Ditch Those Faded, Yellowed, Scratched and Pitted Headlights for Good
Today, I want to talk about an effective way to actually clean up plastic headlights that are seriously fogged. I’m not talking about a headlight that’s a little discolored at the top and has a few sand chips in it. I’m talking about a headlight that has massive amounts of UV damage and that has witnessed a zillion sandblasting road miles. I’m talking about a headlight that hasn’t been clear for years, a light that is brownish yellow in sunlight. Not only do headlights like these look terrible, they don’t perform well. You can lose a serious amount of candlepower to discolored headlight lenses. Imagine covering your flashlight with cheesecloth before you took a walk in the woods. Not so bright.
When it comes to a restoration kit that can truly and properly bring your faded, discolored, scratched plastic headlight lenses back to life. Sadly, you get what you pay for. To get your hands on a headlight kit that is the real deal, you will have to pony up better than twenty bucks. When experimenting, I started out cheap, trying to use basic cleaner waxes to clear things up, then some specialty products that were not only made for polishing plastics, but actually had pictures of repaired headlights on the label. None were even close to being a match for the amount of headlight damage on the 150,000 mile Volvo wagon (that was in desperate need for Auto Repair in Santa Barbara) we used as our headlight restoration test mule.
The answer is the Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit. Kits by be very gimmicky, and I usually shy away from such a pre-packaged solution. But after trying a number of simple polishes and methods, this kit is by far the best value. Even at $23, the results are worth it. And there is enough material in the kit to restore lots of headlight lenses.
Prep Your Headlights for the Polishing Process
Before you start to use all of the stuff that came in the box, you need to clean any grime or dirt off your headlights with soapy water or window cleaner. Dry them off. Now you need to protect any Car Paint Santa Barbara or plastic areas next to your lights with masking tape. You don’t want to have to do any paint touch up later. If your hood comes down right at the top of your headlights, you can raise the hood and save yourself some masking time.
Remove the Layer of Crust and Crud from Your Lights
Starting with a clean headlight, you’re ready to begin the renewal process. Attach the 1000 grit sanding disc to the holder. Wet the sandpaper (I repeatedly dipped it in a cup of water) and sand your entire headlight in a smooth side to side motion. Use moderate pressure without pressing too hard. Don’t worry about going too far with it because the rest of the kit is designed to pick up where the 1000 grit sanding left off. After about 5 minutes of sanding, wipe the headlight using the included towel and swap the sanding disc for the 3000 grit paper. This time you will sand in an up and down motion, making sure you over all of the headlight real estate. You’ll start to see things really smooth out now. Do this for about 5 minutes, keeping the sanding disc wet the whole time.
Polishing Your Headlights to a Brilliant Restored Shine
Wipe the headlight with the cloth again, and install the polishing pad on your drill. A corded drill works best if you have one, but cordless will do fine. Apply a nickel-sized blob of polish to the buffing pad, then press it to the headlight before you turn on the drill. Start polishing the headlight back and forth in sections. Don’t let the polish bake into the light in hot sun, wipe it away if you need to. There’s no limit to how much you can polish the lens. Keep going until you feel it’s shiny enough.
Behold Your Clear, Shiny, Restored Headlights!
You’ve successfully restored your faded, yellowed, ugly headlights. Not only can you now enjoy them, you have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself. Sit back, admire your work, and then show it off to your loved ones so they can shrug and wonder what all of the fuss is about.
Depending on the model, this is not always an easy job and if not done with extreme caution, damage to the vehicle or paint can be done. Remember to always seek a professional for Auto Repair Estimates in Santa Barbara.
Article Sourced By autorepair.about.com
Facelift Time: Should You Repaint or Replace Your Wheels?
Wheels to a car are like shoes to people. They are often the things you notice first, and when you do notice them, they say a lot about the wearer. Some people buy them because they will be comfortable and perform well. Or at least that’s what they tell you when they spend an exorbitant amount of money on shoes, or wheels. The fact is most wheel purchases are based on aesthetics. If you’ve been thinking of buying new wheels for your car or truck but aren’t sure you’re ready to drop the necessary wad of cash on the project, you might consider repainting your existing wheels.
