why did people use to "Wax " a vehicle after painting it vs. putting "clear coat" on it? which is better and how depends?

and can explain about the process off letting paint "Cure" before waxing? is the same for clear coat or not? why?

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  • 4 months ago
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    Early car paints were oil based and relied on evaporation of the volatile carrier fluids to "cure" paint. Obviously, you don't want to wax over escaping gases because they return with condensation acting as a solvent again and ruining the paint. Next system for painting cars used polyester bases for carrying the color, so you had a 2 part mix of base and hardener that catalyses over a period of time; better than many single stage paints but there were still volatile off-gassing to a limited degree. These early paint systems do best with wax over them after they cure to protect the paint surfaces,smooth out small blemishes and provide for the "shine" and depth if you apply multiple coats. Some of these paints took weeks to be "cured" so no rush to wax them. One advantage to the older systems is you can use rubbing compound to refresh oxidized paint if you know what you're doing.

    Clear Coat is used as a multi-coat system with a base coat providing the color and the clear providing the "gloss" look and depth. Base coat normally goes on as a matte finish and the clear fills the voids plus provide the build coats so you can get depth. Base/Clear systems are traditionally epoxy mixes of 50/50 color carrier/catalyst and provides for a better molecular bonding process, you can thin the mix as needed to spray. Like Poly paints the epoxies don't rely on evaporation to cure, but there is still some off-gassing. There are now water-borne paints that act like epoxies but I've not used any.

    With Base/Clear systems you can apply multiple coats of the clear to make the surface look "deeper" or sometimes you can taper mix color into the clear coat layers so the first clear coat layer is 50% color, next is 25%, then continue with several clear only. You still want to wax or protect the actual paint system components once fully cured with a wax or acceptable protector over the clear coat to prevent direct contact with bad stuff and mitigate some UV damage. With epoxies they normally want you to wait a couple days, but 24 hours at least.

    So, there is a reason to not wax fresh paints, but there is a good reason to use a wax or similar product to protect the finishes. In aircraft work we don't call it "paint" but organic coatings which are different than alodine or anodizing metals, mostly aluminum.

    • falconry2
      Lv 7
      4 months agoReport

      Basically, yeah, or try to not scratch up the paint too much. I know, driving/using a vehicle can cause some scratches,at a certain point you just say " I'll touch THOSE ones up in a few months"...

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