Matte paint finishes have become all the rage, but as I know all too well, it takes effort to be beautiful. Cupra, which offers a selection of matte paint finishes, has teamed up with automotive cleaner company Autoglym to teach owners how to properly care for their car’s paint finish.
To understand how to care for matte paint, it’s helpful to first understand what makes it dull. If you were to look under a microscope, you would notice that glossy paint finishes are smooth, which helps them reflect light. Matte paint finishes, on the other hand, are rough and absorb that light.
“The key to maintaining the matte finish is to avoid flattening the peaks or filling in the valleys,” said Inderjit Johl, the head of development at Autoglym. “Polishes and other products containing abrasives risk irreversibly flattening the peaks, leaving a gloss-like finish. Hard paste waxes will fill in the valleys, also removing the matte finish. Instead, owners should use a liquid wax which thinly coats the contours of the clear coat surface.”
In order to protect those ridges, Johl recommends rinsing matte cars thoroughly before getting at them with any kind of cloth or mitt. By doing this, you remove dirt, grit, and other abrasives that could scratch the surface of the paint or wear away its ridges.
After that, a wash mitt with some gloss-enhancer-free shampoo is recommended, but a shampoo-applying lance on a pressure washer can also be useful. Tar and bug removers can also be used at this point.
To properly protect the paintwork, a liquid-based wax is the right move. This will thinly coat the peaks and valleys of the paint finish in order to protect them without also filling them in. Spraying it onto the paint when wet, then using a microfiber cloth to spread it evenly across the surface of the vehicle, is the right move here. Afterwards, Autoglym suggests using another cloth to dry and buff the wax.
Autoglym advises against the use of any hard waxes or products containing abrasives such as polishes, compounds, or scratch removers. It recommends getting in touch with your dealer if you find a scratch.
If you do find a small smudge or something, and want to wipe it away quickly, Autoglym says to use its Fast Glass, though it warns that this will wear away the wax finish. The more you spot clean, the more frequently you may want to do a full wash and wax.
“Motorists are often nervous of matte paint finishes due to the notion of it being easy to damage, and whilst this is true, by following a few simple steps when washing the vehicle and by using the right products, it’s easy to prevent this from happening,” said Johl.