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Car Care & Detailing
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:45 AM   #1
diverse
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Why do silver cars tend to lose their lustre?

before anyone with a silver car takes this personally. Don't.
This is not about the cars that have been well maintained and meticulously cared for.

Your silver car may be as shiny and wet looking as a northern winter lake.

I REPEAT
I am not talking about a person who works hard on his or her silver car.

I am speaking more about the offerings in car lots, private party sales, or copart and other auctions
when you are going to purchase your vehicle.

When I was looking for my zhp I found that there were twice as many silver cars being sold as were other colors.
Same for m3's (at my time of searching)

I noticed that silver cars do tend to either look more faded or have a harder time looking glossy.

After doing some research I found two common causes.
the first all white and very light color cars
begin losing luster as contaminates find their way on the surface.
Imagine a dirty mirror or a mirror after you get out of a steamy shower.

the reflective properties become altered. due to haze and contaminates that are just present in our atmosphere.

Proof to this is Meguiers new white wax a special formula wax specifically for
white and silver cars.
it has abrasives in it that you can feel with your fingers.
much more abrasive then normal waxes it even has an abrasive applicator that comes wit it abrasive on one side soft on the other.

Back in 1990 I had a 81 Audi 5000s
It was a white car that had been sitting for 4 years.
the paint was dull
my Boss suggested I wash the car with AJax and then compound and buff it.
and finally wax it with two coats of wax.
when I did the car had a liquid glossy shine. (one of the shiniest cars I have ever seen. to this date.)
I am not sure washing todays clear coats with Ajax would have the same results
but meguires white wax does suggest that
abrasive compounds are important to handling the shine on a white or silver car.

a second thing to take note of is this following.

When you have your car repaired at a body shop depending on the age
in order to match the silver it is important to reduce the amount of black and blue paint that is added to your paint mix formula

I mixed paint in a body shop for about a year.
and silver and reds were both very difficult to match.

silver was difficult because it was hard to determine how much blue and black had been lost due to UV rays.

My final thoughts on the silver car thing is that
in order to better get your silver car to shine ( if it isn't already shiny and wet looking)
is to flatten the paint a bit.
This can be accomplished three ways.
after removing contaminates via clay
you can either use a light compound on newer cars or a heavier compound on older cars
then glaze then wax with a product


or you can opt to glaze which will fill in scratches then wax to cover the glaze
both these processes will allow you to actually flatten the clear coat a little
filling in some of the orange peel.

The third process is the most aggressive and difficult to execute and should be left to a professional
this involves wetsanding the car with a fine wet sand paper like 1,500 or 2000
then finishing with 3000 and then buffing with a compound to remove the scratches from the sand paper
then using a fine machine polish to remove the scratches left from the compound (swirl marks)
then finally glazing or waxing. again this is best left to a professional.

I own a silver car. and it does have a shine but not what I would want and I plan on doing some claying and glazing first
and see how she looks

if I am not satisfied I may return with a light compound. and machine polish and then wax.

Of If I am feeling like devoting an entire weekend to this project I may attempt the wet sand process.

I will upload some before and after pictures .

Last edited by diverse; 03-07-2014 at 07:47 AM. Reason: added two details
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:37 AM   #2
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In for pics.
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:51 AM   #3
diverse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breiwa1 View Post
In for pics.
nice m3 backshot
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by diverse View Post
nice m3 backshot

Thanks.

I did a major upgrade to my workshop lighting and noticed my paint could use a light correction.

Right after you posted this I was online looking for a detailer
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:27 PM   #5
Greg@DetailedImage.com
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That's some very good insight diverse. I actually had quite a few clients ask me this exact question and I believe the answer is mostly always the same... Silver/grey cars are simply more neglected than darker colored or even white cars. Reason being, silver cars hide EVERYTHING. Whether it's the swirl marks that are so easily noticeable in darker colors or the dirt and orange specs of contamination easily seen on white cars, silver just doesn't show much at all. Thus, people take much worse care, waiting longer to get washes, waiting longer to get it waxed and waiting VERY long (or forever) to polish it. This all results in the swirl marks and contamination adding up to completely diminish the luster and overall look of the vehicle.

