Unless you’re a devout car enthusiast or are in the car paint and detail business, you probably don’t know when a car has hard or soft paint. To most people a cars paint job should just look good, how it gets that way is somebody else’s problem. But if you want to know a little more about it, here is the scoop on hard and soft automotive paints.
Basically, if a paint can be easily adjusted with polishing and repair, it’s considered soft. As it becomes more difficult to adjust and repair, it becomes categorized as harder and harder. In most cases it’s up to the detailer to experiment on each individual car and find out for themselves what level of paint they’re dealing with.
But does it really matter if a cars paint is hard or soft? According to the pros, all cars are different and whether a cars paint is hard or soft is not as important as the techniques and processes you use after you’ve determined what type of paint it is.
For most professional auto detailers, it’s a matter of first cleaning the painted surfaces until they are free of all waxes and other contaminates. Once the surfaces are clean it can then be determined what the density (hardness) of the paint actually is. This is normally done by applying a compound with an orbital buffer and then visually inspecting the results to see if there have been any significant changes to the finish, increasing the amount of compound if defects are not being resolved. Once it is determined that the defects are being resolved the amount of compound and action needed to revive the finish can be known.
Yes, it’s true that there are hard and soft paint jobs but it’s really a matter for the professionals to deal with since it mostly has to do with experience.