Can You Wax Over Peeling Clear Coat? Will It Save the Finish?

Waxing paint is nearly always a good idea. Wax may hide some imperfections, make the paint look better, and also protect the paint. That’s why car owners who love their vehicles do waxing pretty often. Well, you can argue with the benefits of waxing especially if you have experience in trying to save the peeling surface. Let’s discuss it!

Today, we’ll tell you if it is a good idea to wax over the peeling clear coat and if it is going to restore and save the paint. Also, we’ll look at other ways to save the finish. It’s not only about cars, of course. All tips and tricks you’ll find here are applicable to any painted surfaces that have a clear coat over a base coat of paint. And pretty much to any painted surface in general.

Here’s what we are going to discuss:

  1. What will waxing do to paint? And why do we love waxing our projects?
  2. Why can clear coat peel and how can you prevent or stop this?
  3. Can you wax over the peeling clear coat and will it do anything good?
  4. What to do with peeling clear coat on your project?

Let’s get started!

Waxing – is it at all a good idea?

You will be surprised, but no, waxing is not always a good idea for paint. First of all, some types of paint are not made to be waxed after they are applied to the surface. They may lose their color or become uneven when you wax them. Also, you should know that waxing is not a very simple process and not all people can do it correctly.

Once done with mistakes, waxing can also create problems for the finish. And this is probably the most important thing because we’ve seen dozens of vehicles and also other projects that were damaged by bad waxing techniques. It’s too bad, so please consider this the next time you’ll have this wish to wax something.

Here are the most common issues:

  • bad choice of wax and other products for waxing and buffing may be the reason for problems with the finish;
  • also, inappropriate wax for a certain type of paint is a popular issue that can basically destroy your paint job;
  • one more thing is a bad instrument – it can scratch the surface and lead to dozens of minor and major scratches that will grow over time;
  • another issue is dirty surface – dust and other particles may easily scratch paint once you wax it or do anything else with it;
  • when the wax is applied incorrectly, you will want to clean it off the surface and many people damage their paint that way.

OK, so you should know how to wax and what to use for waxing to get a good result. And we haven’t even started talking about projects with a peeling clear coat. They will require much more attention than normal surfaces. You may guess that something is wrong with the finish once it’s peeling off.

Well, we shouldn’t say that waxing is bad. It won’t be true – this is a good thing if done properly. But if you just buy a can of random wax in the supermarket and then apply it to your project without checking if they are at all compatible, you will most likely get problems instead of anything good.

The same will happen if you buy the cheapest wax that sells with discounts in stores. Another thing is the tool and the method you use for applying wax. The best is the method without any direct contact with the surface. Otherwise, your risks go up unless you are a very experienced specialist.

Peeling clear coat – what’s wrong?

The clear coat is the second important layer of 2K paint. It comes without color and is actually a type of transparent lacquer that is sprayed onto the curing base coat. It is used for two primary tasks:

  • to protect the base coat from damage;
  • to enhance the look of the project.

Most automotive paints are 2K. Now, the majority of professional paints employ base coats and clear coats. Even if you are painting a cabinet or a tabletop, you will likely use paints with clear coats for the best results. But clear coats are very tricky and can go bad if applied incorrectly.

Here are some of the reasons for this problem:

  1. Incorrect application. The most obvious and common reason for your clear coat peeling is improper use of materials. For example, you (or someone else) may have sprayed a clear coat over a fully cured base coat.
  2. Poor quality. Materials for painting come in a very wide price range. It means you can choose a product for your budget. But what happens when you buy the cheapest option is peeling off after some time.
  3. Long exposure to UV rays. Sun rays or another source of UV rays may have damaged your clear coat. This is a protective layer but once UV rays penetrate the bond between the clear coat and base coat, the cleat coat will peel.
  4. Temperature range issues. Every type of paint has its own range of comfortable temperatures. Once you expose the project to a temperature that is out of this range, you will start the process of peeling.
  5. Physical damage. You can have damaged the clear coat with some instrument or just accidentally rubbing it over something harsh. After that, the affected clear coat may start just peeling off.

These are only the most common and well-known reasons why the clear coat may peel. But the problems may be much more unpredictable. Still, the most important issue is incorrect application. If you don’t follow the rules of clear coat application, you will probably see the first issues within 1-2 months.

Waxing over the affected clear coat to save it – a good idea?

No, it’s actually a bad idea. You can use waxing to make the affected area less noticeable. But it’s unlikely that you will succeed in recovering the clear coat. Only reapplying paint and repairing the area will solve your problem completely. We don’t mean you have to repaint the whole project, there are ways to repair the problematic spot.

So, waxing will only slightly improve the look of your project when the clear coat already started peeling off. It won’t save the surface from peeling and won’t compensate for the damage.

Here’s what will happen:

  • you will hide the problem and make it less visible for some time;
  • the waxing process may also damage the base coat and make you repaint the whole project;
  • waxing will slightly protect the base coat from more damage if the clear coat is not there anymore;
  • bad waxing will make the surface look even worse showing the problem more extensively.

Unfortunately, not all types of waxing will do something good in this situation. You should also know that waxing is only a very short-period solution for the problem. Even if you do everything right, the duration of the wax protective layer is not very long.

If you still need to hide the problem for a couple of days, you should use spray wax that doesn’t need any contact with the surface. If you polish the surface with some buffing instruments or even with a rag, you can damage the base coat and be in big trouble.

What can you do with peeling clear coat?

That’s not a simple question, so we’ll only give you the overview. We hope a full article on this topic will soon be published on our blog.

So, the clear coat started peeling and you know that it’s time to do something. Waxing will only mask the problem for some time, some other solutions are needed. We have the answer to how to repair the spot without damaging the base coat of paint.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • clean the surface so that you don’t damage paint when working with it;
  • take 800-grit sandpaper and lightly wet-sand the spot to get rid of all affected clear coat;
  • turn to 1200-grit sandpaper to wet-sand the area, don’t push on the sandpaper too heavily;
  • wash the area and let it dry;
  • apply 2 to 3 coats of clear coat over the affected area;
  • try not applying clear coat over clear coat where it is OK and not damaged;
  • sand before the last coat of clear coat with 2000-grit sandpaper;
  • buff the final coat using buffing equipment, not manual techniques;
  • clean the surface with water and soap.

This is the standard procedure for bringing your paint job back to life. Of course, you may use other techniques for repairing the clear coat that already started peeling off. Actually, we would recommend sanding off all the clear coat from the part and spraying on another clear coat to avoid the problem in the future.

Final words

Now you know what to do if your clear coat peels off. Also, you know well that waxing will not save you from using some professional ways to deal with the clear coat. It will only help you mask out the problem for some time. Also, waxing can be dangerous because your base coat is exposed to all kinds of damage and may easily be scratched.