Black car owners and detailers dream of that mirror-like finish. But when we look deep into our beautiful black paint and see a foggy, hazy mess, our hearts sink.
You might begin to wonder why you bought a black car in the first place. But don’t worry. You are definitely not alone. You don’t need to be a pro to try a few of the tips I list below to remove haze from your black car.
Haze or cloudiness can be difficult to remove from car paint. But once you understand where it’s coming from you can formulate a plan of action.
What are the different types of paint haze?
Haze Type 1: Environmental haze
If you haven’t done anything to our car yet that would cause this, this type of haze can just appear over time. This is very common in older dark-colored vehicles. It happens on all vehicles but it’s more visible on black cars.
It’s often caused by weather conditions such as sun and rain or other environmental conditions such as road film from other vehicles on the road.
But it can be caused by washing techniques too. For example, some soaps can leave a film behind that causes hazing. Other causes include hard water but this usually appears as water spots.
Treatment: Environmental haze on black cars can be removed by hand polishing. You shouldn’t need to buy a polishing machine. A hand application of compound can get rid of most of it. Work it into the paint using a microfiber or foam applicator pad used in circular motions.
But if you find it’s not getting it all off you may need to invest in a Dual-Action Polishing Machine.
Another type of product that can remove this type of haze is a cleaner wax or an all-in-one wax. These waxes contain polish that will help remove haze and restore shine.
Prevention: Ceramic coating, wax, and sealant offer a basic layer of protection that can prevent this type of haze from appearing.
Another important tip is when you wash your car make sure you rinse all of the suds off before it gets a chance to dry.
Dry your car with a microfibre drying towel to prevent water spots from appearing
Haze Type 2: Wax Haze
I know this type of haze only too well. Basically, you’ve just waxed your car and it’s not as shiny as you hoped.
Sometimes wax doesn’t seem to buff off properly and you a left with a hazy or foggy appearance on the paint. There are many different waxes on the market and they all seem to have different instructions.
Some waxes need to be buffed off immediately. Others need to be allowed dry to a haze before being buffed off.
Treatment for Wax Haze:
- Use some more wax to see if it will remove dried in wax.
- Use water to reduce the haze if it’s a water-based wax.
- Use a polishing compound to remove haze.
- Use a detail spray to soften the dried wax.
- Wash your car with dedicated car shampoo.
Prevent wax haze:
- Don’t use too much product.
- Don’t let it dry for too long.
- Buff off with a soft microfibre towel.
- Read the instructions for the product you bought.
Haze Type 3: Compound Haze.
So you’ve been polishing and compounding a black car and when you inspect your work you find it’s not as reflective and glossy as you’d hoped. This is a common black paint problem we face. Even experienced professional detailers have problems with haze when polishing black cars.
This type of light haze can drive people mad. It’s almost impossible to see in light-colored cars.
- Proper paint prep: Surface dirt can cause problems when waxing or polishing. Even dust can result in microscopic scratches which can look like compound haze.
Wash with dedicated car shampoo, iron remover, and tar remover if needed. And detailing clay can remove all surface contamination which will give you the best results possible.
Read my guide for preparing a black car for waxing or polishing.
- Remove polish residue – When I first started detailing my own car I would often work late into the evening. The fading light meant that I didn’t buff off compound properly. It would only be visible the next day.
Haze can be caused by too much compound so one recommendation is to use a cleanser such as an IPA wipe or a dedicated product like Carpro Eraser to clean the area after you have polished it. Polishing oils in compound can dry in if left too long. For small patches, you might be able to remove the residue by hand using some more compound and a foam pad.
- Don’t let polish dry on your paint. Many waxes need to dry to a haze before you buff them off. This is because wax contains a carrier that needs to evaporate.
But compound does its work only when it’s being worked into the paint. And once that’s done you need to remove it. You don’t need to let compound or polish dry on your paint.
- Use softer pads: Many of us get good results using just a medium pad and some cutting compound. But a medium pad might not be soft enough to get a good result from black car paint.
You will get a lighter cut and a better finish even if you are using the same compound or polish. Using a softer pad will solve your problem and remove compound haze.
- Don’t let the pad or paint get too hot: Too much heat can damage clear coat. Some say it can even cause the pad to melt which could scratch paint and cause hazing. Rotary polishers or drill attachments can get way too hot. Using a dual-action polisher helps keep the heat down.
Make sure the pad is not dry and is fully covered in the product. Any dry patch can cause too much heat.
- Don’t let the polish dry out: Stop polishing when the product starts to dry and dust starts appearing. Most compounds can scratch paint when they are dry. Good compounds take a long time to dry out, But polishing in direct sun can dry them out too quickly. So stay in the shade.
- Keep your pads clean: Too much product on your pads can dry in and scuff the paint. Keep pads as clean as possible. Clean compound or polish from pads using a cleaning tool like RUPES The Claw Tool – Polishing Pad Cleaning Brush and Pad Removal Tool.
Wool or microfibre pads can be harder to clean than foam pads. When using wool pads I usually go through a few of them when polishing a car. I clean the pad after each section but there comes a point when the pad just looks dirty so I grab another clean one.
Many pro detailers will use compressed air to clean out their pads. This is fast and very effective.
- Use lighter polish: Some compounds have quite a heavy cut. They are designed to remove heavy swirls and scratches and can leave behind haze. You must follow up with a light finishing polish and a soft pad. It’s literally the only way you can get good results.
- Use a pure polish or compound: All-in-one products work well on most occasions for me. But sometimes you might not get perfect results with them. If you are using a compo product or an all-in-one, consider using pure abrasives instead. You can apply a layer of wax or sealant when done. The Sonax Cut Max compound and Sonax Perfect Finish combined with high-quality pads like those from Lake Country or Chemical Guys will give great results.
- Wash and dry pads when done: Old polish and compound need to be fully removed from pads before they can be used again. Old, dry polish will scratch your car.