Black Car Paint Maintenance, Shine, Scratches

I try to keep my black car clean. I wash using touch less car wash and follow up with a detail spray. However, I bought the car used, and there were scratches (fine) and swirls in places. I can see them mainly in direct sunlight. I am wondering what I might use on the car to keep the paint in good shape, keep a brilliant shine, and perhaps reduce the look of the scratches and swirls? Thanks for your suggestions.

You are on the right track. I am a bit suspicious of the touch-less car washes because I believe they have to use stronger soap to make it work. I wash by hand myself. There are websites that would tell you how to do it-the two bucket method with a grid at the bottom of the buckets. I just use one bucket and rinse my sponge. I should say I have a piano black Mazda bought used that also has some marks. It is a nightmare to keep clean.

You can try clay bar and then a cleaner wax, also go to the auto store and pick one of those Swirl mark removing waxes. The problem is you might make things worse if you are not careful. Sometimes a visit to a car detailing shop is worth it. In two cases they told me nothing could be done-other than repainting the car. I got used to the defects after a while.

I’ll second gallant’s concerns about touchless car washes. However, I realize that no everyone has access to their own garden hose. apartment dwellers are subject to what they have available. When I was younger and didn’t have a spout available, I preferred the “do it yourself” hand held wash places. I still use them in the winter.

I think the biggest secret is KEEPING it clean, combined with maintaining a good coat of a name wax, like MaGuire’s. Wax it on a schedule. If you wait until the water no longer beads up, you’ve gone too long and the damage has begun.

And realize that it’s only a car. Unless, of course, your daily driver is a Stutz Bearcat… and if it is, you’re nuts! {:slight_smile:

The biggest enemy is the sunlight. It does wonders for your finish just keeping it in the shade, regardless of the color. I am partial to grays. Silver is popular because it shows little. A golf buddy has a black car. I live on a dirt road, he doesn’t. I wash my cars once every two to three months…if that. He washes his car weekly. Yet, when he pulls in next to me at the course, my car always looks cleaner. Black cars are the best looking when absolute clean, and the worse, just about any other time. You have my understanding…

Go to this site and read up;

I’ve owned a number of black cars over the years. I’ve mostly used Meguires products. The full routine is, wash with car soap, (never dishwashing soap), clay bar, polish, then a swirl remover and a good wax (Zymol is my current favorite) followed by microfiber cleanup with each step. I own a power buffer with several foam pads and I learned know how to use them. You can hand polish, too. If you want that mirror shine you can get with black paint, it takes some work.

The soft touch washes just help keep in nice, but polish helps get it there! As an alternative, you could pay to have the car detailed about once a year with hand waxing in between.

The only thing that I can add to the good advice already posted is that–if possible–the OP should garage the car. When cars are garaged, there is much less damage to the finish and the wax that you apply will last far longer.

Black is the hardest color to keep looking good on a vehicle. It shows everything.

To remove the swirls out of the clear coat a buff/polish job is required followed up with a good coat of wax.

Then it’s just a matter of keeping the vehicle clean. But the problem there is black shows dirt on the surface much easier than any other color.


I’ve had a number of black cars and agree with everyone here, they look the best but are a pain to maintain. Those swirls you see in direct sunlight are almost impossible to eliminate entirely based on the following- I had a work buddy that was meticulous with his black Durango. He still developed swirls and then went to every detail shop in town to try and get rid of them. He was asking why my black vette didn’t seem to have any, what was I doing special? I never wash it! That revelation seemed to bother him more than the lack of swirls :wink: I recall when he finally gave up trying. He sold the truck shortly after that and vowed never to have another black car. OCD people and black paint are not compatible…