Has your clear coat started to peel off and you are looking for ways how to fix peeling paint on a car? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there is a lot to cover on this topic and we are going to learn precisely that.
- What Is Peeling Paint?
- Why It Peels Off
- Layers Of Paint
- Pros & Cons
- How To Fix It?
Having a problem like this with peeling paint on the roof and on the hood is probably something that nobody wants and it can happen on a lot of cars. Especially cars from the 80s, 90s, and 00s era which cannot be regarded as vehicles with the best paint jobs out there.
So, you shouldn’t get desperate because you are not the only one around that has problems like this with a poor paint job. There are hundreds or even thousands of people who have an older vehicle and have issues like these. Luckily, everything is fixable and there are some clear coat restoration methods that you can try. And we are going to elaborate more in detail on that in the following chapters.
First, we are going to learn what is peeling paint on a car. Then we will cover the reasons why paint peels off from the car, then we will take a look at the paint jobs and understand the layers of paint that go into them, after that we will cover the pros and cons. Lastly, we will discuss how to fix peeling paint on a car. So, if you want to learn more, please follow along.
What Is A Peeling Paint On A Car
Now before we dive into rather complex topics, such as how to fix peeling paint on a car. Let’s first dive into the basics and learn more about what is peeling paint on a car. Why is this necessary?
Well, before you’d begin, you need to have a good understanding of this issue first. So, this chapter is dedicated to them. If you have the grasp of knowledge needed, you can jump to one of the following chapters where we learn how to fix peeling paint on a car.
Nevertheless, what is peeling paint on a car? Well, peeling paint is not peeling paint actually. A ton of people who notice some fading and chipped paint, start to think that their paint peels off.
But in reality, what it peels is the clear coat of the car. So, what is a clear coat? Well, a clear coat is the top layer of the pain that is most exposed to the elements.
So, in most cases when you have paint peeling off the car, it is not actually the paint. But the clear coat. This is why you should not panic too much since your car will not start rusting if this layer has peeled off.
There are still at least two layers below it which are also quite thick and can withstand many more years of use. But how to fix peeling paint on a car? More on that, we are going to cover it in a bit.
Reasons Why Paint Peels Off
Now since we learned what is peeling paint and learned that it’s the clear coat that is usually peeling off, we can now move on and dive into the reasons why the paint peels off.
And frankly, there could be a number of different reasons why is this happening to your car. This is why we are going to elaborate on each of these reasons thoroughly and learn more about why clear coat peeling and paint peeling off car occurs.
So, if you want to learn more about this, follow along. If not, you can jump directly, to the topic where we cover how to fix peeling paint on a car.
How To Fix Peeling Paint On A Car, Why It Peels #1: Poor Quality Paint Job
The first reason on our list before we start diving into the topic of how to fix peeling paint on a car is a poor-quality paint job.
This is the most common cause of this situation happening. Even if the car was painted from the factory, if some of the processes were not done right, the paint would chip away after a couple of years.
And this is present on a lot of models out there. Even vehicles that are not older than 15 years have problems like this when the clear coat simply starts to degrade and basically disappears.
On some cars, it starts to crack and flakes off. It really depends on the make and model of the car. And it is often advised for you to go online and study more about that specific vehicle that you try to purchase because some cars are more prone to this issue than others.
During the painting process, some of the steps might not have been followed to a T and before applying the clear coat, the surface was probably contaminated. This caused the clear coat not to stick well and then it starts to chip away. So, you should be aware of this problem if you are asking me.
Now let’s move on to the second probable reason for paint peeling off before we dive into how to fix peeling paint on a car.
How To Fix Peeling Paint On A Car, Why It Peels #2: Low-Quality Clear Coat
The second reason that we are going to cover paint peeling before we dive into how to fix peeling paint on a car is the low-quality clear coat.
As we mentioned previously, a clear coat is a coat that is applied as the top layer and this layer serves the purpose to protect the paint from the elements. This layer should be much thicker than the paint.
Mainly because, it needs to serve as a protector that will make sure that even if there is a scratch, this scratch will not cut so deep that will end inside of the paint.
And what some car companies do is apply poor quality clear coats. Or a simple layer of clear coat that is really thin.
