Faded spots and peeling paint are common indicators that a vehicle needs a touchup or new paint job.
Arlie Overton of Arlie’s Collision Specialists in Marion said ultraviolet sunrays are usually the culprit of paint wear and tear.
“UV rays can dull the quality of a paint job,” Overton said. “If you see a car peeling, it means UV rays penetrated the clear coat.”
There are different solvent-based and waterborne paints. Overton said waterborne paints typically result in more vivid colors and are better for the environment than solvent-based paints.
Clear coats protect base coats, a specific color of paint, by blocking UV rays. However, not all clear coats are equal. Higher quality clear coats typically block more UV rays, he said, where lower quality clear coats let more rays through.
Often vehicle owners may elect to touch up faded or peeling spots or scratches on their own because they do not want to spend the time or money on an entirely new paint job.
In theory, touching up a paint job is a relatively simple process consisting of sanding an area, cleaning it, priming, applying paint then a clear coat, and letting it dry.
Overton said people should check with dealers or parts shops to confirm that they have all the right material before they start a project, but many consumer products do not satisfy.
“It’s all in what people expect,” Overton said. “Touch up is just that, touch up. Some people come in and say, ‘I bought this but it doesn’t look right.’ They won’t get the smooth, even color with what I call the infomercial stuff.”
He said there really is not a DIY product that can give a vehicle an original, new look.
Higher-quality factory-grade paints also require a license and special training to apply.
“If you’re going to do a touch up job yourself, the best thing you can do is get a touch up kit,” Overton said. “We use them for touch up here. They have a small brush that looks like a ballpoint pen, come with a base coat, and a little bit of clear coat. You have to use that clear coat or the UV will kill the base.”