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What is Paint Overspray? [UPDATED 2022]

What is Paint Overspray? [UPDATED 2022]

what is paint overspray? how does it get on my car? picture of a bridge painter creating overspray.
What is Paint Overspray? It’s created by people like this. Professional painters spraying the underside of a bridge. PHOTO CREDITS: AdobeStock – Elroi

What is Paint Overspray?

I started this article with the idea of writing about paint overspray on cars and how to remove it.

Then it occurred to me that some car owners with this problem might want to know more details about paint overspray and how to deal with it beyond being told to get a buffer and a clay bar and go to work.

Sometimes you simply want to find the person that covered your car in hardened spray paint droplets and have them take responsibility. Most of the time it’s just an accident or mistake on their part and it’s the reason they have liability insurance coverage.

You also have insurance for a reason. And paint overspray removal is a very common issue that insurance companies frequently deal with. So much, in fact, that many insurance carriers have national contracts with paint overspray removal services and/or auto detailing shops for clay bar and buffing services.

Since this is AutoDetailGuide, we like to cover all aspects of an automotive topic. Like we’ve been doing since 1999. This article is generally the first step in starting the paint overspray removal process.

We are the definitive resource on learning how to both protect your car paint and clear coat as well as how to clean and remove paint overspray from cars. One of our most popular do-it-yourself pages is our guide to Paint Overspray Removal. When it comes to removing paint overspray, we know what we’re talking about.

So let’s talk about how to remove overspray. From the basics like what it is and where it comes from, to the advanced topics of how to file an insurance claim to remove paint overspray, and how to make sure you aren’t out of pocket for the repair costs.

What is Overspray?

The word “overspray” refers to the phenomenon of droplets of paint or similar related coatings that are dispersed through the air but do not adhere to the surface it was supposed to cover. This is where the “over-spraying” aspect comes from.

Overspray is a surprisingly common occurrence in many industries, including automotive manufacturing, construction, and, of course, painting.

What is Paint Overspray?

Spray paint overspray is what happens when paint is sprayed through a pressurized or airless sprayer and lands on a surface other than the one it was intended to cover. The most common example is latex paint or polyurethane sealers that are carried by the wind and land on something other than the intended surface. On windy days paint overspray is a serious problem. It could land on a car, truck, house, boat, or any number of objects.

What is the most common type of overspray?

The most common type of overspray is sprayed paint. Most often this is latex paint, but there are many others including epoxy deck stains, industrial epoxy coatings, and heated highway line paint.

Where Does Paint Overspray Come From?

There are many different types of overspray and they are usually named by the source of the coating in question. The most common examples of this are:

  • Highway line painting
  • Bridge painting projects
  • Construction painting
  • Residential home exterior painting
  • Cleaning wooden decks and applying polyurethane sealers

Each type of paint has a different chemical makeup and will require different removal methods.

Epoxy paint like those used in commercial paint jobs, bridge painting projects, painting water towers, and large office building painting, is some of the most difficult paint to remove. Anyone who has ever sprayed paint on anything will understand how fast paint spray travels. This is why you see the huge white tarp wrapped bridges for overspray prevention when you’re driving on the highway.

A painting contractor knows how difficult it is to remove industrial epoxy coatings from a painted surface. Applying paint that doesn’t come off is their job. It’s also their responsibility to prevent overspray to mitigate or reduce potential damage claims that are caused by their performance.

The surface that the paint is on will also play a role in what removal methods will work and also affects overspray removal prices.

For example, bridge painting projects use epoxy paint that is heated to high temperatures and then applied with spray guns onto the surface. Painters use many methods to prevent overspray, but sometimes it still escapes. Large commercial paint jobs drift in windy conditions like this. And that type of paint overspray removal is very difficult without damaging the underlying surface.

Highway line paint is another difficult type of epoxy paint to remove. It is also heated to high temperatures and then applied hot to the surface with spray guns. Highway road paint is designed to withstand harsh conditions, including weathering, UV rays, and road salt. The road paint workers do attempt to prevent overspray, but they have to use large spray patterns to get enough paint on the road.

If you’ve ever tried to attempt road paint removal from your car’s inner wheel wells, then you know how it’s difficult removing overspray like that.

So it stands to reason that removing it from your car is equally difficult. That’s why an auto insurance company will have insurance claims experts that deal with these types of claims.

What Causes Paint Overspray?

