When it comes to performing car maintenance, it takes more than just a routine oil change to keep your car looking and performing its best. The appearance of your vehicle is one of the first things people notice, so your car maintenance should involve preventative measures against things like car paint oxidation and surface damage.

Aside from affecting its value, the paint job is one of the most noticeable signs of wear and tear on a vehicle. Over time, natural elements take a toll on your car’s paint job, which can leave it looking run-down even if your car is still fairly new.

If you don’t take action to preserve your car’s natural lustre, it can quickly lose its brilliant shine for good. In this article, we’ll go over some of the ways to prevent oxidation from occurring and prolong the life of your car’s paint.

What is oxidation?


Oxidation is a naturally occurring process that takes place on an atomic level. In relation to your car, it occurs when heat and oxygen combine and break down the paint’s molecular structure, causing uneven markings, swirls and peeling of the paint.

 When you combine this chemical reaction with heavy exposure to UV rays from the sun, the unfortunate result is rapid oxidation on your car’s surface. While oxidation occurs on most objects exposed to the elements, oxidation on your car results in the form of dull, faded paint that appears “cloudy”. Most factory car paint is formulated to last 6-8 years, although Australia’s harsh climate and strong UV rays can shorten this timeline.


Ways to prevent car paint oxidation


The good news about car paint oxidation is that it can be prevented with regular maintenance. Oxidation is a natural process that will occur regardless, but taking preventative measures will ensure that it takes a much longer time before you can visibly see the effects of oxidation on your car paint. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to prevent car paint oxidation:


1.     Apply a clear coat


One of the best and easiest ways to prevent oxidation from occurring on your car is by making sure your car’s paint job is protected with a clear coat. When oxidation occurs on this outer protective layer, it won’t discolour your car’s paint job.


Clear coating was at one point in time, only applied to luxury vehicles since it was a fairly new, thus expensive invention. Today, however, just about every vehicle that is manufactured comes with a clear coat layer as part of the stock paint job. Newer vehicles tend to have a better formulated clear coat that lasts and protects the paint much longer.


If you have an older vehicle that was manufactured before the 1980s (such as a vintage car), then you may need to apply a clear coat to keep it protected. One of the best ways to avoid oxidation in older vehicles is to bring your car to a paint shop and have them apply this protective clear coating for you.


2.     Wash your car frequently


If you don’t wash your car on a regular basis, things like leaves, bird droppings, insect etchings and other debris will settle on your car, leading to car paint damage. If you want to avoid this, aim to wash your car at least once every two or three weeks.


Most car enthusiasts agree that handwashing your car, or having it washed by a professional is the best way to go about keeping your vehicle clean. Though commercial car washes are convenient, they tend to use harsh detergents and can damage your car’s paint.


3.     Dry and wax your car


After you wash your car, avoid letting the water sit on the car’s surface. Doing so will speed up the oxidation process. Be sure to dry your car using a soft detailing or microfibre towel. To further prevent any oxidation from occurring, apply a layer of wax right after drying.


Wax will need to be applied once a month in order to remain effective, but once applied it provides a thin layer of protection against dirt, debris and UV rays. Most car owners will keep their car undercover for added protection.


Waxing and polishing is important, but there are other options available for both old and new cars. Non-abrasive acrylic paint conditioner, paint protection film and ceramic paint protection are just a few examples of preventative solutions that will ensure your car not only look its best, but is protected from the effects of paint deterioration for many years longer.


4.     Protect your car from the elements


Since the sun is largely responsible for causing car paint oxidation, one of the best ways to avoid oxidation in the first place is to keep it covered. Park your vehicle in a garage or invest in a car coverslip, which is made of special protective materials and will protect your vehicle from rain, direct sunlight and debris. Remember, if you keep your car locked in the garage during summer, make sure it is well-ventilated and protected from leaks, since humidity can accelerate the oxidation process.


5.     Invest in ceramic paint coating


Many car owners choose to take their car paint maintenance a step further by having ceramic paint coating applied to their vehicle. Unlike wax or sealants, ceramic paint coating provides extra heavy-duty protection for your paint, since it chemically bonds with your vehicle’s factory paint.


Ceramic paint coating is a semi-permanent coating that only needs to be reapplied once or twice a year. Diamond Plate’s ceramic paint coating is among the highest quality paint protection on the market and is proven to last 7 years or more.

 Although oxidation is a natural process, without adequate preventative measures it can undermine the value of your car. Diamond Plate’s ceramic paint coating is the best solution for car owners who want the highest degree of protection and an ultra-glossy, luxurious, easy-to-maintain finish. If you’d like more information about how to keep your car protected, you can chat to a member of our Diamond Plate team on 1300 088 883or send an enquiry through our contact form.