Should I always use a Clear Coat when painting my Car?

Tags: Clearcoat

Be Sociable, Share! new vehicles in the past 15 years use a two stage paint system that starts off with a flat base coat and adds a top clear coat for gloss and durability however not every car needs to use a Clear Coat for good results.

Some of the earliest vehicles were painted with lacquer paint which was a single stage paint that required buffing for good gloss. Lacquer today normally adds a top clear coat for protection of the color coat that often contains metallics.

After lacquers came enamel paints. There are three basic types of enamel paints Synthetic, Acrylic and Urethane.

Each of these paints can come in a single or two stage paint system.

Single stage enamels provide a utility grade paint job. Whether you are painting solid color or metallic if you choose to use a single stage paint your finished result without clear coat will be glossy however if you have a heavy metallic paint then you will not be able to buff the finish either right after the paint is applied or months down the line when it begins to fade or gets light surface scratches.

So basically the answer to whether you should use a two stage base and clear coat or apply a clear coat over a single stage enamel or lacquer is how long you want the work to last and how good you want it to look.

Honesty most painters will suggest that you use a clear coat but it does mean that you must apply at least 3 more full coats to your work.

The exception to this rule is when you are painting surfaces like drive train and suspension.

You can definitely get away with a Jet Black factory black single stage acrylic enamel if you are painting your suspension or axle and high temp engine enamel out of a spray can will do fine on your engine and transmission. I would suggest that you add hardener for durability and good flow.

So no it is not mandatory that you use clear over your work but if you want it to last and look the best it can then it’s not a bad idea to take the extra hour and shoot a few coats of clear.




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