Overspray happens while painting anything. It can be caused by many things, from faulty spray painting equipment to weather conditions and carelessness on the part of the painter. And while it is more commonly associated with damaging car paint jobs, it can happen anytime a painter is working with paint.

There are a few factors that can contribute to overspray. The most common one is the use of an improper spray gun or nozzle. If the atomization of the paint is not correct, it can result in large droplets that spread out too much as they travel through the air.

Bad weather conditions can also cause the paint to dry too quickly or blow away in unintended directions when it’s windy.

Another common cause is not having proper containment around the work area. This could be something as simple as not tarping off a vehicle before painting it. If there is nothing to contain the paint, it will spread out and eventually land on something else.

How Far Does Paint Overspray Travel?

Paint overspray is carried away from the spray gun by the wind and can travel for miles. This is what causes it to land on cars, trucks, houses, and other surfaces that are not its intended target. The farther away from the source, the spray pattern, and the number of spray guns applying paint, the more widespread the damage will be.

This is why contractors are forced to pay so much for their liability insurance coverage. And why most go out of their way to prevent overspray from happening at all. A small accident can cover an entire vehicle, or just the windshield and plastic trim.

But a large claim can be tens of thousands of dollars or more.

How Does Paint Overspray Get on Cars?

There are many ways that paint overspray can get on cars. When paint or sealant is applied to a surface with a spray gun from an airless paint sprayer, some of it will inevitably fly off and land on other surfaces nearby. It turns into a fine mist of paint particles, so it is bound to travel some distance.

Common ways to get paint overspray on your car:

  • Driving through an area where a painter is working, even if you are several blocks away
  • Having your car parked near or under a structure that is being painted
  • Driving or parking near a construction site where workers are using paints or sealants
  • Driving or parking near a bridge that is being painted
  • Driving behind a highway paint truck sprayer
  • Driving or parking near a house having its porch deck boards painted and/or sealed

What Does Paint Overspray Look Like?

Clearcoat contamination and paint overspray are often missed when you are looking at your car. The problem is the size of the droplets and the color of the paint or sealant. Even black paint overspray on a white surface might look like a light dusting of dirt because it’s such a fine mist when it settles on your car.

The easiest method of identifying overspray is not through sight, it’s by touch. Run your hand over the car and feel the paint. Your normal car clear coat is perfectly smooth. But overspray feels bumpy, like sandpaper. If you feel something less than smooth, it’s a good indicator that you have paint overspray on your car.

Who is Responsible for Overspray?

Paint overspray damage is usually caused by painting contractors, auto body shops, bridge painters, construction companies, and so on. There are many types of businesses and contractors that paint.

And reputable businesses all have insurance. It protects both them and their customers.

Most contractor insurance policies include paint overspray coverage. This is because it is a common occurrence and can cause significant damage. The policy will cover any damages caused by the paint overspray, including:

  • Paint that has been deposited on the surface of the car
  • Paint that has been deposited on the windows or windshield
  • Paint that has been deposited on the paint job itself

Industrial bridge painters and construction companies pay a lot of money in liability insurance coverage to pay claims resulting from paint overspray damage.

So do painting contractors.

And when your neighbor admits he used a paint sprayer indoors but swears he left the windows closed? He has homeowners insurance just for that reason.

How to Verify Contractor Liability Insurance is Active

At a minimum, you should have proof of coverage or a certificate of insurance for your contractor’s liability insurance. This certificate allows you to see exactly what type of liability coverage the contractor maintains. And also verify that the policy is active and in force (paid and up to date).

You should also be listed as an additional named insured so it is easier for you to file a claim and verify coverage. Any contractor that has a problem with this part of the hiring process, should simply be avoided.

Does Contractor Liability Insurance Exclude Overspray Claims?

Short answer, no. Long answer, possibly. It really comes down to the contractor and which options they choose for their commercial insurance coverage.

All reputable contractors have liability insurance that is initially offered with overspray claims coverage included. If you’re concerned about the possibility of overspray damage, ask your contractor what kind of liability insurance coverage they have in place before you hire them.

Where you run into problems with this is with a professional painter that is trying to save money on their liability insurance costs. Many insurance companies now offer the option to exclude overspray coverage from their professional liability insurance policies. The cost savings can be significant, so this is an important question to ask your painter.

