determination, and thoroughness. 

If you have any questions regarding this process or need any advice on how to fix sun damaged paint on a car, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll be more than happy to assist you with anything we can.

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