As you finish repainting or repairing a car, you should apply a clear coat to really seal the deal. Clear coat is an essential part of the restoration process, and applying it correctly is the key to getting the effect you want.
In this blog, we’ll dive into the importance of clear coat products as well as break down how to properly apply clear coat to a car. So whether you’re a first-time DIYer or a professional looking to brush up on the basics, this knowledge will give you an edge for your upcoming projects.
The Importance of Using Clear Coats
Before we can discuss the details of the clear coat application process, it’s crucial that you know why you want to go to the trouble. Clear coats are transparent layers of material that harden over the top of your car’s new paint job. They are incredibly useful for both aesthetics and protection, allowing you to achieve the finish you want while helping preserve the paint quality for much longer.
With the right clear coat, you can stave off nicks and scratches with ease. In fact, even corrosive materials like acid, road salt, and bird droppings will have a reduced effect on your car over time. So, if you want a restoration that will last, clear coat is an essential finishing touch.
The Main Types of Clear Coat Products
There’s no single solution for protecting your car. Therefore, it’s only natural that there’d be more than one type of clear coat to choose from.
If you’re in need of something practical, both anti-scratch and quick-drying clear coats are great options to pick from. For those prioritizing aesthetics, however, you may want to choose between matte- and satin-finish clear coats that give your ride a distinctive look. Water-based clear coats are also a great option for those wanting something more environmentally friendly. Furthermore, water-based clear coats don’t produce as many volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making them safer for smaller, private garages.
In knowing the type of clear coat you want to use, you’re already well on your way to a proper application. This, combined with diligent spraying, can get you the premium results you’re after.
Steps for Applying Clear Coats
Once you choose the right clear coat for your needs, it’s time to apply it to your car. Here, we’ll cover the general process for treating the car’s surface. However, it’s important to note that the process can vary depending on your product of choice. Because of this, always refer to the instructions on the packaging for more accurate information. With that said, the following steps are how to properly apply clear coat to a car.
Prepare the Car’s Surface
First, you spend some time preparing the car’s surface for the clear coat. This includes smoothing out the frame and cleaning it. These steps ensure proper adhesion and will help you produce a higher-quality result once the product dries. Failing to take these measures increases the risk of developing bumps, rough edges, or streaks along the car’s exterior.
Mix Products and Prepare Your Spray Gun
After preparing your car, start mixing the products and setting up your applicator gun. For the product to properly spray and adhere to the car, it needs to have the appropriate viscosity. To ensure this, follow the mixing instructions on the packaging carefully. Then, assemble your spray gun by filling the clear coat reservoir and attaching the nozzle. Adjust the pressure of your spray gun, so it emits an even fan without spraying too forcefully.
Spray Evenly Along the Car Frame
Then, while maintaining a distance of about 6 to 8 inches from the car’s surface, start spraying the clear coat evenly. Work methodically, moving in rows until you cover the entire section you’re working on. Keep your motions consistent to ensure as even of a layer as possible.
Remember, it’s crucial that you spray your clear coat to match the rest of your vehicle. This is especially important if you’re repairing just one section of the car. Doing so ensures an attractive finished product.
Apply Your Second Coat
Allow the first layer of clear coat to dry, and then follow up with a second. Depending on the thickness of the product you’re using, you may need anywhere from two to three coats to ensure the right hardness and look.
Scuff and Polish Out Imperfections
As your final coat dries, double-check your work. Even for experienced professionals, it’s common to find dirt particles or other imperfections stuck to or within the applied clear coat. Therefore, if you notice something like this that impacts the smoothness of the finished product, spend some time scuffing out the blemishes. You can do so with low-grit sandpaper and a clean microfiber cloth.
Additional Tips for Using Clear Coats
Proper clear coat application is vital to the success of your automotive project. However, it isn’t enough to know just the basic steps. These are some additional tips to keep in mind to make the process easier and more effective overall.
Control the Clear Coat’s Temperature
For your clear coat product to correctly spray through the applicator and adhere to the car, it must be at the right temperature. How hot or cool the product is can affect its thickness, hindering the application process in every way. Because of this, we recommend keeping these formulas between 20–25 degrees Celsius, always giving precedence to what the product’s instructions state.
Don’t Overapply Clear Coat Products
Take extra care not to overapply your clear coat. Not only does overapplication lead to an unappealing, uneven look, but it also provides less protection along certain areas of the car. Parts such as flaps, doors, and frame detailing are especially prone to overapplication. Therefore, be conscious of how much clear coat you administer at a given time and regularly reassess your work.
Whether you’re in need of quality automotive products to sell at your store or a collection of solutions for your personal workshop, Eagle National has just what you’re looking for. We provide a vast collection of products, including premium automotive clear coats, that will get you the best possible results for your vehicle restoration project. DIYers and professionals alike use these solutions, and you, too, can reap the benefits of our top-notch formulas by shopping with us.