In short, I have found that a proper decontamination with a clay bar, or a NanoSkin Autoscrub pad, and a thorough polishing (usually 2-stage) helps restore the paint and give it lots of gloss. Obviously waxes, sealants and/or paint coatings help to improve it a bit, but the regular decontamination and polishing is what keeps silver, like all other colors, in great shape and showing nice shine.

Ivan @ DI
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:03 PM   #6
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Thanks a lot Ivan.

I have a question when you say two stage do you mean polish and glaze?

I have never heard that term before.

Are you familiar with the 3m system?


I am really not comfortable using sponge pads
I like the wool pads much better.

I think the sponge pads burn when you are not careful and I don't buff enough to
feel confident.

looking at my car what would you recommend

I was going to just clay and wax and see how it looks afterwards.

it is a 2006


[IMG][/IMG]

Last edited by diverse; 03-07-2014 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diverse View Post
Thanks a lot Ivan.

I have a question when you say two stage do you mean polish and glaze?

I have never heard that term before.

Are you familiar with the 3m system?


I am really not comfortable using sponge pads
I like the wool pads much better.

I think the sponge pads burn when you are not careful and I don't buff enough to
feel confident.

looking at my car what would you recommend

I was going to just clay and wax and see how it looks afterwards.

it is a 2006


[IMG][/IMG]
Sorry for the confusion. When I say 2-stage, I mean actual 2 steps of polishing to correct the defects in the paint. This does not mean polish then glaze, or polish then wax. Simply talking amount of polishing steps. For example, one of the more known systems is Meguiar's 105 then 205. This usually cleans up a lot of swirl marks safely and effectively, leaving behind a much better level of gloss and shine.

I am familiar with the 3M system, however I don't use their products much aside from tape when polishing to protect trim, emblems, etc.

Foam pads can be very safe when used properly and they normally leave a better finish than wool pads, but you are right in that they can create more heat as opposed to wool pads. Both kinds of pads have their place.

As for your car, it's honestly hard to tell from that photo. As I said above though, to truly amp up the gloss, you'll need to perform some level of polishing in order to remove the top layer of swirl marks and contamination. Then again, there are some light silver paints that are very "boring" and simply won't look too glossy even with perfectly corrected paint and a good coat of wax on top.

Let us know what you try on it and the results you get.

Ivan @ DI
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Old 03-08-2014, 05:31 AM   #8
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Thanks for the Clarification.
I will start doing something today even if it is just the clay and the white wax thing.

I normally would treat the surface to a wetsand party
but I am a little nervous not knowing how much clear is on the car.

and before I had a body shop behind me so if I did burn through the clear a 40.00 gallon of Acme clear and a little time
and problem solved.

today I am not affliliated with a shop and keeping the paint original is important.

However, there is a fair amount of orange peel.
So I feel I should do or try something to address it.

I will definitely let you know Ivan have a great weekend

Last edited by diverse; 03-08-2014 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diverse View Post
Thanks for the Clarification.
I will start doing something today even if it is just the clay and the white wax thing.

I normally would treat the surface to a wetsand party
but I am a little nervous not knowing how much clear is on the car.

and before I had a body shop behind me so if I did burn through the clear a 40.00 gallon of Acme clear and a little time
and problem solved.

today I am not affliliated with a shop and keeping the paint original is important.

However, there is a fair amount of orange peel.
So I feel I should do or try something to address it.

I will definitely let you know Ivan have a great weekend
Yeah unfortunately if orange peel is a bother to you, more likely than not the only way to fix it will be a thorough wetsanding. Obviously if the clear is on the thinner side, you should repaint with some clear, but in some cases if it's thick enough you'll get away with a thorough sanding and polishing only. A big job either way!

Have a great weekend as well and I hope you get that gloss soon! Bad news is, gloss is like horsepower... never enough .