And this clear coat is not enough to withstand the elements. So, if you see a car with a clear coat that faded away. It is mainly because of a really thin coat of clear coat applied. Or a low-quality clear coat.
Back in the day, cars were disposable items that weren’t valued as much as today and they were designed to last for 10 years and then replaced with new cars.
Nowadays people try to squeeze every last mile out of these cars and they push them for 20+ years and after so, long these downsides show up. Low-quality materials and paint jobs will start to show their downsides sooner or later. Now let’s move on to the next cause before we learn how to fix peeling paint on a car.
How To Fix Peeling Paint On A Car, Why It Peels #3: Old Age
Now before we start learning how to fix peeling paint on a car, let’s take a look at the next reason why car paint fails and starts to fade and chip away.
And this is an obvious reason. Which is the age of the paint job. Back in the day, paint jobs consisted of two layers. A primer and the paint. This paint didn’t have a clear coat on it and it was really prone to fading and peeling.
Modern paint jobs implement a different approach. And that is the paint, plus the clear coat. So, when you buff the paint, you only remove a layer of the clear coat and not from the paint itself. Which is good for longevity.
But still, it doesn’t last as much as we people would want it. And even these paint jobs require a respray after 20 or so years. But how to fix peeling paint on a car? More on that, we are going to cover it in a bit.
How To Fix Peeling Paint On A Car, Why It Peels #4: Exposure To Weather
Now let’s cover the last probable reason for this problem before we start digging into how to fix peeling paint on a car. And the last reason on our list is the weather.
Leaving the car to stay in the elements will really be detrimental to the paint job of the vehicle. This is why a lot of people who don’t garage their vehicles have problems with the paint.
Usually, the roof is the first one that starts to show the downsides, and then the hood and the truck. But this doesn’t have always to be the case because this could depend on the make and model, as well as the year of production.
Usually, cars with cheap paint jobs and a thin clear coat will be the first that will start to show downsides when it comes to the paint job. So, be aware of these problematic makes and models when it comes to the paint. But how to fix peeling paint on a car? More on that we are going to cover in a moment.
Layers Of Car Paint
Another topic that we would like to cover before we learn how to fix peeling paint on a car is the topic of the layers of paint on a car. We still need to know how many layers the paint job has. This is important for novice mechanics. So, let’s cover it briefly.
Single Stage Paint Job
The first type of paint job that we are going to cover before we dive into how to fix peeling paint on a car is single-stage paint. So, what is single-stage paint?
Well, as its name suggests, this is a paint job which is only a single layer of paint and that’s it. The metal is of course protected with a primer but this primer isn’t counted as a layer of paint.
So, this is the single-stage paint job. All cars till the early 90s came with a single-stage paint job. This was a much cheaper way to paint since carmakers didn’t apply a clear coat.
But times have shifted towards the longevity of the vehicles since cars have become more and more expensive throughout the years. And here we come to the next type of paint that we are going to cover next.
Two Stage Paint Job
The next type of paint job that we are going to cover before we dive into how to fix peeling paint on a car is the two-stage paint job. So, what is a two-stage paint job?
Well, a two-stage painting is a paint job that implements two layers. As we noted previously, there is primer. But primer isn’t counted as a paint layer. Then there is the actual paint layer and on top of the paint, there is a thicker coat known as a clear coat.
The clear coat is quite thick. This allows the clear coat to get scratched and the paint to be corrected with a buffing machine. This is why all modern cars come with a two-stage paint job.
Pros And Cons Of Modern Paint Job
Now another topic that we would like to cover before we dive into how to fix peeling paint on a car is the pros and cons of having a modern two-stage paint job.
As with everything out there, there is a pro and a con to everything. So, it is worth mentioning the positives and negatives of this way of painting as well.
First, let’s cover the pros of having a two-stage paint job before we dive into how to fix peeling paint on a car.
When it comes to the pros, it is worth mentioning that there are a lot of them. The first pro is probably the looks.
If you want to get a mirror finish, this is the paint job that you want. One good buff and the paint will look spectacular. Then you can protect it with ceramic coating and keep this shine.
Also, except for the looks, this type of paint job is far more durable and can withstand quite a lot. Even though it can also start to peel off as in our case.
