How to Fix Faded Car Paint

Published by Jeff Torres

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How to Fix Faded Car Paint

How to Fix Faded Car Paint

If you have noticed lately that your car isn’t as shiny anymore as it used to be, it is probably facing the old-color problem. Whether it’s a result of road salt, cheap paint, or simply lack of care, you should take a few steps immediately before you reach the spot where you’ll have to refinish it.

Cars are valuable objects in our lives that need to have proper care, primers, and topcoats, for prevention. Without all those products and regular treatment, the paint fades away due to numerous factors. But don’t worry because we may have the solution for you.

Our article contains several tips and tricks that can teach you how to fix faded car paint. If your vehicle’s paint isn’t beyond repair, you may regain the shiny color again.

How to Fix Faded Car Paint

How to Fix Faded Car Paint

What can cause paint to fade

Once you bring back the old shiny look, you’ll want to keep it safe and prevent the same damage from happening. Therefore, before we begin with the solution, we have to take a look at the problem itself, or as we have called them – color-eating factors.


Obviously, the UV rays from the sunlight are the major factor that causes paint to fade. When the rays penetrate the coat that has a protective role, they heat the metal and let oxygen in. This is when a process called oxidation occurs, which is eating the color.

Paint type

We included both environmental and human factors in this list so that you don’t blame the sun every time your car needs repair. Car owners do numerous things that can affect their vehicles and cause paint to fade.

For starters, they often choose cheaper colors that can’t hold for too much time. Moreover, if the vehicle goes through one paint stage, the color and the clear coat will mix together. This, again, increases the chances of faster fading. Instead, you should apply the clear coat after the base coat to provide bigger UV protection.

Road salt

You can’t avoid road salt. It is used to melt snow and ice on the roads, and it’s really important, especially in winter. However, cars accumulate road salt, leading to faded paint and even rust.

Bird droppings and insects

We’re sorry to inform you that all those times you’ve parked under a tree to protect your car from the sunlight may have cost you damage to your vehicle’s paint. Those bird droppings aren’t pieces of luck, at least not for your car. The droppings are highly acidic. Therefore, they can dissolve the paint if not cleaned timely.

The same goes for insects. Because their body fluids are also acidic, they can cause paint to fade. Of course, they’ll not damage the surface immediately. But, if they stay near for too long, they may cause color fading.

Related: How to Make Dull Paint Shine on Car

Additional factors

There are numerous other things that can cause pain to fade, even though they seem harmless. So, we advise you to keep your car away from coffee, shaving cream, shoe polish, dirty towels, gas, and brake fluid. All these materials may damage the paint or at least make a crack and let the UV light do the dirty work.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that you are familiar with the possible car-paint damages, it’s time to learn how to fix faded car paint.


The first step will, of course, include thoroughly washing the car. You can use washing soap and a sponge for cars. Please keep in mind the weather – if it’s hot, you should do small sections so that the soup doesn’t dry and leave marks.

Spray faded spots with clay lube

Automotive clay lube is a special lube for preparing the use of clay bars. The clay bars are used to remove contaminants from the surface. After spraying the clay lube, you should rub the faded spots gently.


You’ll need a car buffing pad and an electric buffer to do this stage. Make sure that the buffing pad you’ll use is clean, and don’t set it on a surface directly because it will pick up dirt and scratch the car.

Initially, you’ll need around one teaspoon of buffing compound. Of course, you can always add some more during the process. The buffing compound you should use is also known as cutting polish, and it works like fine sandpaper that should remove the imperfections in color.


After buffing, you should clean the car and remove the buffing compound. It will be best if you use a microfiber wrap to remove the remaining compound.

Repeat the buffing process

This stage is optional. You should repeat the buffing process until you’re satisfied with the results. However, experts say that you can repeat it up to three times.


After repeating the buffing process (up to three times), it’s time to polish the paint. You’ll use the same electric buffer, but you’ll change the buffing pad with a polishing wheel. For this stage, you’ll need about one teaspoon of finishing polish


Waxing is the last stage you’ll pass to fix the car’s faded color spots. You should take a clean microfiber cloth and a small amount of car wax (dime-size). Next, you’ll rub the buffed area with the wax to make it shiny. You should clean the wax with another clean microfiber cloth until there isn’t any remaining wax. You can repeat this process up to three times.

Read More: How to Remove Adhesive From Car Paint


Well, this is it. Now you know how to fix faded car paint, and you can take care of your vehicle on your own. However, keep in mind that this simple procedure that we have discussed above can help you if your car isn’t too damaged.

You should also remember that you’ll be able to restore the damage if you have a problem with the clear coat. If the clear coat is damaged and starts to fail, you’ll see white areas on the surface. However, if the damage is bigger, you’ll have to leave the work to the professionals who will make a complete repair.

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