Keep in mind that any professional painter can still cover your neighborhood in overspray even if they don’t have overspray coverage. If that happens and your neighbors want their homes repainted or glass windows replaced, your homeowner’s insurance might be the only protection you have. You can always sue your painter, but if they couldn’t afford full liability coverage, there’s a good chance they won’t have anything to recover in a lawsuit.

If you switch roles and you need to remove paint overspray from the body paint on your car because of a contractor that painted your neighbor’s house, your homeowner’s insurance will likely cover the cost of repairs. But before you go that route, talk to your neighbor and ask if they got a copy of their contractor’s liability insurance information. Otherwise, you will most likely be stuck paying the deductible on your homeowner’s insurance policy.

No matter what the source, it’s important to have the overspray removed as soon as possible. The longer it sits, the harder it will be to remove.

If you think your car has been hit with overspray, take photos and contact your insurance company right away. They’ll work with a professional to get the paint removed quickly and efficiently.

Or take it to your local auto detailing shop and ask about clay bar services. They can usually get your paint back to normal in a day.

Will My Auto Insurance Cover Paint Overspray Damage?

Most instances of paint overspray removal are covered by auto insurance, regardless of who is at fault. The problem is with deductibles. The average deductible in the United States is $500. And overspray removal prices average roughly $500 for a mid-sized vehicle. So it’s worth it to find out who did the painting and attempt to get them to pay for it. Or give the information to your insurance agent or claims adjuster so they can go after the person who created the mess.

What Should I Do When I Find Paint Overspray on My Car?

In most cases, paint overspray is not a serious problem. It’s just a nuisance that can be easily removed with a little elbow grease and some cleaning supplies. However, in some instances, paint overspray can cause serious damage. For example, if it gets into the engine of a car, it can cause costly repairs.

And depending on the condition of your paint, you could be looking at a new paint job if the damage is extensive.

How Do I Identify the Type of Paint Overspray on My Car?

If you find paint overspray on your car, the first thing you should do is identify what type of paint it is. Once you know what type of paint it is, you can research the best way to remove it.

How do you identify the type of paint? Do some detective work.

  • If you have yellow highway paint on the wheel wells of your car, you probably drove behind a highway painting truck.
  • If you see tarps hanging from a bridge near your office and you have the same color paint as the bridge, you probably have overspray from the bridge contractors.
  • Is your neighbor boasting about his nice, shiny, newly cleaned, and sealed deck? And your car is covered in clear overspray bumps? Then you got hit with polyurethane deck sealant overspray.

In many cases, a simple soap and water solution will work to remove light or medium overspray from cars if you catch it quickly. However, if the overspray is more difficult to remove, you may need a stronger solution or specialized overspray removal products.

Removing paint overspray can be a challenging and time-consuming task. But it’s important to take the time to do it right so that you don’t damage your car or cause further damage by using the wrong removal method.

Should I Consult a Professional Detailer or Body Shop to Remove Overspray?

If you’re not sure what type of paint overspray you have, or if you’re unsure of the best removal method, it’s always best to consult a professional. A professional detailer or body shop will be able to identify the type of paint and recommend the best way to remove it. They will also have the proper tools and products to get the job done right.

If you find yourself dealing with paint overspray, the best course of action is to remove it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove.

If you’re ever faced with dealing with paint overspray, don’t panic. In most cases, it’s not a serious problem and can be easily resolved. And if you do experience any damage, don’t hesitate to file a claim with your insurance company. They’ll be more than happy to help.

How to Protect Car Clear Coat in Winter [2022]

How to Protect Car Clear Coat in Winter [2022]

how to protect car clear coat in winter picture of car covered in ice

Ice covering a car in winter. Freeze and thaw from ice mixed with salt damages car paint. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

How to Protect Car Clear Coat in Winter

Winter weather is upon us. Anybody who lives in the northern half of the United States is well acquainted with the many environmental factors that will damage car exteriors.

In this article, we will cover the types of environmental contaminants that are constantly attacking your car, namely acid rain, road salt, and extreme winter weather conditions. And then we give you the knowledge and show you how to use the tools necessary to protect your car clear in the winter weather.

What is Acid Rain?

Acid rain is a form of precipitation that is more acidic than normal rain. The main component of acid rain is sulfuric acid, which forms when coal or oil is burned. Acid rain can also contain nitric acid and other harmful chemicals.

