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How to dramatically improve faded paintwork

Find out how to use ValetPRO products to revive faded paintwork. We’ve included a visual example on how well our products work in a 50/50 photograph. If you’re interested in undertaking this task (made easier using ValetPRO products) then this is a must read. Enjoy!

A day before lockdown V1.0, we had the pleasure of receiving a 1988 E28 BMW 525i that was in desperate need of a colour enhancement detail. That desperation, however, had to wait a few months!

We jumped straight at the opportunity of cracking on with this classic BMW upon the easing of our restrictions. At first we wanted to enhance the car as one by preparing, polishing and protecting it – ultimately showing the various steps along the way; however, the more the paintwork absently shone, the more apparent the approach was (from a content perspective) to give the car a 50/50 polish. The difference was going to be night and day!

To start the process, your typical safe wash ( read more on that here ) and chemical decontamination was required. This removed years of bedded grime, allowing us to see the paintwork for what it really was. Years of poor washing techniques and sun bleaching was blatant, and in some areas the paint was far too gone, but this would have been down to poor resprays.

We kicked off with a strip of masking tape down the centre of the car. We picked our side to work on and left the other side untouched. This practically isn’t recommended; you’ll be creating more work for yourself in time, but also in blending once you get around to doing the other side. We did this demonstration so you don’t have to!

Once the paintwork was inspected and taped, we were ready to begin clay barring. This is a form of physical decontamination using clay and a lubricant, both of which we sell specifically for vehicles. This is important since it will reduce the risk of maring on your paintwork. Overall, we opted for our Heavy (Blue) contamination Removal Bar since this is designed for full detailing jobs. Without going into too much detail, we gently worked around the entirety of our workable side. You can read up on Clay Barring techniques here .

Now that the surface is effectively prepared, the next step is to think about polishing. We opted to use a mixture of Microfibre and Foam polishing pads, along with our Advanced Compound polish for a medium cut. This is classed as a ‘correction’ compound rather than a ‘filler’; all this means is the work we do is permanent and will cut into the lacquer, removing those imperfections like swirls, scratches and fades. A filler, on the other hand, temporarily fills in and glosses over these imperfections – more ideal for light, quick & regular work.

Polishing commenced: you can view most of that in our Poetic Documentary linked below! The paint was easy to work with and didn’t take many passes to begin showing its true colour! However, being old and a single stage paint, the polishing pads were having a rough time with colour transfer! Cleaning it regularly was important to help with the task at hand and to prevent the pad from clogging up.

It’s one thing doing all of this work and having it look good in the moment, but it’s another to maintain and add longevity to those panels, whilst also enhancing gloss further. That’s where a wax comes in! We chose Beading Marvellous, our tough and protective Carnauba based wax. For the plastics, we restored and protected them with our trim dressing Black To The Future, then Maximum Shine Tyre Gel for a high gloss finish on the tyres! Once all products had cured, we then buffed the surfaces.

 The true test for our hard work is the direct sunlight – this will outline anything we missed. So, the tape came off and we rolled the car into the carpark where the results could be seen in all their glory.

What does it take to revive your paint? A lot of hard work… but work made easier with our Advanced Compound. Watch our video of this transformation here:

Still have a question? Contact us today!

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