There are a few real benefits to repainting your wheels. First, since they are already on the car and in use, you know that there will be no surprises concerning fitment or drivability. There’s nothing worse than gazing at your car sitting on beautiful new wheels only to discover there is a clearance issue or something else that will keep you from enjoying the ride. Second, if you repaint the wheels you are already using, you can definitely keep your tires. Often with new wheels you will need a different size tire to match. Or common sense will tell you that if you’re paying to have tires mounted and balanced it may be a good time to replace the tires, even if they have some life left in them.
Ready to paint your wheels? The procedure is the same whether you are going to use a professional grade wheel paint or you want to go with a more temporary solution like Plasti-Kote.
Preparing Your Wheels for Paint
The first step is to get your wheels very, very clean. If you are just painting the outside of the wheels, you can get away with leaving them installed on the vehicle through the whole process. Your wheels get very dirty with use. Road grime, grease, paint, tar — all of these things can coat your wheels. You’ll need to clean them first with soap and water, then again with something sure to cut through the goop like mineral spirits.
Once you have the wheels clean you need to prepare the surface to hold paint. If something is too smooth and shiny, paint won’t stick to it well. You’ll get a great paint job that starts to fall apart within a few weeks or months. No thanks! The glossy finish needs to be removed or at least compromised before you respray the wheels. The easiest way to do this is using steel wool. Steel wool allows you to break the surface of the old paint without the risk of adding any deep scratches or grooves that will show up through your new paint job. Scuff the entire area that you plan to paint. When you’re done, clean the wheels again.
Masking and Painting Your Wheels
With everything ready to go, you’ll need to protect your tires from the flying paint. Use masking tape to cover the entire tire. Be sure to get it as close to or underneath the lip of the metal rim so you don’t get any spray on your tires. With masking tape, small strips — 6 inches or less — overlapping each other seems to work well.
TIP: You never want to paint the area where the lug but contacts the wheel (known as the seat). To keep paint out, sit a set of lug nuts in the seat while you’re painting.
You’re ready to actually spray the paint on the wheels! The trick to painting is to spray many, many light coats rather than a soaking. You’ll know that you’re applying the right amount of paint because it will look like it’s going on smoothly, not pebbly or gloppy. Experiment with the speed of your strokes to control how much paint is going on. Put at least three coats on your wheels to be sure you get a lasting finish. When they’re dry, pull off the tape and enjoy!
Painting your tires can be an easy alternative to keeping your tires looking fresh. If you are looking for coat of Car Paint Santa Barbara to match those tires. Call today for Paint or Auto Repair Estimates in Santa Barbara.
Article Sources from autorepair.about.com
In the first part of this common car paint problem series, you were made aware of five of the many hitches your car paint could possibly meet during its painting process or over the time of its usage. In this article, we will bring to your attention more glitches that you can fix yourself and can prevent from occurring, since you are already made aware of them.
Here are the four other possible problems you could face when it comes to your Car Paint in Santa Barbara:
Chemical Etching or Staining
Also known as acid rain, spotting or discoloration, this kind of problem is characterized by irregularly shaped etching, discoloration or pitting that appears on your car’s paint film.
When damaging natural contaminants like tree sap, acid raid, road tar and bird droppings, among others, stick to the surface of your car for a long period of time, a chemical change happens and will cause staining or chemical etching.
You can mend this kind of blemish by washing your car with hot water and soap, rinsing it and then drying it thoroughly. You can also do some solvent cleaning using the proper surface cleaner. You can also wash your car using a solution of baking soda and water before rinsing it well. The appropriate mixture for this solution is one tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in every quart of water.
If washing will not suffice, you can compound the blemished surface and polish it after so its gloss will be restored. If polishing does not work, you can wet sand the problem area with 1500-2000 grit sandpaper before doing the compounding and polishing process. Should refinishing be needed, you must sand the blemished area with the right sandpaper and wash it with the baking soda solution before you finally refinish. In severe chemical etching cases, you must remove the finish right up to the bare metal of your car’s surface.