Industrial pollution is a contributor to forming acid rain which damages car clearcoat. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

What Causes Acid Rain?

Acid rain is caused by industrial pollution and vehicle exhaust, which releases sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere. These gases react with water vapor in the air to form acids.

How Does Acid Rain Affect Cars?

Acid rain can corrode metal surfaces, which is essentially an entire car. It can also cause rubber and plastic parts to deteriorate

How Does Acid Rain Damage Car Paint?

Acid rain can cause serious damage to a car. The acid in the rain strips away the protective wax and polish on a car, leaving the paint vulnerable to corrosion.

How to Protect a Car from Acid Rain?

There are several things you can do:

  1. GOOD – Apply Wax to your car regularly. A good coat of wax will provide a barrier between the acid rain and your paint.
  2. BETTER – Frequent car washes are great for cars. A good car wash will clean off acid rain and also help remove other corrosive substances like dirt, grime, or salt that has accumulated on your paint.
  3. BEST – Apply nano ceramic polymer coatings. This will create an extra layer of protection for your paint. These coatings form an invisible barrier that repels water and dirt.

What is Road Salt?

In the Northern cold states, road salt is used to de-ice roads in the winter. The most common road salt is sodium chloride, which is a compound made up of sodium and chlorine. The big salt trucks usually have the sodium chloride version of road salt to make the roadways safer. In the extremely cold areas of the US, they use other variations including potassium chloride and magnesium chloride.

How Does Road Salt Damage a Car?

The main problem with road salt is that it creates a corrosive environment. Salt and water create a brine solution that can corrode metal surfaces. When this solution comes into contact with painted surfaces on your car, it can cause the outer clear coating to break down, delaminate, and peel off. The problem is compounded in winter because there are more vehicles on the road kicking up salt, and the temperature difference between the air and pavement creates a moisture-rich environment that speeds up corrosion.

How Do I Protect My Car from Road Salt?

The easiest way to protect clear coat from road salt is to simply wash it during the winter. A good car wash will remove the most corrosive elements from a car exterior. It sounds simple but it’s true.

Many people don’t bother with this because they need to run it through a car wash unless they have a heated garage in their house.

I’m in Pittsburgh and our winters are brutal. If you don’t have a heated garage, there’s the added problem of frozen doors and door locks the next morning after we wash our cars. It just gets so cold so fast that the door jambs and locks don’t have time to dry before they ice up after a car wash.

One of the best ways to protect your car from road salt is regular car washes. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

Another very effective way to protect your car from road salt is to apply wax. This forms a protective barrier between the paint and the environment. Wax also tends to be a catch-all phrase for any type of protective coating or sealant that you apply to your car paint. So let’s briefly expand on this.

What is a Polymer Sealant?

A polymer sealant is a clear coating that is applied to the car’s paint. The polymer sealant bonds with the paint and creates a barrier between the environment and the paint. This type of sealant will last for several months but will need to be reapplied after each wash.

What is a Nano Coating?

A nano coating is a type of sealant that uses nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the science of creating materials and devices at the atomic and molecular levels. In this case, nanoparticles are used to create a protective barrier on the car’s paint. The nanoparticles are so small that they form an invisible barrier on the car.

What is a Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic coatings are liquid polymers that bond to the car’s paint and become a durable, clear layer of protection. It can last for several years and is applied by a professional.

These types of coatings are basically upgraded polymer sealants. It’s a newer technology created by blending a polymer sealant with a nanoparticle or nanomaterial that makes it stronger and more versatile.

For example, scientists have combined graphene into a polymer sealant that provided incredible anti-corrosive properties. This is the basis for nano-ceramic polymer coatings.

Can I Apply a Ceramic Coating Myself?

Yes, but we don’t recommend it. The process is very technical and requires a lot of experience to do it correctly. If you don’t have the experience, we suggest finding a professional who can apply the coating for you.

Polymer coatings and sealants will help protect car clear coats for long periods of time. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

How Do I Apply a Ceramic Polymer Coating to a Car?

Nano-Ceramic Polymer Coatings are applied in a similar way to polymer sealants, but the process is usually done by a professional. The coating is applied in very thin layers and needs to be cured under UV light or infrared light.

What are the Benefits of Ceramic Coatings?

Ceramic polymer coatings provide an extra layer of protection for your paint. They form an invisible barrier that repels water and dirt. Ceramic polymer coatings also make it easier to wash your car because the dirt and grime will not bond as strongly to the paint.

