Friday, November 11, 2011

automotive paint

LinkCar buyers can choose from many options when shopping for an automotive paint protection system.

Most products on the market seek to protect a new car's appearance and resale value. Protectants shield from weather, pollution, UV rays, road debris, and bugs, among other things. Each product works differently; therefore, it is important for consumers to know a little bit about how each product works.

Clear coat, paint sealant and wax

Popularized in the early 1990s, clear coat is a colorless top layer of paint that provides a glossy finish while protecting the base coat from harmful UV rays. Typically, an automotive paint surface consists of a primer coat, which is sprayed on directly to the surface, a base coat containing the color, and a clear coat. More than 90 percent of new cars feature a clear coat.

Sealants and waxes are applied over the paint finish to provide slick shine and extra protection from UV rays, contamination and moisture. These popular paint protection systems differ in looks, application and durability.

Paint sealant -- also known as synthetic wax or paint protectant -- is a common form of automotive paint protection sold in the aftermarket. Made from polymers and composed of thousands of synthetic particles linked together, sealants bond to the painted surface, forming a durable protective shell with a glossy look. Paint sealant is liquid; therefore, it easy to apply. Premium sealant lasts 4-6 months on average.

In car care talk, the terms "wax" and "polish" are often used interchangeably. A wax job lasts 6 weeks approximately, depending on climate and whether or not a vehicle is garaged. In South Florida, where heat and humidity persist, a waxing may not last more than a few weeks. Perhaps the most popular wax on the market is carnauba wax, which comes from the leaves of the Brazilian carnauba plant. This premium wax, also known as palm wax or Brazilian wax, leaves the paint with a glossy shine and extra protection from intense sunshine.

Front-end protection: Car bra versus clear bra

While clear coats, sealants and waxes protect paint from UV rays, contamination and moisture, they do not shield the car from stone chips. The more a car is driven, the more the vehicle's front-end is abused. Surfaces Linkthat are most susceptible to paint chipping are the front bumper, front edge of the hood, grille posts, side fenders, door edges and side view mirrors.

Enter the automotive bra. Car bras, both vinyl and clear, attempt to carry out what other paint protection systems fail to do-insulate vulnerable auto surfaces from road debris, sand, stones and bugs.

Invented in 1961 by Bill Colgan at the request of Porsche enthusiasts, the car bra or front-end bra is a stretchy black vinyl lined with felt that attaches to the front of the vehicle. Manufacturers produce car bras for most car models. Critics of the car bra claim that it traps debris and moisture between the vinyl and the car's surface, permanently damaging the paint.

The clear bra or invisible bra is a transparent urethane film that adheres to the front-end of cars. Originally used to protect the leading edges of military helicopters, paint protection film evolved into an alternative to the black vinyl car bra. A professionally installed clear bra offers effective paint protection against stones, debris and bugs without altering the natural appearance of the automobile.


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