Our Car Detailing members are qualified and experienced,
and many also provide discounts on the car care services they offer.
See their listing page on this site by utilizing the "Zip Code
Search" feature on the right. Or call toll-free,
877-44-DETAIL, to be connected with the Car Detailing Professional in your area.
We have detailing professionals in may regions of the country. We select one qualified provider in each region for each of the following types of Car Detailing.
Automotive paints are a mixture of ingredients including resins, binders, fillers, additives, and carrying agents (typically solvents, sometimes water). Clear coat paint is simply paint, or resin without pigment. Non-clear coat paints (also called single-stage paint) is paint (or resin) with pigment added to give the paint color.
Additives are specialized chemicals that are often used to provide a specific characteristic to the paint, depending on the application. An example would be a Flex Agent. Flex Agents are used in paints that are applied to flexible components, such as flexible urethane bumpers, to help the paint resist cracking when the urethane bumper flexes. UV inhibitors are another clear coat additive that helps prevent the sun's ultra violet rays from fading the color coat under the clear coat.
Today, approximately 95% of all cars, trucks, and S.U.V.'s coming out of the factory have a clear coat finish.
Clear coat finishes (also referred to as two-stage paint systems) are simply a layer of clear resin applied over the top of colored resin. Although a clear coat does protect the base coat, just like a single-stage finish, the clear coat needs to be regularly maintained to keep it in top shape.
Contrary to what you may have heard clear coat finishes do need to
be waxed periodically to maintain their appearance value. Don't buy
into the false information that clear coat paints are paints that require
no maintenance, this is simply not true. Simply look at any car with
a clear coat finish that has been neglected and compare it to a car
with a clear coat finish that has been recently detailed and your eyes,
as well as your common sense, will tell you that clear coats look better
when maintained, and accordingly will last longer when maintained.
It wasn't until the late 80's and early 90's that most U.S. auto manufacturers began to use clear coat paint finishes on their vehicles almost exclusively. For that reason every detailer must know, understand and be able to identify a base-coat/clear-coat paint finish.
In the 50's & 60's, the hey-day of customized cars, a thick topcoat of clear (usually lacquer) was the final finish to a customized car's finish. The reasons that this was done for greater depth and gloss to the paint. It also protected any murals, custom graphics or striping that was on the car. You could also buff the finish time after time to keep it in showroom condition.
In those days "custom-painters" were under the illusion that more paint was better paint and you would see the error of this assumption when they laid on excessively thick lacquer clear-coat finishes. If you were in the paint or detail business back then you will remember the paint finishes that cracked in less than a year, after all the solvent had evaporated.
In spite of the fragile nature of these early attempts at clear coating paint finishes, it was their durability that moved the automotive industry toward their almost exclusive use today.
The auto manufacturers use clear coats for a number of reasons: Appearance; Durability; Pollution Reduction (little solvent evaporation); Reparability; Cost of Application. Let's look at each one and the impact it has on the market.
As mentioned, appearance was one of the main reasons custom painters in the 50's/60's used clear coats. This is no less important today for the auto manufacturers. Let's face it, appearance sells cars, both new and used. Think about it, when a consumer looks at a car the first thing they see is the paint. In fact, studies show that the appearance of the paint is the single largest factor when car buyers are selecting a late model used car.
The dependability of automobiles is so good today that the motorist expect a year or two old cars will be in good mechanical condition. Therefore the appearance of the vehicle is now the major factor in the purchase.
Durability is really a very real concern for car owners today. With the increase in airborne pollution and other environmental factors, a car's finish is subject to serious damage. Acid rain; jet fuel fallout; industrial fallout; hard water, not to mention high acidic bird droppings; insect residue; tree sap all are very dangerous to a paint finish if not removed immediately.
Even a clearcoat with scratches or water spots that has to be buffed is much easier to work on than an oxidized metallic single stage paint finish. If the correct compound and pad is used the first time the process is much quicker.
Those paint finish problems that can't be corrected with either an orbital or buffer can be handled by a light wet-sanding, which only qualified detailers should attempt to do.
Chrysler Corporation was one of the first manufacturers to use clearcoat/basecoat paint finishes throughout their entire North American passenger car line. Ford utilizes the clearcoat finish on about 98% of their vehicles. They are a leader in the use of tinted clearcoat finishes.
General Motors uses clears almost exclusively. The exception would be some of their larger vehicles and fleet vehicles where the customer specifies single stage paint.
(Excerpts - see full article on car detailing and clear coat paint finishes)