These types of nano-enhanced polymer sealants and coatings can also last for several years with proper care. This is much longer than a standard polymer sealant.

This type of coating is applied to the paint and creates an invisible hydrophobic barrier, which is highly effective at repelling water, dirt, and road salt making it easier to wash your car, whether it’s at home or at a car wash. Ceramic polymer coatings can last for several years, but they are more expensive than polymer sealants.

How Do Ceramic Coatings Protect Cars?

Car waxes, polymer sealants, nano-ceramic polymer coatings are fantastic ways to protect your car’s paint and increase scratch resistance. Ceramic and nano types of coatings are also an option for cars that are frequently exposed to road salts. These coatings form a thick barrier that protects the paint from corrosion. They are also hydrophobic, meaning they repel water. This is a key feature because it prevents the formation of salt brine on the paint surface.

Another cool aspect of ceramic coatings is snow easily pushes right off the car. So you don’t need to do a lot of work cleaning snow off your vehicle.

Keep in mind that none of this is an excuse to not take your car to a car wash during the winter.

The great thing about this type of car coating is the tiny nanoparticles form an extremely tough barrier on the surface of the paint. And increasing your car’s scratch resistance is always a good thing.

One downside to nano ceramic polymer coatings is they can be expensive. But, if you’re looking for the best protection available, it’s definitely the way to go.

Are Ceramic Coatings Better Than Wax?

There is no question that ceramic coatings are better than wax. One of the main reasons is the hydrophobic barrier that it creates. The thicker barrier protects against corrosion from salt damage and increases scratch resistance much better than wax alone.

The hard coat layer formed by the coating provides some protection from light scratches. It’s similar to paint protection film, but not as durable or long-lasting. It is also resistant to paint color fading from damaging UV rays, repels dry dirt particles, oils, and water through the hydrophobic barrier.

Your car will look great for a longer period of time with this type of paint protection.

Protect Your Car from Road Salt Damage

At the end of the day, it’s up to you which option you choose. But if you’re looking for the best way to protect your car from road salt damage, acidic tannins from wet leaves, rock chips, light scratches from automated car washes, and other winter weather hazards, then a nano coating is the way to go.

You can also protect your car’s paint from road salt with wax or a polymer sealant – both of which are much less expensive options.

So, which is better to protect your car?

Ultimately, the best way to protect your car year-round, but especially in the winter months, is to use a combination of methods.

Paint Protection Film for Cars

Another much more expensive option is to add a car paint protection film to specific parts of your car that experience road salt damage. This includes side rocker panels, front and rear bumper, front hood, etc. These are also the same exterior surface areas that experience damage from rock chips, snow, ice, and UV rays, along with the usual dirt and grime from driving.

The film is a clear urethane or vinyl and installs on the car much like window tinting. It’s usually applied by a professional installer and can last for several years, but does need to be replaced when it starts to show signs of wear.

One downside to this option is that not all parts of the car are protected – just the areas where the film is applied.

Another downside is that it can be expensive to have installed, depending on how much surface area you’re covering.

A final consideration is that some paint protection films for cars can yellow over time from exposure to UV rays. But the sun, while still strong in the cold weather winter season, is nothing compared to the rust spots created by harsh chemicals in road salt being dumped on winter roads by salt trucks. So protection films are better than nothing at all.

Waxing Your Car

Waxing your car is probably the most common method people use to protect their car’s paint. It’s a simple process and can be done at home by following these steps:

– Make sure the surface is clean and dry

– Apply a thin coat of wax using a soft cloth

– Wait for the wax to dry completely (usually takes about 15 minutes)

– Buff the waxed surface with a clean, soft cloth

– Repeat the process if necessary

Waxing your car will protect the paint from UV rays, water, and dirt. It’s also relatively inexpensive and easy to do. However, it doesn’t last nearly as long as some of the other options on this list.

Hand Waxing

Hand waxing is the most common way to protect your car’s clear coat paint finish from the rainy season and acid rain. You can find wax in different degrees of hardness depending on how much protection you want for your vehicle, whether it be just a light coating or an extremely durable one.

PRO TIP: The liquid form of wax will last longer than traditional paste. It’s also much easier to apply. That link is for Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax, which is by far my favorite liquid hand wax. It goes on easily and smoothly. And your car looks amazing after you’re done.

