October 2, 2002

Leading paint manufacturer offers tips on helping auto paint last longer

Southfield, Michigan – One of the world’s leading chemical companies, BASF, is offering tips to keep your vehicle’s paint finish looking like new.

  • “Wash it, wash it, wash it” will keeping paint looking new longer.
  • Do not wipe a dirty or dusty car with a dry rag, and don’t wash the car with a stiff bristle brush. Hand washing is best. Brushless car washes are good too. Even traditional car washes with brushes are preferable to not washing.
  • No matter which method you choose, wipe off all water spots with a soft cloth or chamois after washing your car.
  • Do not park under trees in order to avoid tree sap and bird droppings.
  • Avoid driving on gravel roads whenever possible. Also be careful about following other cars or trucks too closely. It’s not only a safety hazard, but small stones could chip your paint.
  • Avoid scraping ice or snow from painted surfaces; remove snow with a soft brush designed for that purpose.
  • Immediately wipe off spills of antifreeze, washer fluid or gasoline.

At its Coatings Research Centre in Michigan, BASF recreates extreme conditions in order to test, and ultimately improve, how a vehicle’s paint withstands the tests of time. Paint panels endure endless baths of corrosives, temperature fluctuations ranging from 22 degrees below zero to 194 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barrage of pebble-like missiles to test chip resistance.

“We use the laboratory to recreate and to accelerate the extreme conditions that vehicles can experience. We can simulate several years of adverse environmental conditions in a matter of weeks. By doing this, we develop improvements more quickly,” said Joseph P. Gdowski, Global Technical Director, Coatings, BASF Corporation.

Gdowski noted that undercoatings, paints and clearcoats all have been dramatically enhanced in recent years. These enhancements have very nearly made rust a thing of the past. But keeping your car’s finish looking like it just pulled off the lot can still be helped by basic maintenance.

The clearcoats that constitute the top coat of a car’s finish are somewhat like the plastic lenses in glasses. While clearcoats have been significantly enhanced over the years, they can still be scratched and the polymer film that makes up the clearcoat can be damaged by bird droppings, tree sap and acid rain, for example.

BASF is a leading chemical company whose products include coatings for new cars and for body shops. BASF had 2001 sales of U.S.$29 billion and employs more than 90,000 people worldwide.

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