Wax (The need for clearcoat)

My car at the moment might be charitably described as worn.  I’m afraid that I habitually use slightly more robust language to describe it, which is unfair to a vehicle that has served stalwartly.  The driveline is solid, the tachometer works, and the car no longer leaks gasoline.  One of the low points, however, is the body.  It has considerable non-structural rust, and the paint has long resigned itself to the depradations of UV-induced breakdown.


The result of running a wet finger down the metal.

As such, I cannot put the car through any sort of automatic wash, lest I be left with a primered car with a light dusting of the original color.  Further, car wax takes on a much greater importance when it is the only thing between the old paint and the sun, rain, dirt, snow, salt, magnesium chloride, errant paintballs, local yahoos, and tar-footed people walking on the hood (really!), all of which the car has seen in the last 6 years or so.

I have dealt with a goodly number of automotive problems, and for sheer commonplace bang-for-the-buck irritation, I nominate hand-waxing a car as the champion.  Certainly, there are more expensive, painful repairs to do, and there are rarer, cheaper problems that cause one to remove an equal amount of tooth enamel (that one bolt that snaps, losing a carb linkage nut into the engine head, etc.), but for routine annoyance, waxing the car is up there on my list at the top.  I dislike losing an evening to the process, but the state of my car’s exterior demands it once in a while.  This is why clearcoat finishes are so popular; you can theoretically ignore waxing the car for a long time before the actual colored paint starts to degrade, though you aren’t supposed to do this.


Yes, that's primer showing under the yellow.

It does look better now; see contrast in the above photo, but better is a relative adjective.  Friends have pointed out that I should probably get the body fixed up, and as an inducement have mentioned that I (or the car) am likely to get more distaff attention.  My argument to this is that I hope to get attention from those who can see though the rust damage and note that the suspension has new, heavy-duty components.  This counter, while having the virtue of humor, does not seem to carry the day.  Rolled eyes generally indicate the end of the conversation.

As if to drive the point home, I saw two restored Chevys with beautiful finishes on the way home from the car wash.  My mediocre wax job and veteran paint stood in sharp contrast.  But my car probably sees many more miles that theirs, appearance is vanity in the end, the job is done, what paint remains is safe for a while, and I can go to sleep knowing I don’t have to do it again for … at least 6 months or so.

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