Tools needed for applying car wax by hand are a microfiber cloth or cheesecloth and an applicator of some sort, like cotton balls, old (but clean) t-shirts, sponges, or even household rubber gloves.

What are Microfiber Towels?

I love microfiber towels so much that I wrote an entire article about what kinds to use, how to wash and care for them, and how to manage your microfiber supply.

And don’t think just because you are using them at home instead of a detailing business that you shouldn’t worry about managing your towel supply. The first time your spouse uses one of your car window cleaning only microfibers to dust furniture with Pledge, you will learn to put your microfibers in their own labeled bin.

Removing Wax Residue

Wax residue is hard, crusty, leftover wax. It happens with waxing by hand or high-speed buffer, so there’s no magic method to getting rid of it other than not using as much wax or protective coating.

You will find wax residue in hard-to-reach areas on vehicles. Like where the car door metal meets the rest of the car. Or door handles and windows. And around headlights or brake lights. It’s a pain in the rear.

There are many ways to remove the wax residue. And most of the methods that actually work are old school.

One such method is simply laying out aluminum foil or a sheet of wax paper on the ground while you work and then scraping off any leftover residue with your fingernail.

What are Plastic Razor Blades?

Plastic razor blades are another very useful tool when waxing a car. The wax residue in hard-to-reach places quickly becomes an ordeal without these cheap, little, plastic pieces. If you don’t have them, definitely buy some. They look like razor blades in shape only. In reality, they are simple pieces of plastic with a fat edge to hold it and a thinner flat edge to scrape.

I use this scraper that I found on Amazon a while back (picture below). It comes with both plastic and metal blades and the top portion extends to get into those hard-to-reach places. And it’s less than $10, so win-win.

A good rule of thumb is to wax your car every few months to keep the paint looking fresh.

Hand Waxing Your Car is Difficult

If you insist on hand waxing your vehicle, just be aware that you are embarking on a very long, arduous, all-around difficult task.

People who do this generally look at it as a relaxing several-hour process. They turn on some music or whatever game is on the TV, and they start working. It’s not something you do in a hurry. Take your time and get it done right.

Before I discovered high-speed buffers, I would spend an entire Sunday afternoon waxing my vehicle.

The application of car wax is the same today as it has always been. Either by hand or with a powered high-speed buffer. These two methods are also known as the hard way and easy way.

The easy way is always better.

There are two types of carnauba wax: natural and synthetic. Synthetic is better because it lasts longer, but both will give your car’s paint a deep shine.

The high-speed buffer will take off the wax much faster than you can by hand. And it will do a better job, too.

It’s not that difficult to use a buffer. Just be careful not to apply too much pressure and go over the same spot too many times in the same place. You don’t want to burn the paint off your car.

The best buffers have a speed control so you can adjust the speed according to the condition of the surface you’re working on.

High Speed Buffing Your Car Clear Coat

So how is high-speed buffing better? Well, mainly because it’s not physically possible to move your hand as fast as a high-speed buffer going a few thousand RPM (revolutions per minute).

A high-speed buffer will remove defects in paint and clear coats like swirls, water spots, and oxidation as well as apply car wax.

The surface of your clear coat is left completely clean after buffing because the machine rotates at speeds up to 2000 rpm in a circular motion over its entire surface.

After doing this for about 20 minutes with different types of buffing pads, your car will look amazing.

How to Avoid Circular Swirls from High-Speed Buffing

What about circular swirls in the clear coat from the high-speed buffer?

These can occur if your skills need improving on the wheel (that’s what pro detailers call the high-speed buffer).

You need to make sure the surface is clean and dry before starting. Second, use a light touch when buffing. And finally, use the appropriate type of buffing pad for the job.

If you are using a high-speed buffer for the first time on your car, there’s an even better way to protect your car’s paint and clear coat.

A High-speed Orbital Buffer is the Best Way to Buff a Car

As the name suggests, an orbital buffer moves in a random orbit around the surface it is polishing instead of rotating in one spot like a high-speed buffer.

This prevents swirls from forming on your car’s clear coat and gives you a smooth finish.

I use a Porter-Cable High-Speed Orbital Buffer that I’ve had for years.

Just like the high-speed buffer, it removes swirls but because of its orbital motion (it rotates in a circle with an ellipse), you can control the buffing by using your hand. But pay attention to paint temperature and use gloves for protection from heat.

