Ask The Beaverton Car Guy: Protecting the Clear Coat

By Larry “The Car Guy“ Ferguson10 clear coat peeling

I recently received a call from Steve, here in Beaverton. Steve mentioned that his previous car had started to lose the clear coat off of the paint and was wondering how to prevent this on the new vehicle I just helped him purchase?

The quick answer is to wash your vehicle at least once to twice each month to remove all the damaging contaminates off of the paint. Of course the sun is a killer to vehicle paint, and if the paint is unprotected (without paint sealant or wax), the deterioration process will certainly be more rapid.

  1. Stay away from automated car washes. Automated car washes are your car paint’s worst enemy. The abrasive nylon brushes that rotate at really high speeds can leave hundreds of scratches and swirl marks on the clear coat. Additionally, many do it yourself car washes use high pressure jets of water to easily clean the car exterior, but it too can do significant damage to the clear coat if the clear coat is not cured properly.

Instead of using automated car washes, opt for an Eco car wash. They use car paint friendly detailing methods such as steam cleaning.

  1. Don’t use generic/abrasive car wash products. Don’t reach for detergents, harsh soaps or other household cleaning solutions if you run out of car cleaning products for the paint because they contain chemicals that are highly harmful to the clear coat. Also, another reason to refrain yourself from using automated car washes is that most of them use generic low quality products with harsh chemicals that will seemingly clean the car exterior well but will also accelerate the rate of car clear coat peeling.
  2. Wax your car regularly. A popular car detailing myth is that the clear coat does not require waxing. Wrong! Regular waxing is ideal for preventing car clear coat peeling. Waxing creates a layer that prevents the trapping of airborne contaminants such as bugs and acid rain in the clear coat. It will also protect the paint during harsh weather conditions; constant exposure to sunlight will dry the clear coat, resulting in it peeling and flaking off. Using a wax that contains UV protection can, therefore, reduce the impact of the sun on the clear coat. Waxing your car before the winter hits will protect the clear coat from elements such as road salt and snow.
  3. Wash your car before it’s too late. The gathering of dust, dirt and grime on the clear coat and its exposure to bird droppings, tree sap, etc. is inevitable. The best way to take care of these pollutants is by removing them as soon as possible. Leaving them on for too long will result in embedding that will cause the car clear coat to peel when you try to clean them later.

Thank you all for reading my monthly article. In the event anyone has any question or needs help selling or buying a vehicle please contact me at (503) 930-1493 or