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Thread: What type of paint do I have?

          
  1. #1
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    Question What type of paint do I have?

    My black paint is about 16 years old on my 50 year old car. I took a white cloth with acetone and rubbed an area that has not been waxed and nothing came off on the cloth. I also tried a red shop rag and again, nothing. So am I correct in assuming that I don't have enamel or lacquer paint? Was acetone the right solvent to use?

    Now I need to figure out if I have urethane or base coat/clear coat. Do I really need to sand an area to check for base coat/clear coat? I don't trust youtube or the internet but I will trust this forum.

    Thanks.

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    Michael The Guz's Avatar
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    Re: What type of paint do I have?

    One way to test is to use a polish or compound in one area and if you see paint transfer on the applicator then it is not base coat/clear coat and what is referred to as single stage paint. If no paint shows up on the paint then it is safe to assume it is base coat/clear coat.

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    Re: What type of paint do I have?

    I tried meguiar's medium compound inside the door jam and no black paint came off onto the light color cloth. So by default should I assume that I have base coat clear coat. Is there a way to be sure?

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    Michael The Guz's Avatar
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    Re: What type of paint do I have?

    Try it on a small area of the exterior paint.

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    Registered Member Lydia's Avatar
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    Re: What type of paint do I have?

    I second Michael. It doesn't take too much rubbing with a compound, in my experience, before you'll start to see the color show up (especially since it's black). Sanding shouldn't be needed at all.

    Are you trying to find out for a particular reason, or just to know?
    Lydia's Mobile Detailing
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    Re: What type of paint do I have?

    The reason is this car has not seen water in over 10 years and polish and wax was about 3 years ago. Just a bunch of spray wax for cleaning with a calif car duster weekly.

    I have swirls ans scratches and would like to be sure of what cleaners to use. I have Meguiar's cleaner/wax but wonder if that is really any good. I think I would prefer a cleaner then polish then wax system but am unsure. I want to learn about sealers as well. Like are they necessary.

    From reading the forums, it appears that I need to be careful on what compound to use depending on what type of paint is on the car and I better not wet sand if I don't have a clearcoat. Hence, my novice, rookie questions. And yes, I really want to learn about this stuff and not screw up even one time.

    Thanks for the reply.

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    Michael The Guz's Avatar
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    Re: What type of paint do I have?

    A cleaner wax can only do so much. A dedicated compound and/or polish will net one better results. So it really comes down to the test spot to see how the paint responds.

    You have the option of using the ultimate trio (compound, polish and wax). They are paint safe but produce good results. Better results if using a dual action polisher.

    Ultimate Wax is a paint sealant. Essentially a synthetic wax = paint sealant. They offer longer and more durable protection. They may not look as good as a caranuba but ultimate wax is pretty darn close. It is completely up to the user which form of protection to use. Some like a carnauba and like to wax often. Some like the paint sealant route.

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    Cool Re: What type of paint do I have?

    Hi, Shakadula, welcome aboard.

    The first thing you need to do is raise your right hand and repeat after me, "I, Shakadula, solemnly swear that I will never, EVER touch my paint with a red shop rag ever again."

    Seriously, they're abrasive as heck. That's why they're good for wiping grease off you hands and wrenches. But they'll destroy your paint. Microfiber is a detailer's best friend.

    Lydia and Guz have already given sound advice. So I'll just touch on a couple things.

    The solvent test can work for lacquers but not enamels.

    Your paint is enamel. All non-lacquer automotive finishes are enamels, whether single stage or base/clear. Older enamels were generally solvent borne acrylics. Newer ones are almost exclusively catalyzed polyurethanes. As your paint was shot 16 years ago, it's most likely a catalyzed urethane. Solvent borne acrylics were still available back then, in some areas (not here in California), but most painters had switched over by then.

    At this point it's not particularly important which you have. What's important is how it responds, how workable it is. You'll find that by doing your test spots.

    Both single stage and base/clear finishes are commonly sanded and buffed after initial shooting, before final delivery to the customer. Like Lydia said, you should not need to sand. That's really, really, really bad, but sadly all too common, internet advice. Luckily, you dodged that bullet.

    Meg's Cleaner/Wax is a good product, but very mild. Unless your paint is very soft, it's not likely to remove scratches and swirls.

    As a car that's 50 years old and never gets washed, I'm guessing it's a weekend toy and mostly garaged? If that's the case, the durability of sealants isn't so much of an issue as it would be for a daily driver that sits outside all the time.

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    Re: What type of paint do I have?

    Geezzz. I just spent so much time responding to my thread only to be told i needed to refresh the page even though i was still logged in with all permissions. I refreshed and lost my post. Frustrating. Later.

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    Product & Training Specialist |MOL Admin Nick Winn's Avatar
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    Re: What type of paint do I have?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakadula View Post
    Geezzz. I just spent so much time responding to my thread only to be told i needed to refresh the page even though i was still logged in with all permissions. I refreshed and lost my post. Frustrating. Later.
    We are sorry to hear about the trouble. Forum functionality definitely can be frustrating for everyone at times. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
    Nick Winn
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