Motor Care

Matte Paint Care

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In this video, we’ll review the proper care and cleaning procedures for Kia models that feature a matte paint finish.

A matte finish on a car is the opposite of “glossy” – rather than reflecting the light, it “absorbs” the light, providing a “flat” appearance. As such, it requires special treatment compared to typical gloss paints.
The painting process for matte is very similar to glossy… the difference is in the final clear coat. The matte finish clear coat has countless microscopic “dimples” that prevent light from reflecting, which is why it looks “flat.”
Caring for a car with a matte finish is different from your typical vehicle. Here are some things you cannot do that might negatively affect the finish:
Do not use wax or detail spray…
Do not use vinegar or ammonia-based cleaners…
Do not use polish, glazes or rubbing compounds – or anything that is mildly abrasive…
Do not wipe the finish with dry terrycloth, cloth, or paper towels…
Do not rub the finish as that can create a shiny spot and shiny spots cannot be removed…
Do not take your Kia to a commercial car wash, as most car washes use brushes and towels that can damage the matte paint.
Here is the proper way to care for a matte finish, starting with how to spot clean it:
Only use products specifically developed for matte finish paint like alcohol-based window cleaner or matte paint cleaner…
or a solution of fifty percent alcohol and fifty percent deionized water.
You can also use tar remover or road debris solvent, if needed. And use a soft microfiber cloth that’s suitable for matte paint.
And always test products in an inconspicuous area before using them in a highly visible area.
Before using cleaning products, try spraying the area to see if that removes the dirt or debris.
If tar, tree sap, road debris or bugs remain on the finish, then apply the cleaner to the microfiber cloth – never use a dry cloth on the finish…
Then saturate and soak the area of the vehicle with the cleaning solution, allowing it to soften.
Then, if you have to, lightly wipe the surface in a forward and backward motion – make sure to avoid circular motions as they can leave swirl marks in the finish.
Rinse with water so the cleaning product does not stay on the finish… repeat, if necessary.
Then dry with a damp microfiber cloth or chamois.
To wash a car with a matte finish:
Only use products specially designed for matte finish paint, including car wash soap…
A soft car wash mitt… wash pad… or microfiber sponge…
Two buckets with dirt separators – also known as grit guards – at the bottom…
And a microfiber cloth or chamois for drying.
If you have access to a pressure washer with nozzle pressure under 2500 psi, use a fan tip and hold it at least ten inches away from the paint – this is the best way to remove heavy soiling before washing your vehicle.
Also, if you plan on washing the wheels, wash them before washing the car, using a product developed specifically for coated alloy wheels.
Do not use the same wash mitt that you used to clean the wheels on the matte finish…
And take care not to get any of the wheel cleaner on the matte finish.
To wash the vehicle, if you do not have a pressure washer, pre-rinse with a hose.
Then prepare one bucket with matte paint car wash solution and water…
Fill the second bucket with clean water, which will be used for rinsing the wash mitt.
Soak the wash mitt in the wash solution… then wash the vehicle lightly, working in small sections from the bottom to the top.
When you finish a section, rinse the area before moving to the next section and rinse the wash mitt in the clean water.
Also, keep the clean sections wet while washing the rest of the vehicle to prevent water spots.
Once finished washing, use a clean damp chamois or microfiber towel to dry the vehicle before it air dries.
That’s it… you’re done.


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