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  1. #1
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    Signs of Clear Coat Damage from Wet Sanding?

    Hello all,

    Recent new to this forum, and I'm hoping to gain some insight on a paint issue I had recently.

    I was touching up some chips in my vehicle door. I used a combination of 2000/3000 grit wet sanding blocks, meguiar's ultimate compound, turtlewax rubbing compound, and a duplicolor paint pen (with clear coat). All of this was done by hand.

    After the process, I noticed streaking around the touch up areas. I also noticed these areas got bigger when I applied more turtle wax rubbing compound:
    Possible burn through of clear coat?



    Possible burn through of clear coat? - Album on Imgur



    Everything is smooth to the touch and the only way to see this is shining a light directly onto it.

    Is anyone able to confirm based on this image if this is clear coat damage or burn through? What are the usual signs/symptoms of clear coat burn through?

    Thank you so much for the help.




  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Signs of Clear Coat Damage from Wet Sanding?

    Hang tight, let me edit your post to put some breaks in-between the single chunk of text.


    Here's your picture,




    Hard to tell with a light color but looks like and your description makes it sound like you've chewed through the clearcoat and exposed the basecoat.


    Here's one of the articles I've written in my life that I share the most.

    Clearcoats are thin by Mike Phillips


    I share it all the time when people join this forum asking for help to do the thing you have done. Hate to be there bearer of bad news but if you have removed the clear - the only honest repair now is to

    Repaint the affected area. This means a "blend line"

    Or

    Repaint the panel.


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  3. #3
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Signs of Clear Coat Damage from Wet Sanding?

    In this article I talk about repainting...

    Topical Defects vs Sub-Surface Defects - Living life on the edge of the razor blade



    Lots of info here to,

    When to stop buffing - Or - How far should you go to remove swirls and scratches?



    I feel your pain - Bill Clinton

    I feel your paint - Mike Phillips


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    Re: Signs of Clear Coat Damage from Wet Sanding?

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for sharing. I also read a few other posts on this topic where you provided some great feedback.

    Is it likely that this is clear coat damage even if I did everything by hand and limited the number of passes?

    Also, if I were to repair the affected area, would you think that wet sanding (using 3000 or 5000 grit) and re-applying new clear coat would suffice?

    The area of concern is about 2 inches x 0.5 inches, so very small.

  5. #5
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Signs of Clear Coat Damage from Wet Sanding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shimmy22 View Post

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for sharing. I also read a few other posts on this topic where you provided some great feedback.

    Is it likely that this is clear coat damage even if I did everything by hand and limited the number of passes?
    While these things may not seem aggressive,


    Quote Originally Posted by Shimmy22 View Post

    I used a combination of

    2000/3000 grit wet sanding blocks
    meguiar's ultimate compound
    turtlewax rubbing compound
    When working on paint that is thinner than a Post-it Note - it's real easy and real common to abrade through the clear layer of paint and expose the color coat.

    You could take some of the WHITE Meguiar's Ultimate Compound and a white cloth, like a piece of T-shirt, and rub on an area where you think the clearcoat is missing - and if you see the color of the basecoat coming off and onto the cloth - then.... this is a really bad sign.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shimmy22 View Post

    Also, if I were to repair the affected area, would you think that wet sanding (using 3000 or 5000 grit) and re-applying new clear coat would suffice?

    The area of concern is about 2 inches x 0.5 inches, so very small.

    Most people that have some type of background in painting cars are able to do this. You can purchase an aerosol can of automotive clearcoat online or at your local PBE store.


    Most people that don't have any background in automotive painting will tend to turn a Mole Hill into a Mountain.


    Maybe an Autogeek Sticker?


    Autogeek Logo Sticker, Large Autogeek decal


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    Re: Signs of Clear Coat Damage from Wet Sanding?

    A auto body shop or even possibly a dealership should be able to take some paint thickness measurements for ya to give a better idea.
    Or if ya live in Minnesota I could for ya.

    Factory base coat/ clear coat usually measures roughly between 90 - 120 microns thick.
    25 microns = .001"
    The clear coat being 40-65 microns.

    So if everywhere around that damage measures 100 microns and the damaged area drops to around 60 microns that will at least point ya in the right direction.
    Ripping through your mind like a hurricane full of novocaine

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  9. #7
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    Re: Signs of Clear Coat Damage from Wet Sanding?

    This is a perfect example for not trying to chase perfection. Even if you didn't break through the clear, chances are that eventually that area will fail.

  10. Likes PaulMys liked this post
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    Re: Signs of Clear Coat Damage from Wet Sanding?

    Quote Originally Posted by DUBL0WS6 View Post
    This is a perfect example for not trying to chase perfection. Even if you didn't break through the clear, chances are that eventually that area will fail.
    Agreed.

    And Mike P has a TON of articles with him holding a Post-it note between his fingers showing exactly how thin factory Clear Coats are.

    Without proper knowledge, just diving in with some sandpaper and a YT vid will result in disaster every time.
    It is no coincidence that man's best friend cannot talk.

  12. Likes DUBL0WS6, tmdals0213 liked this post
  13. #9
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    Re: Signs of Clear Coat Damage from Wet Sanding?

    Those are really great articles. I am still scared to do it myself because I think that I will ruin it... I want to do this right so I even bought a new sander on Amazon and for now I am just training on some wood before I try it out on the car. I have had that car for a long time and It would not be a great deal even if I ruin something... The sander I got is really cool and I like how light it is. I had no knowledge about sanders until I read an article online. You can also read it and check them out, it will be nice to learn something new I am sure.

  14. #10
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    Re: Signs of Clear Coat Damage from Wet Sanding?

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardSmithe View Post
    Those are really great articles. I am still scared to do it myself because I think that I will ruin it...Those are really great articles. I am still scared to do it myself because I think that I will ruin it...
    Is there an echo in here?
    It is no coincidence that man's best friend cannot talk.

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