Always remove harmful contaminants that can be dissolved by water through regular washing with the use of clear water and detergent. You should also wax or polish your car occasionally. As much as possible, do not park near factories that may releases chemical byproducts into the air. You should also refrain from parking under electrical wires where your car may be subjected to bird droppings or under trees where it may get contaminated with tree sap.
During your car’s refinishing process, it is also best if you will make use of an acrylic urethane basecoat and clearcoat system so your car will be given maximum protection from chemical or natural elements.
It is imperative for you to take note as well that when you are buffing or sanding a basecoat and clearcoat finish, you should see to it that the clearcoat film’s thickness should be at least 2 mils as this helps sustain proper protection against the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Should mending a blemished area result in the removal of more than .5 mils of clearcoat, refinishing is definitely advised.
Also termed as alligatoring, checking, crow’s feet, spitting or crazing, this problem usually appears as lines or cracks in your car’s topcoat. Appearing like the cracks on dried mud, these marks usually come in different widths and lengths.
There are a number of things that could result in the cracking of your car paint. These include excessive thickness of your undercoat or topcoat’s film, force-drying of undercoats with the air coming your spray gun or inadequate flash time after every coat.
The non-thorough agitation or stirring of the paint ingredients or the improper mixture or excessive usage of hardener are also two other possible reasons. Then, there is also the use of standardized hardeners or reducers or the breaking down of your car’s finish due to the continued exposure of your vehicle to direct sunlight, extreme changes of temperature or moisture.
There is nothing else you can do to fix this kind of blemish, but to get rid of all the cracked paint film and then refinish.
Even during the painting process, you can already prevent cracking from happening and it can be started by the proper application of all paint materials according to all the directions on their labels. Before starting with the refinishing procedure, remove all the cracked or crazed finishes completely.
Only use the recommended paint additives and mix these thoroughly with all the other ingredients. Each component must be added according to the recommended sequence and proper ratio for mixing. All materials should be agitated or stirred meticulously as well before using to make sure that all the ingredients are mixed into the solution.
Never use air from your spray gun to force dry undercoating. Be sure to use only the recommender reducer or thinner and hardener and measure them accurately before application. If you want maximum durability and gloss for your car, you should always use a two-component undercoat and topcoat system for it.
Also known as stone pecks, nicks, bruises or chips, this kind of car paint problem is represented by damage to the paint film, which leaves a notch, void or nick in the job’s finish.
Loss or lack of the paint film’s adhesion to the substrate is what usually brings about this kind of blemish to your car. This is usually due to an impact from such hard objects as stones.
Damaged areas should be sanded and feather-edged to get rid of the chips, before it must be refinished.
Areas of your car that are likely to get chipped should be applied with a flex agent in its undercoat or topcoat system and this should be of the top grade two-component quality for maximum protection.
These blemishes, which are commonly known as dirt in the car paint’s finish, are actually foreign particles that have been set in in the paint film.
There are several reasons behind the dust contamination problem of any car painting job. These include a dirty and dusty environment used for the spraying process, insufficient cleaning of the surface that needs to be painted or improper work or filthy work clothes that may have lint, fibers or dust.
Unfiltered air going inside the spraying booth or poor air filtration, the use of a substandard masking paper or particles coming from depreciating air supply lines are also other probable causes for the problem. If you used an unclean spray gun or you removed your car from the spraying booth even before the paint finish is free from dust, then it is also possible that dust contamination could happen.
You can mend dust-contaminated areas of your car paint by sanding it with 1200 grit sandpaper. You can also use one with a finer grit, if you wish. After the blemished areas have been sanded, you can start compounding and then polishing to regain the gloss of your car. Just like with the air entrapment problem, you can actually do the sanding, smoothing and refinishing procedure if you have found dirt in your car’s paint finish.