Ivan @ DI
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Old 03-08-2014, 04:57 PM   #10
diverse
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I spoke to paint and body mentor
and he reminded me that I am not sanding a freshly cleared or painted car
and that care is of the utmost if I am to attempt wet sanding

even with my skill and knowledge
he still suggested I start wit 3000 sand paper
and use a soft block
stay away from any edges and corners and grooves in the body.
and don't try to get the paint perfectly flat (in other words do not attempt to remove all the orange peel)
keep the car wet
keep the paper wet
continually change water in the bucket
and keep a spray bottle squirting as you sand.

to prevent any sand or debris from messing up the job.

Like I said Wet sanding is better left to a professional.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:06 PM   #11
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Try the Lake Country Purple Foamed Wool. It's the best of both..if you know what you're doing.
dlm ny country
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:52 PM   #12
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You've jumped from a simple wash and wax all the way to wet-sanding and removing the orange peel. You need to do more than a wash and wax to make it really shine, but you don't have to go all the way to wet sanding either. The "in between" solution has been suggested - polish. If you use an orbital polisher, foam pads, and Meg's 105 and 205, you'll bring the shine back and it will be impossible to burn through the clear coat unless you do it on purpose.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:11 PM   #13
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YEAH Chet I can get carried away.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:37 PM   #14
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Silver paint almost never fades--I've painted many silver cars.

But yes, nobody polishes silver cars because most people won't notice a difference.
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:57 AM   #15
diverse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AceCars View Post
Silver paint almost never fades--I've painted many silver cars.

But yes, nobody polishes silver cars because most people won't notice a difference.
I didnt say Fade I said lose it's luster

There is a difference I think.

You say you painted many Silver cars you probably painted more than I did.
But did you mix your paint?
If so and you were trying to match panels
you would know it was impossible to match the panel using the formula
the paint code called for.

you had to reduce the black and the blue paint in order to get the match
why is that?
Every paint code for silver calls for a certain percentage of black and often times blue paint
to be added to the mix this percentage has to be reduced when atttempting to mix panels the older the car you are painting
the more reduction is necessary. if you are painting a car about a year or two old that has been maintained.
you may not have to reduce at all.
but a ten year old car you have to reduce the black by about 12-25% that is a lot.
and the blue about 10-15% if not more.
where did the blue and black go that was in the original silver?

if you do not mix your own paint talk to your mixer about this
you will see I am Saying.

the way it was explained to me is that the sun bakes it out.
when the black and blue diminish so goes the depth.
and you get the reflection but you lose that deep luster.

Last edited by diverse; 04-01-2014 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:51 AM   #16
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here's a thread that shows a paint correction on a silver BMW. Perhaps this is the results you'd like to see????
http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/...-lawrence.html
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:31 AM   #17
diverse
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very impressive. I have done three waxings since my original post and my car is definitely shining more,.
I am almost positive this car was polished at car max because I see a tell tale burn mark on a fender corner where the windshield hood and fender meet.

running my hands over the paint it is not too much friction present
so a clay job will have some but not dramatic results ( I clayed half the hood and waxed the whole hood to see
and there was not much of a difference.

I may try mequires ultimate wax.
since my meguiers white wax is more of a cleaner wax.
I may see some better results.
after claying and using the ultimate wax

thanks for sharing,

I will be honest

I am close to considering a paint job and going to Imola Red.
I can save money by doing most of the paint prep myself and letting the shop just do the shooting and final buffing
but let me do all the color sanding.

I have uncovered so many rock chips in the paint I am becoming disenchanted with this paint
between the chips and the silver red or that crazy metallic aqua blue is looking real good to me right now,
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Old 04-12-2014, 01:04 AM   #18
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Nice Topic. This is the second silver car that I've owned. I'm really liking the metallic color and how it shines.

For my car I really didn't see the need to give it a heavy wax. Something quick has been working fine. I've own the car for a year and a half now. Maybe this year I will give her a full detail.


this is at week 3 of ownership.

TIAG
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