What is a Clear Coat and How Can I Prevent Damage to It?

May 17, 2023

Few things in life compare to the feeling you have when you drive your car off the lot for the first time – that “new car” look, feel, and smell just can’t be beat.  While we’d love to hang onto that feeling, general wear and tear and the elements of the road age our vehicles over time, with one of the most susceptible areas being its exterior, or more specifically the clear coat.

What is a Clear Coat?

Your vehicle’s clear coat is a topcoat that protects the Colored paint and primer layers from harm. It is the first line of defense when it comes to protecting against things like:

  • Road tar
  • Road salt
  • Bug splatter
  • Bird droppings
  • Tree sap
  • UV rays from the sun

What Is Harming My Vehicle’s Clear Coat?

UV rays are the primary cause of damage to your vehicle’s clear coat, resulting in oxidation and peeling.

Urethane, a component of most automotive paints, is degraded by UV rays. Protectants against UV rays are added to a vehicle’s clear coat during manufacturing, but they are broken down over time if additional protective measures are not taken. This degradation results in oxidation, which is sped up from exposure to environmental factors like air, rain, snow, road salt, bug splatter, and pollen.

Once the UV protection in your vehicle’s clear coat is degraded, the color coat underneath is also susceptible to harm. With damage occurring to both layers, the bond between them is weakened. Once that bond is weakened, the clear coat can begin to crack or peel, and even the most microscopic cracks will allow UV rays to pass through to the color layer of paint.

How Can I Protect and Maintain My Vehicle’s Clear Coat?

While there is no simple, or inexpensive, way to restore a clear coat once it starts peeling and oxidizing, you can be proactive to help prevent it from happening.

Regularly washing your car will remove harmful contaminants from its surface while also allowing you to take a closer look at what’s going on with the paint and clear coat. Even better: you can take your car care to the next level with a protective paint coating.

A protective paint coating like Ziebart’s Ceramic Z-Gloss® adds a layer of protection that gives your vehicle that “new car” vibrancy and shine. Ceramic Z-Gloss® is backed by a 10-year warranty and is resistant to chemicals, acid rain, UV rays, light scratches, and extreme temperatures. It’s also hydrophobic and repels dirt and debris, making your car easier to clean while making sure it always looks its best.

Contact your local Ziebart to learn more about Ceramic Z-Gloss® Paint Coating and how we can help keep your paint and clear coat protected with a glossy shine that will make you the envy of the road.

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