Keeping your work area and spray equipment clean and free of any foreign particles is the first thing you can do against dust contamination. You should completely blow off around the doors, windows, jambs, moldings, wheel openings, trunk, engine compartment and hood. All the surfaces that need to be painted as well as the masking paper should also be wiped off with the use of a tack rag. Masking materials should all be of high quality or else you might find your paint job contaminated with wicks from newspapers, which tend to break off and blow right into your wet paint.
Appropriate air filters should also be installed in your work area and not the furnace-type filters that are usually used in residences. You should make sure that any leakage in your spray booth due to gaskets, doors, filters or seams that have been poorly fitted are repaired. Faulty air lines must be replaced or repaired as well. You should also make sure to wear a paint suit that is free from lint during the painting process. Unless your car finish is free from dust, you should keep you vehicle in a clean environment.
You should take note of the fact that fine dust particles that may fall on your car’s still tacky surface may be set into the finish, thus creating a mark that may appear the same to solvent pop. This blemish usually happens on vehicles that were removed from the spray booth while it is still tacky and left to dry completely in a different location. You can get rid of this kind of contamination by sanding and then polishing the affected area. However, if the problem is really solvent pop, the finish will have small craters or pinholes right after it has been sanded.
Prestigious Auto body is a full service Car Repair and Auto Body Shop, serving the Santa Barbara Area that takes pride in our quality work. Call us today for Auto Repair Estimates in Santa Barbara
Article Sourced By paintforcars.com
Over the years of using your car in and out of Santa Barbara, there are really times when you will notice blemishes appearing on its paint. While others might be because of normal wear and tear, others really have their own distinct causes, which can actually be prevented. Once you notice these marks on your car paint, it is best if you will have it repaired as soon as possible. Take it in to our shop, we cover all Paint in Santa Barbara.
Here are several car paint problems, their causes and how to repair and prevent them and keep you out of an Auto Repair Santa Barbara Shop or Auto Repair Goleta Shop:
Craters or Air Entrapment
This type of blemish is characterized by openings that look like small craters. They can be found in or on the paint film of your car.
Air pockets that have been buried or trapped in the car paint film while it is still wet. These usually go towards the surface of the film before bursting to form tiny craters. Usually this air entrapment problem is caused by insufficient atomization and may be because of low air pressure or the improper setup of your spray gun. It could also be caused by the spray gun’s too close distance to the car’s surface while painting or its slow travelling over the panels.
Sand the blemished area with a 1200 sand paper. You can also use one with a finer grit if you wish. After sanding, compound and then polish the sanded area to bring back its gloss. You can also use the known procedure of sanding, smoothing and refinishing.
If you are painting your car yourself, you can prevent craters from forming on its paint by maintaining correct distance and speed of your spray gun. You should also use the amount of air pressure that is recommended for the kind of paint and spray gun you are using. You should also follow the recommendations with regards to the proper nozzles, air caps or needles needed for clear coatings.
It is also good to note that several cases of crater formation on car paint may look quite the same to dust contamination or solvent pop. However, air entrapment usually happens with wet film and can be repaired by following the process of compounding. Meanwhile, dust contamination normally appears when the film is already becoming dry. Craters caused by dust usually hold a speck of the offending material right in the middle of the opening. Solvent pop also happens after the skinning over of the film and usually forms pinholes when sanded.
These are the swollen areas on the topcoat film of your car paint, which look like bumps, bubbles or pimples. More often than not, you will notice these marks only months after paint has been applied to your vehicle.
Blistering is often caused by the confinement of moisture underneath the paint film. This, in turn, is caused by contaminated air lines, inadequate drying time after wet sanding and spraying in places with extremely high humidity.
The use of poor grade reducer or thinner or one that evaporates too fast is also another reason that could cause bumps or bubbles to appear on your car paint. It could also be because of the solvents that have been trapped after the application of wet heavy coatings with insufficient flash time in between coatings. Applying paint over rust, grease or oil and inadequate drying time of undercoats before the application of top-coating are also other reasons for the appearance of this type of blemish.
