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What Every Car Owner Needs to Know about Preventing Damaging Oxidation

By Ryan Adams © 2011 All Rights Reserved

You know that dull spot on the hood of your car, where the paint just isn’t as shiny and smooth as it should be?  Most people would call that oxidation, but that isn’t always the case.  It could be damage to your clear coat.  How would you know?  By understanding just what oxidation is and how it – and other types of damage – can hurt your car.

Contamination & Radiation Poisoning for Your Car?

No, it’s not some sci-fi hoax.  Radiation and contamination damage happen daily.  The first layer that suffers is the clear coat. 

UV radiation causes fading, dullness and a loss of shine. Eventually, if you don’t do something to stop it, UV radiation can remove theentire clear coat layer.  How do you prevent it?  You don’t.  (Unless you never drive your car.)   The next best thing is to keep your vehicle out of the sun as much as you can and always… ALWAYS keep it well waxed.

Contamination, on the other hand, comes from all sorts of stuff.  Everything from actual, tiny pieces of debris that fall from the air (like near airports) to ordinary brake dust.  You can remove these, but you have to be very careful.  Use an extremely soft cloth with gentle motions, so you don’t scratch the clear coat or paint.

What is Oxidation?

OK, we’ve already said that all rough and dull spots aren’t necessarily oxidation.  So what is?  Oxidation is a chemical process that happens when oxygen molecules bond with – and change – practically anything else. It occurs everywhere oxygen is (which is everywhere!), whether in the air, water or certain chemicals.

Cars are built of metal, but not stainless steel.  The metal will rust if exposed to the air.  This (along with making the appearance look great) is the primary reason car manufacturers started painting cars in the first place.  Eventually, automakers went one step further and developed a clear coat of paint that protects the underlying, colored paint.

Yes, you can see oxidation through rusted surfaces, but it’s not always in the form of rust. Oxidation comes in many forms, but for this article, the issue is what oxygen is doing to your car’s finish.

Best Bet? Use a Protective Coating

There’s no way to keep your car away from oxygen and water.  The only way to preserve the clear coat and paint is to put a layer of protection between them and the environment.  That helps prevent damage to the paint that causes dullness.  This is extremely important.  You want to do everything possible to protect the clear coat and paint.  Once they are gone, you’re left with exposed metal that can rust.

When you’re talking about cars, wax is the protective coating of choice.  Wax makes it possible for the clear coat and paint job to last much longer than they would if left unprotected.  Because the finish of a car is always wet (even when it’s dry), it needs to be kept semi-sealed to retain the moisture. Otherwise, you end up with those aggravating dull spots due to constant exposure to air and the other contaminants we mentioned earlier.

What’s the bottom line with preventing oxidation?  Waxing is what smart car owners do to protect the clear coat and paint, and to avoid premature problems. You want your ride to look awesome, but you also want to ensure your investment holds its value when the time comes to sell or trade.

Stay tuned for part two of “What Every Car Owner Needs to Know about Preventing Damaging Oxidation,” where you’ll find out how to repair some of the damage your car might already have.

 Ryan Adams writes for Carnuwax.com with Carnu-B, a carnauba wax specially formulated to prevent water spots and easily remove bug splats, bird droppings & tar. Watch the video demo at http://www.carnuwax.com

Ryan Adams

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By Ryan Adams © 2010, All Rights Reserved

You’ve spent all afternoon washing and polishing your car, and it looks fantastic! That is, until your neighbor turns on his sprinklers and gets water spots all over it. To your neighbor it’s no big deal – after all, it’s just water – but those spots make your car look like it hasn’t been washed in weeks. If you don’t take steps to get rid of them right away, and prevent them in the future, you might as well have spent the day antiquing with your girlfriend for all the good you did.

Water isn’t Really the Problem

Water spots are a pain and they’re ugly to boot. What causes them? City water supplies contain minerals and salts, and when that stuff dries on your car, you get water spots. Depending on where you live, they can be tough to get rid of. Pretty soon that mirror finish you worked so hard on is full of spots, and you’re back to spending weekends with a buffing cloth instead of at the beach.

Even the morning dew can cause water spots. If your car sits out where dust particles and more can settle on the surface, then condensation collects on the hood and trunk, you’ll get water spots. Unless you’re prepared to store your car in a clean room and admire it through the window, then water – and the spots it causes – can’t be avoided. Good thing you’ve got a plan

Two Steps to Freedom from Water Spots

As much as you’d like to, you probably can’t run out and dry your car every time it gets a little wet. But you do need to get rid of those spots, and sooner is better than later. For most spots, distilled vinegar – not fancy salad-dressing vinegar – and water will do the trick. Just dampen a cotton or microfiber cloth with white vinegar and gently wipe away the spots. Rinse with distilled water, and you’re all set. Of course, that’s a pain to do every time your car gets wet. There’s a better option.

To prevent water spots from forming in the first place, a high-quality carnauba wax is your best ally. After you’ve removed all the spots, apply a thin coat of liquid wax. Make sure it’s a cool day, and keep your car out of the sun while you’re waxing. Read the instructions and don’t use too much. With better-quality liquid carnauba waxes, a little really does go a long way. Complete one section before moving on to the next. No need to let it dry first like with paste wax. Finish by buffing with a soft towel – terrycloth works best.

Just a word to the wise: Not all waxes are the same. When properly formulated, carnauba wax works great to help prevent new water spots from forming. By allowing water to “sheet” off the car instead of “beading up,” you’ll have fewer water spots to deal with in the future. Depending on the brand of carnauba wax you choose and the environmental conditions in your area, your wax job should last you two to three months. You will want to reapply it if you use the vinegar trick on any new spots. Or any time you need an excuse to get out of dinner with your in-laws.

Ryan Adams writes for http://www.Carnuwax.com, an online car detailing site that offers Carnu-B, a carnauba wax specially formulated to prevent water spots while leaving the car with a gorgeous high gloss shine. Check out the video demonstration at http://www.carnuwax.com

When you clean the instrument panel in your car there are a number of simple tips to follow to make sure you don’t do damage.  A drenching spray of Windex is not one of them!

chrome

Nothing beats the shine produced by well polished chrome wheels. Following some simple tips and one bonus tip will keep your chrome wheels mirror shined.

An important part of proper car care is keeping the wheels clean and free from brake dust and road grime.

Rinse your wheels with clean water. Use a hose with a sprayer attachment for the best results.

Sponge-clean the wheels with a mixture of auto shampoo and water. I recommend a highly rated product like Carnu-B Conditioning Auto Shampoo™

Rinse the wheels again with clean water.

Once the chrome on your wheel is sufficiently clean you’re ready to polish. Again I like Carnu-B products. There Carnu-B Metal Shine™ will do a great job.

After polishing buff to bring out the shine.

Now the bonus tip! A step that many people leave out when they detail their chrome wheels is to apply a thin layer of wax. Dust and dirt will stick to the wax instead of the wheel, making future cleanings easier.

To see the complete line of Carnu-B products I encourage you to visit –Carnuwax