If you ever need or desire to go an auto body shop the information here, I believe, is essential reading. The first topic I want to address is my motivation for writing this article. You decided to have your car repainted or you were in an accident. After you pick up your car you want to apply a wax, sealant, or coating after getting your car repainted. You have to wait! The carrier solvents in the fresh paint need time to outgas. If you put apply something to your paint that impedes this process your paint will be damaged. This is one of the causes of solvent popping, which are tiny pinholes in your paint from trapped solvents. In some more severe cases, the paint may flake off.
Many reading this may wonder, “how long should I wait and also ask who would know this information?” No one can reliably answer this question better than the shop managers. Your friends, myself, another detailer, or another body shop cannot give you a more reliable answer than the people directly involved in the care of your vehicle. I cannot emphasize that enough.
What has become closer to the norm is 30 days, were in the distant past 90 days was the norm. I have been told from the same shop two weeks on multiple occasions and in one instance 30 days before I can put any kind of protection on my car. I had a close friend inform me another shop instructed him to wait 90 days.
I had the privilege of interviewing Mike Tatreau about this topic. Mike has successfully managed numerous auto body shops in addition to being a well-respected auto detailer. Mike mentioned a myriad of factors can affect the outgassing time, including the amount of thickening and anti-thickening agents (carrier solvents). Mike mentioned that there are times he has quoted 3 to 6 months, often due to thicker paint (with more solvents).
Another key point I want to address is finding a reputable auto body shop. Mike pointed out key things to look for:
- Good reviews
- Turnaround time
- Shop Manager’s demeanor
- Be wary of company that claims to have your car repainted in around a day. That would be major red flag.
I remember one of the times I had a couple of panels of my car repainted. I had dropped my car off on a Monday and ultimately picked it up on a Friday. Two other times I can remember the turnaround time was in the area of 4 to 6 business days. Good paint jobs take time to perform!
Hopefully some of these small, yet helpful, tips help you locate the body shop for you and/or avoid issues when protecting after a repaint!