Good quality factory paint jobs last for more than 30 years. There are some cars produced in the early 90s that still look quite spectacular nowadays. So, this is why we recommend this way of painting. But what about the cons of two-stage paint? Let’s cover more on them next before we dive into how to fix peeling paint on a car.
The next topic we would want to discuss is the cons of a two-stage paint job. This is crucial to understand before we start learning more about how to fix peeling paint on a car.
So, what are the cons? Well, the biggest con is the price. The cost of repainting a two-stage paint job is much more expensive than a single stage. Mainly because there are two layers of paint that you need to apply.
In addition to this, this way of painting is far less forgiving and if you make some mistakes, you will have to either buff later on or even repaint on some occasions. This is why painting for beginners can be a really difficult task.
Another downside is that the clear coat tends to peel off after years of use if the paint job was not done correctly and the layer of the clear coat is too thin.
And the last downside when it comes to this way of painting is if you decide to paint a classic or vintage car. It will not look like the car was painted in that period. So, if you want to get that classic finish, you will have to go for a single-stage paint job. Now let’s learn how to fix peeling paint on a car.
How To Fix Peeling Paint On A Car
Now let’s get to business and learn how to fix peeling paint on a car. How you can do this practice? Well, there is a way where you can try to partially restore the paint on your car.
For this method, you will need a lot of sandpaper and also a clear coat in a spray can. But take note that this will not make the car good as factory. You will improve the look but making the car good as factory will require a complete respray on the damaged surface. So, how goes this repair process?
Well, the first thing you will need to do is to wet sand the paint of the car. Don’t go too rough because you will remove the paint.
You can start with 2000 grit sandpaper and sand the whole panel that you want to paint. Remember that you need to wet sand the surface and not dry sand. When you do a car paint job, you always wet sand the surface.
You should primarily focus on the places where there’s still some clear coat left and make sure that you even it out or completely remove it.
Then you want to get 100% alcohol and wipe the panel. Make sure that all of the contaminants are removed from the surface.
Then wipe the panel once again to remove possible contaminants and apply the first coat. The first coat should be light. Then apply the second coat and third coat. Then once everything dries, buff the clear coat to get that shine.
Cost To Fix Peeling Paint On A Car
Since we covered how to fix peeling paint on a car, let’s now dive into the cost to fix peeling paint on a car. How much it will cost you?
Well, if you decide to do this work at home using common tools and spray can clear coat, then it can be done rather cheaply. It will not cost you more than $30 for the sandpaper and the clear coat.
If you do this at a shop and decide to respray a whole panel, then you will have to pay more than $500 on average. The bigger the surface and prep work, the higher the cost will be, so you need to be prepared for this. Now let’s conclude this article.
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to peeling car paint. First, we learned what is paint peeling and the reasons why this is happening on your car.
Then we covered the most common types of paint jobs which are the single-stage and two-stage paint jobs. After that, we covered the pros and cons of having a two-stage paint job, and lastly, we focused on how to fix peeling paint on a car.
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is A Clear Coat
The clear coat is the top layer of the two-stage paint job. This coat is a UV protective coat that is designed to keep the paint protected from the elements.
How To Remove Clear Coat
You can remove the clear coat by either sanding the panel with sandpaper or with an electric sander. Either way works. The cheaper way is to do this manually.
How To Sand A Car For Paint
You can sand a car for paint manually or with an electric sander. Doing this manually will take you a good time but it will deliver you a better result. If you do this with a tool, it can be more expensive, and also the effect could not be good as you expected it, especially if you haven’t used one of these machines.
Why Does Paint Crack
Paint usually cracks because of a poor paint job. The paint job was not great and there were some missing steps. For example, a too thick coat of bondo can cause the paint to crack, low quality paint can crack. Not cleaning the surface before painting can also cause the paint to crack.
How To Fix Clear Coat Damage
You can try sanding the damaged paint and then apply a fresh clear coat to it. This will not give you a perfect result. But it is cheap. If you decide to respray the whole panel at a shop it will cost you a lot more.
How To Remove Rust From A Car Without Sanding
The only way to remove rust without sanding is by taking the car to an acid bath or using a sandblaster to remove the rust. Still, this is only recommended for restorations. For small jobs, it is impossible to remove rust without sanding.
These tools have been tried and tested by our team, they are ideal for fixing your car at home.