clear coat

What Is A Clear Coat On A Car?

You purchased a car from a car dealership store because of its flashy appearance, but over time you realize the paint has started to fade. What could be the reason your once glossy car starts to look dull?

The short answer is poor maintenance of the clear coat. You must properly care for your clear coat to maintain the car’s glossy look. And while this is an easy task, it can be challenging to achieve desired results if you’re clueless about clear coats.

This article will discuss what a clear coat is, its purpose on a car, and how you can care for it. 

What is a clear coat?

Over the years, car manufacturers have improved the look and glossiness of their cars to enhance customer satisfaction. This has been made possible by applying a third transparent layer of paint, known as a clear coat, on top of the usual layers, base, and primer. 

The three different layers of a car paint

There are three different layers of car paint, each serving its function. The layers include; 

1 – The primer

Primer is the first layer of paint on your car that protects the panels from rusting. Although the quality of panels has advanced, it used to be worse because of uneven panel surfaces, which made the application of car paints difficult. The introduction of primer made the car panel even for easy application of the car paint. 

2 – The base color coat

The base color coat is what gives your car panel its final color. While this layer of car paint protects your car panel from rusting, it’s easily affected by dirt and UV light, making it fade.

3 – The clear coat

Clear coats protect your car paint from oxidation and degradation due to UV light. Manufacturers apply the coating as the last and top coating resulting in a glass-like effect, giving the car a glossy look. It also ensures the vehicle is easy to clean and removes any contaminants that may damage the car’s paint. 

Importance of the Clear Coat 

If you’re a car enthusiast, the look of your vehicle likely represents your personality. You want a beautiful, glossy car portraying an upbeat personality. You must take care of your coating to keep your car shiny for years. 

Some of the benefits of having your clear coat include the following; 

  • Glossy look– We’re all drawn to the attention of a car because of its polished look. With a well-maintained coating, we can maintain the mirror-like flashiness that attracted us at the showroom. A well-maintained clear coat prevents the fading of your car, leaving it looking new.
  • Protective layer– Clear coats provide extra protection to your car. They protect our car paint from UV light, which causes dull or faded car paint. This coating contains UV blockers that reflect UV light resulting in a mirror-like effect, thus improving the car’s glossiness. Additionally, these coating act as shields on your car by reducing external damage caused by accidents. If your car is scratched, the automobile paint won’t be affected since your coating will reduce the impact of the scratch on its surface. 
  • Avoids crazing– Crazing is when car paint starts to peel off or crack. When your car gets to this point, the next best thing to do is to repaint it. Repainting a vehicle is costly compared to maintaining the health of your coating.

How to care for your clear coat on cars

Since coatings are indispensable to cars, we should care for them to avoid damaging car paint or rusting the car panels. The following steps are necessary to protect clear coat on vehicles and make it last as long as possible; 

1- Park your car under a shade.

UV light damages the coating, especially when the car is exposed to the sun for long hours. Extended exposure forms cracks and pores on the coating, where dirt and grime settle and compromise the clear coat. 

Dirt and grime chip away the coating resulting in uneven fading of your car paint. We recommend parking your car under shade or in a garage to avoid these adverse effects of UV light.

2 – Wash your car regularly.

You should wash your car regularly to clear off contaminants that have settled on the clear coat, such as dirt, grime, and bird droppings.

Dirt and grime will chip away your clear coat and leave the car paint exposed to UV light resulting in faded car paint. On the other hand, bird droppings are acidic. Therefore they eat away at your clear coat and result in faded car paint.

By washing your vehicle regularly, you ensure that no contaminants may damage the clear coat and car paint. 

3 – Use a trusted car-wash

Not every car wash offers quality washes for your car. Some of them will harm your clear coat by using stiff brushes which tear it, and others may use sub-standard washing techniques resulting in streaks on the surface of your clear coat. 

For best results, wash your car using the two-bucket method or visit a top-rated car wash you trust. If you need a hand, we can help! At Elite Auto, we have several detailing packages to choose from.

4 – Add Ceramic Coating to your vehicle. 

Adding a ceramic coating to your car is one of the best ways to protect your clear coat for years. Ceramic coatings bond to your car’s paint, providing an extra layer of protection. This coating helps protect your vehicle against the sun’s powerful UV rays and acts as a shield. This shield helps keep contaminants off your car, extending the paint’s life. 

Wrapping up

Clear coat maintenance is essential to maintaining the glossiness of your car paint. You should protect the coating because of the benefits it offers, including reducing the need for repainting your car, which is costly. 

At Elite Auto, we can help extend the life of your vehicle’s clear coat. We offer detailing services to keep your car clean and ceramic coating to keep your vehicle protected! Contact us today to find out more! 


The best way to protect your investment!