How Do You Apply an Automotive Clear Coat?


Quick Answer

To apply automotive clear coat, apply the coat to the car, and overlap each stroke by 50 percent to prevent tiger striping. Continue until the whole car is covered. Do not rush; adhere to the paint manufacturer's guidelines for time restrictions after application. Ensure that paint application occurs in an atmosphere between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the leftover paint for any future touch ups.

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Full Answer

To get a feel for the motion needed for proper application, practice applying the clear coat on a smooth piece of metal before clear coating the vehicle.

Optimal weather for applying an automotive clear coat is a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit with no humidity. If clear coat is applied when the temperature is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or when the car is located in direct sunlight, the paint appears foggy when dry. Painting should be done in a shady area, and if it absolutely must be done during cold weather, it should be done in a heated garage.

While time guidelines and restrictions differ by manufacturer, a safe waiting period between coat applications is at least 10 minutes. The car cannot be touched until at least an hour after the last coat is applied. The car should not be taken through a car wash, waxed or buffed until 30 to 45 days after the clear coat is applied. If an immediate shine is desired, wait a day after applying the clear coat, and place a hand glaze on the vehicle.

When storing leftover paint, first clear the nozzle by turning the can upside down and spraying until it emits clear gas. Store cans in a warm enough spot where they cannot freeze, and make sure the temperature where it is stored does not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

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