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Watch out for Matte Finishes

by Eric Wulf | Nov 14, 2014

Vehicles with matte finishes have been appearing with some increased frequency at professional car washes. While some consumers do prefer the look of this finish, Consumer Reports recently gave this product it's "diva award" due to its cumbersome care requirements:

"If a paint color/finish is more expensive to buy, chances are it’s more expensive to maintain and repair... The diva award in this category goes to the matte finish... Matte is also an expensive finish to doctor if it gets dinged. Even a small repair area might require fixing an entire car panel..." (Full article here.)

Hyundai USA's website contains the following care recommendations for vehicles with matte finishes:

"Matte finishes are different from other automotive paints. Typical gloss paints use a clear-coat finish that reflects light and gives a shiny appearance. A matte finish uses a different coating that defuses light, providing its unique “flat” finish. To enjoy your vehicle's matte appearance for many years to come, please follow these owner care and maintenance tips.

• Do not use wax, detail spray... or any products made for normal paint. Use only products specifically developed for matte finish paint.
• Do not use products that are even mildly abrasive, such as polishes, glazes, or rubbing compounds.
• Do not use mechanical cleaners or polishes.
• Do not use terrycloth, cloth, or paper towels. Do not rub the finish vigorously, as this will burnish the paint finish, causing a permanent shiny spot. Shiny spots can never be removed.
• Do not use commercial car wash facilities or their shine enhancement products. Most car wash brushes, large mechanized ""towels,"" and shine enhancement products can damage matte paint.
• Remove foreign substances such as insect remains, tar, and road debris using a soft applicator and a mild solvent; saturate and soak the area before cleaning- rub lightly.
• Hand-wash with a soft wash mitt and mild cleaning product safe for matte paint.
• Use microfiber cleaning clothes with alcohol-based widow cleaner for basic surface clean-up.
"

Several car washes have reported successfully washing vehicles with matte finishes, but based upon the above you may want to remind owners of these vehicles to review their owner's manual prior to making any car washing decisions or, better yet, select a car that is easier and less expensive to maintain!

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