Most drivers think of the paint on their car in terms of a personal statement – concerned with what the glossy black, brilliant white or smoky silver paint job will say about them. At the same time, individuals who have received collision technician training from a certified collision repair school know better. They know there’s more to it than simple hue and sheen.
More Than Paint Deep
Your vehicle’s finish is more than just a simple coat of paint. Even though the paint will always be what attracts attention, it is actually only a small part of the finish process. Car manufacturers know that a vehicle’s finish will have to endure years – perhaps decades – of abuse including rain, snow, road salt and debris. That abuse causes wear – not just to the paint itself but the metal and plastic found beneath.
In order to combat this, the actual chemical composition of automotive paint itself has changed. Gone are the unprotected, delicate enamels and lacquers of years past. Chemistry has changed to the point that achieving rich, deep color no longer means having to forgo protection. Modern automobile finishes can withstand incredible extremes – from blinding desert sun to brutal winter road salt to wide swings in temperature and humidity.
To determine exactly why modern automotive finishes are so robust, we need to dig a bit beneath the surface. Modern manufacturers apply vehicle finishes in sterile environments. First, body panels are treated and cleaned to remove all trace of impurities. Now that the body is free of any dirt, oil or dust; specialized robots apply an even, uniform coating of paint. These robots remove the potential for human error and minimize the risk of ripple, bubbles, waves… and the dreaded “orange peel” effect.
New Technology in Finishes
Over the last several decades, advancements made in automotive finishes represent some of the greatest strides made in vehicle manufacturing. From the very early days of assembly-line production, the basic layout and components of the automobile have not changed dramatically. Instead – while they have become more refined and gotten more complex – revolutionary change to the fundamental concept has been slow to come.
In the realm of automotive paint and finish, the changes have been more dramatic – with many of the largest changes coming not to the paint, but the overcoat. Modern clear-coat finishes serve to protect both the paint and the bodywork underneath from UV radiation (the primary cause of paint fading) and minor road damage.
Protecting What You See… With What You Can’t
Modern clear coat offers significant protection from road damage caused by hail, salt, gravel, and other flying debris. Clear coat is of sufficient thickness to actually absorb most of the damage from minor chips and scratches before they can reach down far enough to damage the underlying layer of paint itself. That’s why the majority of chips, nicks, and scratches can be buffed away or polished out – they haven’t reached the color coat itself.
To learn more about how modern automotive finishes have been engineered to protect both paint and body – as well as how collision-repair experts with advanced technical training learn to repair and restore them, download your free copy of our popular eBook: