Why is the Paint on my Car Swirled?
Swirl Marks in the Paint Happen
Have you ever spent an hour or two really cleaning up your rig? You vacuum it out, throw out those old Taco Bell wrappers, clean the windows until you can’t even tell the glass is there. You wash the exterior, then give it the old spit polish. You step back and admire your handiwork only to realize that something looks funny. Upon inspection, you notice the paint has swirl marks. You’re certain that you buffed it nicely. Those marks didn’t just happen now, they’ve been a long time in the making.
So, what can you do? There are a few options that you can try at home, but you may have to bring it in to have us professional restore the finish. As the best auto body repair shop in Billings, our goal is to give you the information you need. We are here as a backup in case you’re not able, not willing, or not interested in doing it yourself.
How do Paint Swirls Happen?
Most likely, you inadvertently caused the swirl marks in your paint. When the paint is applied to the car, it goes on in three steps. There is the primer, that bonds to the metal. Then the paint, that bonds to the primer. Then the clear coat, which protects the paint.
There are a number of ways that you could have accidentally put those swirls in your paint. And don’t worry, they’re largely unavoidable.
Washing – Washing your vehicle is tricky. On the one hand, you want to get the dirt off. On the other hand, wiping it off can scratch the paint. If you wash in a circular pattern, you cause tiny abrasions in the clear coat that can cause swirls.
Waxing/Buffing – Waxing your vehicle puts a protective layer on it. But it needs to be completely clean before you’re able to do it without causing more damage. Most people wax-on/wax-off in circular motions (thank you Mr. Miyagi), causing those swirls.
Car Covers – Covering your car can protect it from the elements. But keeping it covered can cause water to settle in one spot and make it look blotchy. This especially happens when you’ve recently washed and waxed and then covered. The wind moving the cover can give it a swirl.
Cleaning Solutions – If you didn’t use a cleaner approved for cars (some people have used dish detergent on their vehicles). These can be too harsh and end up causing damage to your rig.
How to Get Rid of Paint Swirls
So you know it happened. Maybe it was one of the above, or maybe it was a mysterious event caused undoubtedly by extra-terrestrial beings. Regardless, how do you get rid of those unsightly swirls marks in your vehicle’s paint?
Wash Gently – When you wash, how gentle are you with the car? If you’re like most, you want to get it done quickly! This causes issues. First, rinse all dirt and debris off possible with water. This will eliminate a lot of the scratchers that are intent on damaging your clear coat. Then, using a microfiber cloth dipped in soapy water (using automotive approved soap of course), wash as you would normally. After you’ve cleaned an area, rinse the cloth in a bucket of clean water before moving on to the next area. Finally, rinse the vehicle with clean water and dry with a fresh microfiber cloth. You can even use a leaf blower to blow the water off the vehicle.
Buff Gently – After the car is clean, before any new dirt can accumulate, apply the wax, let it dry, and buff it off. A good quality wax will fill in the microscopic scratches that are causing those swirl marks in your paint. But you have to buff it off before any dust gets onto the paint.
Will the swirls disappear? Not really. But they should be less noticeable.
The Big Sky Collision Center Option
If you’ve tried to get rid of the swirls, but you just can’t get them completely gone, you can bring your vehicle in. We have paint technicians that have spent years perfecting their craft. The result is that they’re really good. They can use a professional compound to buff out the clear coat and reapply giving your vehicle that nice and shiny new look.
Need to make an appointment? Just give us a call at 406-259-6328.