I recently bought a '96 VW Passat from Florida. Because of the UV the clear coat has delaminated from the hood and roof of the car. I live in NY, and though I know rust is inevitable I am wondering if having the clear coat replaced will significantly help preserve the body of my car from rust.
Clear coat is just paint without any pigment added. If the base coat is still intact there’s still rust protection. To reclear the body and get satisfactory results would require a complete paint job.
99% of cars rust from the inside…NOT from the outside. As long as there’s paint on the car then the outside of the car is good.
Once the integrity of your factory paint is compromised, the best thing to do is sand it down to the metal, prime it, paint it, and add clear coat on top of the paint. Anything else, like sanding it lightly and reapplying clear coat on the old paint, won’t last long enough to make it worth it in my opinion. Also, a cheap paint job won’t last long enough to be worth it.
With a car this old, I would lust learn to live with the peeling clear coat.