Sunscreen saves your skin but wrecks your car paintwork

Auto and Marine
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Damaging your paint is still not an excuse not to slap on the sunscreen.

Slopping on sunscreen lotion can save your skin from getting burned, but it can also wreck that shiny paint job on your car.

Car dealers and panel beaters regularly see vehicles where sunscreen has eaten into the clear top coat, resulting in impossible-to-remove hand prints or smudges, and sometimes the only remedy is a respray.

Business manager at Christchurch's Blackwells Mazda Andy Hallaway​ said the most extreme case of sunblock damage he had seen was on a car belonging to a family who had gone camping and their kids repeatedly brushed up against the vehicle and slid off the bonnet.

Between $2000 and $3000 was deducted off the trade-in price to cover remedial work. "I don't think there was a panel other than the roof that wasn't affected."

Turners car auctions national marketing manager Sean Wiggans​ said sunblock-damaged paintwork was a real problem, particularly for rental car companies, and sometimes the only solution was to get the panel resprayed or replaced.

Some smudges caused by sunblock are fine, but some left on cars can't be fixed with anything less than a new paint job.

The impact on resale depended on the overall value and condition of the vehicle.

"Older cars with low value anyway probably wouldn't suffer as there are plenty of dings, stone chips etc," said Wiggans.

"But on cars $5000 and up it is a real concern for people trying to sell, and it's a factor for our team that buy cars from the public as there is no getting around the cost to fix."

The hand mark on this vehicle is an example of what can happen if you touch your car after applying sunscreen.

Collision Repair Association general manager Neil Pritchard said it appeared that sunblock attacked the clear finishing coat, and the longer it was left, the harder it was to remove.

"Some of our members have had success with a good cut and polish, it looks fine, then after a week or two it starts to show through again … I also see some innovative ideas on YouTube including the use of an eraser and then orange peel.

"The cost of the fix would depend on how many panels were involved and the paint finish."

Auckland company TF Group sells a US sunscreen remover product which owner John Shands said worked well when used with the Dura-Seal protection coating his company applied to cars.

It also removed sunblock from vehicles without the coating, but it had to be done quickly, and if left for months the marks could reappear, so then a respray was the only way to permanently restore the paintwork.

Shands said he was surprised at how much damage sunscreen lotion did. "It goes straight through a good coat of wax."

Source: stuff.co.nz