Good Car Care is a Great Habit for Car Owners

Car care is a good habit to start any time of the year. Not just the winter months. Keeping your car clean will benefit you in the long run.

My goal in this article was to teach you a few ways to protect your car in the winter season and throughout the year. Car washes might not be the best way to wash your car, but the alternative is to leave it exposed to the elements. And that is much worse.

Wash it regularly with a good car wash soap and dry it completely.

Apply wax every few months or so using good quality wax to protect car paint. Especially in cold weather and winter months.

Use a polymer sealant or professionally installed nano ceramic polymer coating to provide an extra level of protection.

If you live in an area with high levels of road salt, it might be a good idea to consider using all three methods for the ultimate winter paint protection.

No matter which option you choose, remember that prevention is always better than trying to fix road salt damage after the fact.

And, if you can afford it, have a nano-ceramic polymer protective coating applied to your car paint. This will give you the best protection against all the big bads of winter.

Paint Chip Scratch Repair

Paint Chip Scratch Repair

Bumper scuffs, door dings, paint scratches. All of it means one thing, time to find a Car Paint Chip Scratch Repair specialist. Everybody gets them on their cars. Most of the time you look at it and think “I’m going to need to get that painted and it’s going to cost me a fortune.” The cost to do a paint repair job at a body shop is very costly. Unfortunately, when you go to one of these types of shops they don’t have a lot of other options available to offer you.


Paint Chip Scratch Repair

At your local detail shop or mobile details service, you can find many other lower cost alternatives for paint chip scratch repair services. Many times a scuff or key scratch isn’t through the clearcoat and can be removed by wet sanding and aggressive compounding. After this, we can move on to paint chip scratch repair, touch-up, or bumper paint repairs. These are considered standard car reconditioning services. Body shops believe they have a lock on this business. Many times when you think you are getting a new bumper, they are just fixing it and putting it back on your vehicle. So the differences between getting your damage repaired and painted versus a body shop claiming they are giving you a “new” bumper, might not be as different as you think they might be.

The Advantages are Obvious

Compare a Micro Chip, Paint Chip Scratch Repair or Bumper Paint Repair Service to those of a local body shop, and the advantages are obvious:

  • Cost: body shops replace damaged parts with new and paint them, dramatically increasing your costs. With the expense of a new bumper at approx. $350 or more and the painting of that bumper an additional $350 or more, your body shop costs are $700 and up. With a Micro Paint Repair or Paint Chip Scratch Repair of that bumper at $180 to $250, the savings is clear!
  • Time: Micro Paint Repair or Paint Chip Scratch Repair Services take less than a day to complete. Try getting a body shop to do anything on your vehicle in less than a day. The time savings is evident!

Handled Quickly and Professionally

Where do these damages usually occur? Many times on bumpers where shopping carts, other cars, minor bumps against other bumpers. High traffic areas where any regular contact exists such as door handles and trunk lids. Places like the gas compartment where the car is accidentally bumped or brushed with the gas pump nozzle or handle. Repair to these damaged areas can be handled quickly and efficiently at your local detail and reconditioning center.  Mobile Detailing Services can also handle these repairs onsite for you, and many have their inflatable mobile garage workshops to bring to your location.

If you are considering having these services done, please review our Proper Insurance page to get an idea of questions you should ask your potential reconditioning shop before working on your vehicle.

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Suggested Pages to Check Out

Detail Shop Liability Insurance Page with Info on Garage Keepers Liability Coverage

1099 Contractors and Other Detail Shop Tax Issues

Go Back To Home Auto Detailing Step-by-Step Page

Highway Paint Removal

Highway Paint Removal

Car washing.A man cleaning wheels using high pressure water jet at car wash station.

Pressure Washing Interior Wheel wells to remove highway paint splatter

One of the absolute joys we get to experience living in the Northeast United States is the ever growing number of construction projects that get started as soon as the weather warms-up. This allows us to experience the next joyful experience of highway paint removal off cars.

So after a hard days work and an even harder trip through one of the many detours established for our convenience, isn’t it wonderful to discover “fast drying” heavy duty highway line paint all over your wheel wells and rocker panels? You get your choice of either white or yellow. Either way, the paint is designed to dry fast, only problem is it doesn’t seem to dry fast until it gets picked-up by your tires and splattered all over your car.

