Find a Location

Towing Hotline: 613.728.1908

Why Is My Car Paint Fading & How To Fix It?

Why Is My Car Paint Fading & How To Fix It?

Why Is My Car Paint Fading & How To Fix It?

You care about your car and go to great lengths to keep it in mint condition, but lately, you’ve noticed that the car paint is fading and dulling. Why, why, why is this happening?!? And is there any solution?

The answer is that car paint fades for several environmental reasons, which we’ll go into below. Fortunately, there are practical solutions that can help restore your “baby’s” good looks. Read on to find out how.

Reasons Why Car Paint Fades

There could be two reasons why your car paint is fading. First, the paint pigment might be breaking down. Pigment (tiny mineral or synthetic particles in the base coat) gives car paint its colour. Second, the clear coat, which is the finish on top of the base coat, may be damaged.

Here’s what is likely behind these problems:

  • Road Salt. Road salt is an unfortunate necessity on snowy, icy Ottawa streets. And when you drive in winter, some salt inevitably ends up on your car. Because of its corrosive properties, that road salt will eat away at your paint job.
  • UV Rays. Ultraviolet rays from the sun are a type of radiation. Exposure will gradually oxidize car paint molecules and cause them to lose reflectivity. As they reflect less light, their shine will decrease and the paint will dull.
  • Bird Droppings. Birds pee and poop at the same time, so their droppings have a high content of uric acid from their urine. When bird droppings are not cleaned up quickly, this acid is like kryptonite for your car’s paint job.
  • Harmful Chemicals. A wide array of chemicals can adversely affect paint. Harsh detergents or spills of brake fluid, gasoline, and coffee (heavily sugared is the worst!) are some prime examples.
  • Scratches. Microscopic scratches may be dulling your vehicle paint. These are often the result of over-aggressive DIY hand washing or old-school car washes that utilize rough nylon brushes. Ouch!
  • Rust. Rust is not technically a cause of fading car paint. However, it is worth mentioning here because the same things that dull paint — exposure to UV radiation, scratching, or destructive substances — can eventually lead to a rusty car if they’re not remedied.

How To Protect & Prevent Your Car Paint From Fading

Have Your Car Detailed Regularly

Car detailing is about much more than making your vehicle look fantastic. Expert professional washing and clay bar treatment are part of the high-quality car detailing processes we offer at Bemac. These will remove contaminants, like dead bugs or salt residue, which would otherwise contribute to fading car paint. The next step in the detailing — professional waxing — will fill in minuscule imperfections, restore moisture, and add a layer of car paint protection

FUN FACT: Top-of-the-line waxes, such as we use at Bemac, contain anti-UV ingredients.

Park In Shade

Keep your car out of the summer sun to protect your paint as well as ultraviolet rays as much as possible. Whenever you can, park defensively, in the shade of a tree or tall building — or better yet, inside a garage. TIP: Watch out for drips from commercial parking garage roofs. These tend to contain a high level of lime, which is harmful to paint.

Purchase A Car Cover

Car covers will offer protection even when you can’t find a parking spot in the shade. (They also prevent mess and potential damage from bird poop, tree sap, water spots, grit, and dirt.) Car covers are made of multiple layers of fabric; some types include a reflective coating to bounce back UV rays. It’s easy to stash a car cover in your trunk and have it handy wherever your travels may take you. 

GOOD TO KNOW: covering your car on a sunny day will keep the interior cool while you’re parked. Besides shielding the seats and dashboard, it’ll help you feel a lot more comfortable once you get back in the car.

How To Fix Faded Car Paint

Don’t despair if your car’s paint has faded. There are good, practical solutions to refresh a dulled paint job.

Buff Out

“Buffing” is defined as a process of mechanically polishing a car, using a tool with rotating pads, together with a special polishing compound. The buffing tool briefly heats your vehicle’s clear coat to the point where it becomes viscous. Buffing fills in tiny scratches, minimizes surface blemishes, restores paint, and makes your car shine again like it used to.


Sometimes an automobile may have faded past the point when buffing is a workable solution. In that case, repainting is usually the best option. A first-rate paint job does not come cheap, but you may consider repainting a worthwhile investment for your valuable or vintage car. If you’re going to repaint your car, you might want to consider Paint Protection Film. Learn whether Paint Protection Film is worth it for you.

Don’t Do It Yourself

Whether you choose to buff or to repaint, don’t try to DIY. These are delicate processes, and amateur mistakes, like swirling, will ruin the effect. Spend the money for professional work at a reputable Ottawa body shop, like Bemac– your car is worth it.

But don’t just take our word for it. Read this rave review of how an Ottawa resident’s faded car was successfully restored — by Bemac!

“I recently took my ‘baby’ into Turpin-Capital to get wet-sanded and a few paint touch-ups along the way. I drive a 2004 Black Thunderbird, and you can imagine the scratches I’ve incurred during its 13-year lifespan. I have to tell you, my car looks like it was just purchased… that’s how black and shiny the car looks.

WOW!! I’ve had more compliments this past weekend driving around at what a beautiful car I’m driving. No swirl marks WHATSOEVER!! 

Congratulations to Danny and his team at Turpin-Capital Collision. Absolutely…highly recommend their services. Thanks guys for bringing my baby back to life!!”

One Happy Camper

Dave from Ottawa