By: Ben Tongson / Hawaii Auto Detail
Paint Oxidation – The best and simplest explanation
What is paint oxidation? Why does paint oxidize? Can it be fixed? How can I prevent it
These are all examples of very good questions as to what paint oxidation is and
how we can better understand how to deal with it and what causes it.
We will explain and answer these very pertinent and relevant questions in as
great detail as possible in the following paragraphs together with proper care.
What is paint oxidation?
What is paint oxidation? and Why does paint oxidize?
Paint Oxidation is a term otherwise known as corrosion. It appears as flat, non-glossy and
mostly dull areas on the paint surfaces. It can even be rough and chalky to the touch in some
Basically what happens is that over time, paint loses its oil content. The higher the
oil content, the deeper the gloss and the smoother the touch. Oil content determines the life of
the paint and is also a good indicator of age or properly cared for paint. When paint loses its oil
content, it becomes dry and dull.
Use of automated car washes and dishwashing soaps accelerate oxidation and that is why
most auto care professionals will advise you to use car wash soaps for proper care.
Dishwashing soap is designed to remove all the oil and grease off of dishes but doesn’t have a proper PH
balance for paint maintenance. Automated car washers often use very harsh chemicals that can’t
even be touched with bare skin and sometimes may even instantly damage older or weaker paints
in one visit.
Can Paint Oxidation be fixed?
Can it be fixed? and How can I prevent it from happening?
If it is noticed in early stages, it can be reversed and fixed but in some severe cases, the car may need to be repainted.
The best way to save time to see if the problem can be helped would be by scheduling a consultation
with a professional Auto detailer or an Auto body shop. If you have more time than money, you might
want to research products that are designed to help with instructional videos over the internet.
If you decide on trying to tackle this yourself, we’ll gladly provide some advice to minimize
There are multitudes of buffing compounds that work well with foam and wool
pads with infinite combinations.
Orbital buffing machines
Orbital buffers are highly advised to take away a lot of hand rubbing that might be very
labor intensive and tedious. Using orbital buffers in conjunction with foam and wool pads will work
wonderfully and lessen your buffing time potentially to a day as opposed to hand rubbing sections at
a time for a week. It can be quite overwhelming once you get out and do the research figuring what will work.
If you have more time than money, doing it yourself may be the suggested avenue. When searching for compounds
and pads for buffing, be sure to get the corresponding foam or wool pads that line up with each other.
Wool pads are normally used for aggressive cutting as well as foam pads that have 40 to 50 pores per inch and
should be used with heavy cutting compounds (heavy oxidation and deep scratches). Foam pads that have 60
to 70 pores per inch are used with medium cutting type compounds (medium scratches, swirls, and medium oxidation)
and foam pads that have 80 and higher pores per inch are used for polishing and final finishing
(holograms, light swirls and paint enhancing for dark colors).
The 3 Stages Of Buffing
These are what’s called 3 stages of buffing. Dark colored cars may need all 3 while medium to light colored cars may need
2 of these stages. If you desire perfection then all 3 are required. If you are to take this arduous task by hand (which is insane),
terry towels and bonnets of similar textures will work with rough to medium compounds while microfiber towels and similar
textured accessories will work with medium to finer compounds. With this information in mind, practice some due diligence and
find out what products best suits your needs. After you’ve accomplished the arduous task of buffing your paint, a good preventative
measure to protect your work would be to apply a paint sealant. Paint sealant products come in a huge variety and while ceramic
products may be the best, application of this type of sealant are sometimes difficult and may require professional installation by a
reputable auto detailing company. Some other types of sealants available on the market may be easier to apply but might also require
a periodic or frequent application. Letting your paint sealant cure for the specified time on the instructions are normally advised before
application of instant detailer sprays, washes, waterless car wash products and/or coats of wax. Most sealants on the market work well
and the only difference besides ease of application would be longevity and durability for all weather resistance.
Paint sealant products
Paint sealant products also come with well-written directions and as long as you follow what the steps and requirements, there shouldn’t be any problems.
The easiest way to understand the paint on your vehicle would be by explaining it as if it were skin on your body.
They are entirely different surfaces but share very similar characteristics. When your skin loses its moisture it begins
to look dry and in severe cases, it becomes rough and starts to peel just like when paint loses its oil content. In some areas,
a callus may form and it requires a pedicure or manicure much like buffing paint to reveal a smooth feel and better appearance.
Lotion for skin is much like paint sealants and waxing for maintenance and upkeep. Washing with dish soap affects both surfaces
the same as far as depleting moisture. Proper care with the right tools and products provides a smooth and glossy paint or nice
and supple skin. Maintenance done right also deters the effects of aging on both surfaces as well. We hope you’ve enjoyed this material and
find it useful. Thank you for reading it and we’ll be sure to publish as many as we can.
Find out how to protect your vehicle using a ceramic coating and the benefits it has for protecting your paint job.