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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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Hi Guys,

Just bought a 2001 STS In White Diamond and im wondering what are the best tips for keeping the paint in good shape? One thing im noticing is that there are certain areas where it almost looks like there are dirty "fingerprints" I am hoping a good detailing will get this out. They are pretty much in a very few spots where people grap to close the doors and such, they do not simply wipe off though, its almost like theyve become part of the paint.

Also, my number one gripe about American cars, even above mechanical gripes, is piss poor paint quality and early oxidation. How is GM with their clearcoat? Unfortunately my poor little guy has to sit outside in the midwest winter since I live in an apartment, but here in southern kansas its not too too bad, plus we have a parking garage I can stick it in when theres a spot open. I have heard good things about the care taken with the special paints like White Diamond, so BS or not I hope its true. I get so worried when I see little spots of anything that looks like clearcoat damage. My old 96 Black Continental went from beautiful to horrible with oxidation in a period of 2 yes TWO years!, I know that Ford seems to pay less attention to detail with their processes and Chrysler is probably the worst, but I dont know much about GM on this. My brother has it now and i feel pretty bad for him.

Also, I have a very busy lifestyle, and when you combine that with freezing temperatures and no garage, it makes meticulous saturday detailing sessions almost impossible. So what I do is get my vehicle detailed on a regular basis, and take it to a favorite touchless car wash of mine on a weekly basis in between details. Just some ideas would be great thanks!
 

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How often are you having it detailed? If you're having the car waxed every 3-6 months, that paint should last a good long time. Whites and white pearls are least susceptible to paint damage of all colors. It has something to do with the chemical makeup of the pigments. White is the "hardest" paint that you can put on a vehicle, with red being the "softest" and thus most susceptible to fading and paint damage.

GM has really come a long way since the late 80's and early 90's as far as the finish goes. It really isn't unreasonable these days to expect for a vehicle to still look good 10-20 years after the initial factory paintjob, assuming that a few easy rules are followed.

1. Mechanical car washes are THE DEVIL! Avoid at all cost!
(note - if you get into a pinch in the dead of winter with snow, sand, and salt building up, completely touchless car washes are admissable.)

2. Birds have nothing better to do than to attempt to destroy the finish on your car. Rinse droppings off ASAP!

3. Wax is your friend! Learn to use it, and keep a good coat of wax on it at all times.

4. Learn to do minor touch up work properly. This can keep a minor stone chip from turning into a bigger problem later down the road.
 

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I have read that silver and red are the most to fade in sunlight.

As for GM paint, it may always be a gamble. I have seen many GM Xcars from the early 1980 that were peeling and oxidized by the late 1980's. I heard that GM had bad primer or something? But then there is my stepdad's 1979 Nova, and I am talking minty! My dad also bought a white diamond car but it is too new to tell what will happen. I am the one who takes care of all my dad's cars, and mine, and to be honest, there shouldn't be oxidation if it is waxed often. It is bad if it has to sit outside, especially in the sun. (car cover?) As for the finger print damage, I had some on my Mercury (white) and I could never get it off from the previous owner. I use wand wash, never the auto washes that scratch if one cares to look afterwards. Always flush underneath, I see many people just washing the paint at the car washes in the winter time. Personally, rust is just neglect, there really is no excuse for it. IMO.
 

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My car is still pretty sharp looking for having 35 year old paint that sat out in the elements for most of it's life. Bird crap is a problem though, I can tell where a bird left it's mark and it was never washed off.
 

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If the bird eats those red berries, particularly this time of the year, it can leave a permanent stain on white paint if not taken care of soon.

Try a claybar on those fingerprints and smudges. If you keep a tangible coat of wax on it, you should be fine, even if left outside.

The high-pressure hoses at a touchless car wash can cut through a coat of wax. Keep it on low pressure, and don't leave the soap on too long. If you have a good coat of wax on before, the dirt won't be as likely to stick.
 

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Elvis said:
If the bird eats those red berries, particularly this time of the year, it can leave a permanent stain on white paint if not taken care of soon.

Try a claybar on those fingerprints and smudges. If you keep a tangible coat of wax on it, you should be fine, even if left outside.

The high-pressure hoses at a touchless car wash can cut through a coat of wax. Keep it on low pressure, and don't leave the soap on too long. If you have a good coat of wax on before, the dirt won't be as likely to stick.
Yeah, the trick with the wand is to never hold the nozzle too close. I never bothered to use the spray wax at the wand place, then you just hose it off. I say if you don't sweat, then it's not a good coat of wax. :annoyed: :coffee:
 

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All of the big 3 manufacturers had problems with paint adhesion in the middle 80's to early 90's. It is just that, an adhesion problem between the paint and the primer. What happened was the paint application tools advanced faster than the paint itself did. CARB managed to harangue the Fed. gov. into mandating that all commercial painting facilities use High Volume, Low Pressure paint equipment (HVLP). Well, the manufacturers did, but did not change the product that was being sprayed through them. The primer or "e-coat" is actually a dip, and the paint being applied with this new process wouldn't "bite" properly and bond to the base. I think most if not all of the American car companies issued a silent recall about the paint problems. If you were on your toes and paid attention to what was happening, a lot of people got their entire car re-painted on the factory buck.

The manufacturers finally started figuring out how much money they were wasting by paying to have vehicles painted twice that they got the whole adhesion problem mostly taken care of. Occasionally you will have a problem, but those are fewer and farther between now.
 

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No matter what wax product you use if you clay your car at least once a year, and keep a good coat of wax on your car, 6-8 times a year if you use a carnauba wax and 2-4 times a year if you use a synthetic wax product, this is if you car sits outside all year long, this will not let any oxidation build up on your cars paint.
 
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that's the best advice on here. CLAY BAR. all the big detailers use them, and if you don't, every time you wax you seal another layer of microscopic dust in the paint. makes more of a difference than you could imagine. i do mine twice a year and wax her with car.. carnow... carnew... the non synthetic wax about 5-6 times. she sits out all year long ( i know... ) and looks like the day i bought her.

one question for anyone readin, anyone else had problems with the plastic under the headlights on 94 eldos losin their paint?
 

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GM is not the only brand with paint problems. My 1991 Benz 420SEL, with 247k miles looks like new everywhere you look, passenger compartment, engine compartment, trunk, etc...just don't look at the paint.

The clearcoat on its beautiful midnight blue color is lifting at various places, trunk lid, hood, roof, etc. My 1984 Benz 300SD also had the same problem. Benzes from the 80's and early 90's had problem with the clearcoat. The problem is made worse in Southern California, we may not have snow and salt, but we have killer smog-ozone and the bright sunshine is equally murderous on a car's paint job.
 
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