These pimple or bubble blemishes can be repaired through the removal and refinishing of affected areas. In extreme cases though, marked parts should be stripped until you arrive at the bare substrate before you can start with the refinishing process.
If you prefer to do wet sanding, you must allow adequate time for the evaporation of the moisture. You must keep away from wet sanding any lacquer primer surface whenever possible though. Moisture from air lines and your compressor should also be drained frequently. When applying paint during humid conditions, you must add a retarder or allow added flash time in between coatings. If possible, only spray during low humidity weather.
You can also prevent blistering from happening of you will choose the adequate reducer or thinner for spraying conditions. You should also allow undercoating to cure or dry thoroughly before applying the top-coating.
Materials or products should also be applied based on the recommendations posed by the manufacturer and you should also allow the proper flash time before applying another coating. It is also best if you will prep and clean the substrate with the use only of recommended procedures and products.
Bleeding or Discoloration
This is characterized by a yellow or red discoloration that usually appears on the topcoat color of your vehicle.
This kind of blemish is often caused by the dissolution of the pigments or soluble dyes in the original finish of your car brought on by the solvent of the new topcoat. Once these pigments dissolve, they seep into the topcoat and cause the discoloration.
You can fix this problem by allowing the pigment to cure or by isolating with two component undercoating before refinishing. You can also get rid of the original paint film before starting with the refinishing process.
The best way to prevent discoloration or bleeding from happening, you need to isolate the area you suspect to be bleeding through the application of a sealer or a two-component surface. You should allow this to dry or cure according to the product recommendations, before you can apply the topcoat you want.
You can usually see this as a chalky white blemish that appears on the paint film’s surface. This is also known as fading, weathering or oxidation.
This kind of flaw on your car paint is largely due to a pigment that is no longer protected or held together by the resin, which results in the lackluster or powder-like appearance of your car’s surface. The reasons for this occurrence are the wrong application of your paint product, the natural wear and tear of your car’s paint film, the excessive utilization of fog or mist coats during the application of single-stage metallic finishes and the use of nonspecific reducers, thinners or hardeners in the paint.
You can mend this kind of flaw by using compounding procedures to take away the oxidation and then by polishing so that the gloss will be restored. You can also sand the blemished paint film and then refinish it after.
During the painting process, you can prevent chalking from happening if you will agitate, shake or store all the paint products thoroughly before application. When you are using single-stage metallic finishes, you should apply the fog or mist coats by panel while the finish is not yet dry.
You should be aware that when the clear resin protecting the pigments and flakes of your car finish wears off, these components are exposed to the natural elements, which causes their rapid deterioration. Washing your car once every week and waxing or polishing it occasionally can help in getting rid of weathering from your car’s finish.
Blushing or Milkiness
This is characterized by a milky-gray cloud blemish that can be seen on your car paint’s film surface shortly after or immediately after it has been applied.
Air moisture condenses on or in your car’s paint film when you spray during humid weather. This is because the evaporation of the solvent and the air coming from the spray gun lowers the temperature of the substrate right below the standard dew point. Such condition is worsened with the utilization of unbalanced or too fast drying reducer or thinner.
If blushing should happen during the car painting process, you can fix this by applying heat to the area where the blemish is or adding a retarder and putting on additional coatings. If your car’s finish has already dried, minor milkiness can be mended through using compounding procedures or polishing. However, more serious blushing will need for you to sand the blemish before you can refinish it.
Blushing or milkiness can be prevented if you will always utilize high quality solvents and reducing or thinning materials based on the directions specified on their labels. You should also make sure to choose the right reducer or thinner for every spraying condition. Only the recommended volume of retarder should be added when you are spraying during humid conditions. You must also apply some heat to your car’s surface after paint application so that excess moisture will evaporate. Remember that as your thinner dissolves, air moisture naturally condenses in your car’s paint film.
The five problems mentioned above are just among the many common glitches you might encounter when it comes to your car paint. The good thing about arming yourself with such information as the ones you have just read is that you will be aware of what caused the problem, the ways you can fix it and how this can be prevented.
A article Sourced by paintforcars.com