Click Here for more detailed info on Paint Overspray Removal

Highway Paint Removal

We’ve been offering highway paint removal services for years. So when you’ve got a new multi-color or two tone section of your one color car it, helps to have somewhere you can go to find out how to remove it. I always start highway paint removal with a two step process. You have to loosen the paint with an acetone or paint remover. Take a sponge or towel and soak the paint with acetone to loosen it. Then power wash the area with your pressure washer. The biggest area that this helps with is in the wheel wells where the surface is rough. If the area of coverage of the paint is large then you will need to apply several coats of acetone with a pump-up sprayer with viton seals (chemical resistant) letting each coat soak for approx. 5 minutes.  After 2 to 3 applications it should be soft enough to power wash the wheel well and the paint should remove fairly easily.

Our Old School Fallback Trick

Here’s another tip that we have heard numerous places and actually tried quite a few times when our normal highway paint removal techniques didn’t work. Our old school fall back trick is Easy Off Oven Cleaner sprayed on the wheel wells. You spray it, let it soak in, then spray it again letting it soak longer. Then you powerwash like the above highway paint removal process instructs.

First Loosen the Highway Paint

Important note, be careful using any of these highway paint removal processes on the exterior painted surfaces. Depending on the psi of the pressure washer and the age of the paint, it can sometimes blow the paint right off the car. A good nozzle for this would be the 25% pressure washer nozzle at 2,000 psi for the wheel wells (see our page on Mobile Detailing Equipment for more on this). On the vehicles painted surfaces first use a plastic razor to try and first loosen the highway paint after soaking.  This will help to reduce the chance of damaging the paint with the pressure washer.

Once this highway paint removal process is completed, the exterior surfaces must be high-speed buffed because they will be lightly scuffed due to the plastic razors and acetone removal process.

The costs of having a highway paint removal service professionally done really depends on the coverage area of paint over the vehicle. As a customer you can expect your professional detailer to charge you anywhere from $150 to $550 or more for expert highway paint removal services. Again, this pricing greatly depends on the area being cleaned and the length of time the detailer believes the highway paint removal process will take.

We hope you enjoyed this “how to” tip sheet. Access more tips, training, and insight by subscribing to the E-Newsletter. We are also very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Suggested Pages to Check Out

Detail Shop Liability Insurance Page with Info on Garage Keepers Liability Coverage

1099 Contractors and Other Detail Shop Tax Issues

Go Back To Home Auto Detailing Step-by-Step Page

Paint Chip Scratch Repair

Paint Chip Repair

Scuffs, minor scratches, paint flaking, bumper scuffs, and deep scratches. All of these kinds of minor damage can are be repaired without the services of a body shop. A paint chip repair can have your vehicle looking like new most times in less than a day.

Paint Chip Repair

Compare a detail shop’s micro paint chip repair and touch-up services to those of a local body shop and the advantages to staying far away from a body shop are obvious:

paint chip scratch repair

  • Cost: body shops replace damaged parts with new and paint them, dramatically increasing your costs. With the expense of a new bumper at approx. $350 and the painting of that bumper an additional $350, your body shop costs are $700. A Micro Paint Chip Repair or Touch-up Painting of that bumper at $180 to $250 will show you definite savings!
  • Time: A Micro Paint Chip Repair Touch-up Service takes less than a day to complete. Try getting a body shop to do anything on your vehicle in less than a day. The time savings is obvious!

Scuff and Scratch Removal

Many times paint chip repair, and touch-up may not even be necessary. See our scuff and scratch removal page for more information on this service before you consider paint touch-up, chip repair or additional damage repair. You, the consumer, should exhaust all of your possible options for the inexpensive repair of your vehicle.

Handled Quickly and Efficiently as Part of a Full-Service Detail Package

Where do these scuffs mostly show up? Most of the times where any high traffic contact exists, such as door handles and places like the gas door where the car is accidentally bumped or brushed with the gas pump nozzle or handle. Bumper scuffs also happen by brushes with other vehicles and walls. These can be handled quickly and efficiently as part of a full-service detail package.

Do you want this service performed in your area? We have a criteria page of what to look for in a reconditioning show performing minor body repairs. This is something you want to review. Also, make sure you review our Proper Insurance page to find a list of questions to ask about insurance before you agree to have the work done.

We hope you enjoyed this “how to” tip sheet. Access more tips, training, and insight by subscribing to the E-Newsletter.