Why does my vehicle’s paint feel rough?

Why does my vehicle’s paint feel rough?

Have your ever run your hand across your freshly washed vehicle but it does not clean? Like maybe you didn’t get all the dirt off in the wash process. It seems that the paint has lost that clean smooth, “like-glass” feeling that it once had. Maybe you’ve also noticed that the water “sticks” to the paint and does not run off like it did when it was new. It now feels a bit like sandpaper.

The paint looks fine but what is going on? Is the paint ruined? 

If your paint looks like its in good condition but feels rough to the touch it means your vehicle’s paint has contaminants embedded into it. No worries. This is actually normal and will happen to any vehicle that sees driving time on Utah roads. Things from the environment and things that kick up from the road stick to and get embedded in the vehicle’s paint. This might be things like road grime, micro dirt, tiny metal shavings, over spray, hard water deposits and a myriad of other things that find their way into the clear coat of your vehicle’s paint.

How can this be remedied? How can I fix my rough feeling paint?

There are many different types of contaminants so there are many different ways to take care of the paint contamination. The main way and the most common is after a good wash to do a clay bar treatment to lift any contaminants off the surface. Sometimes a clay bar is not enough or not necessarily the best way to remove certain things. Sometimes it is necessary to use solvents to loosen up things like tree sap or tar. There are other kinds of things that are best broken down and removed with iron removers and/or mild acids.

There are other issues that can be caused by surface contaminants that have been left too long and not taken care of such as paint etching. Paint etching is when the contaminants have actually damaged the clear coat. Things such as hard water deposits and bird droppings are the most common culprits of etching. Anything that is acidic can be the worst if it sits and has the chance to eat into the clear coat.

If etching is the issue of why your paint feels rough the only way to remedy this is with some wet sanding and paint correction or polishing. For more info on that please read our previous blog here;

https://onsitedetail.net/blog/paint-correction-vs-paint-perfection/

Can getting contaminants in paint be prevented?

There is no true way to never get any contaminants in your paint or on the surfaces of your vehicle, but there are for sure ways to help maintain and protect your paint. The best way to maintain is to continue to frequently decontaminate the surfaces of your vehicle.

The best way to protect your vehicle is to have a ceramic coating professional installed. With a professionally installed ceramic coating you are going to get a complete decon and paint correction and then years of warrantied protection.

A coating is not invincible and it can be contaminated but it is a lot more resistant and durable than regular clear coat. To maintain the coating proper care needs to be taken and decon washes/details are still a part of that.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have questions or to schedule an appointment for us to take care of your vehicle.

by Chris Blaisdell, CD-SV, Onsite Detail

Chris Blaisdell is the owner of Onsite Detail and has been detailing  for 12 + years.
He is a Certified Detailer-Skills Validated detailer through the
International Detailing Association. The industry leader in detailing standards.
1 reply
  1. Ron S
    Ron S says:

    I always thought it was just an old paint issue, like it was corroding. I didn’t realize rough/sandpaper feeling meant contamination. but it makes sense. Thanks for the blog.

    Reply

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