Do All Cars Come With Clear-Coat Paint? (Checked)

Today, clear coat paint is almost a standard on all vehicles. Research says that about 95% of cars have clear coat paint. 

What is clear coat paint? It is a colorless resin that covers the already colored resin of the vehicle. 

This article covers questions concerning why carmakers use clear coat paint.

Here’s the short answer to whether all cars have clear coat paint:

Most cars now come with clear coat paint for aesthetic and protection purposes. The clear coat not only makes cars shinier and beautiful for longer, it also protects the more expensive base coat from damage. Besides, the clear coat makes the paint water-resistant and makes cleaning easier.

Is Clear Coat Paint Standard On All New Cars?

Apparently, manufacturers began using this coat paint in the late 1980s. You would rarely see a new car without a clear coat of paint as 95% of them come with it.

What Are the Advantages Of Clear Coat Paint?

A clear coat comes with its own fair share of benefits, including:

Better Appearance 

A clear coat of paint accentuates the appearance of a car. Asides from the colored resin, it gives a better and smoother finish to the body of the vehicle.

Body Protection

One major advantage of a clear coat of paint is the protection it offers against ultra-violet radiations and harsh sunlight.

It also makes your paint job last longer because it acts as a barrier that wards off surface defects and even prevents rust.

High Resale Value

If you are intending to resell your car over time, it has been noticed that added coat paint has better resale value than cars with just a single layer of paint. 

Thus, it is apparent that a clear coat on vehicles has high market demand. It is, therefore, logical to get it for your vehicle both for personal uses and business-wise.

What Is the Alternative to a Clear Coat Paint?

One of the major downsides of a clear coat is its non-durability, as a minor scratch can peel it off. Hence, some have looked for another alternative to a clear coat paint. Here are some alternatives:

Ceramic Coat

A ceramic coating offers better body protection and durability. It takes years for a ceramic coat to wear off and it is not easily affected by a scratch. 

It is made from silicon dioxide, amongst other ingredients that act as a hardening agent.

Ceramic coating makes it difficult for dirt and particles to stick to the car. This specifically makes a car paint last longer.

Another upside to a ceramic coat is that it repairs a surface defect by itself. Hence, rather than repainting regularly, it saves your pocket some cash.

In addition, it is extremely beneficial to those living in areas with harsh weather. A ceramic coat will almost never fade like any other coat available.

Lastly, a ceramic coat is significantly more flexible. Asides from the fact that they are physically durable, they are also very easy to apply evenly to the body of the car.


This is another option you can use besides clear coat. It is a fully synthetic product basically used to shield a car’s surface and give it a shiny look.

Additionally, it also offers protection against surface defects and UV rays. However, it has been noticed that sealants give a hard surface after application.


The last option to use is wax. A wax is produced from natural ingredients that give a subtle glow to the car and protect the paint below.

Wax is generally considered not durable, as they last about 6 to 8 weeks before peeling off. 

Also, the application is not exactly enjoyable. It takes longer to spread and provide the protection you desire.

More often than not, you would have to add significant solubles to give you a perfect finish.

RELATED: Does Carwash Wax REALLY Work? (We Checked)

How Do You Know If a Car Has Clear Coat Paint?

The most efficient way to find out is to physically test it yourself. You can use an abrasive like wax to check it out.

Simply apply the product to a cloth, preferably white. Locate a less noticeable part of the car, for instance, (the bumper or the door jamb). Rub the towel against these parts. 

If the towel isn’t stained, it is a clear sign your car is clear coated. On the contrary, if the cloth turns to the color of the car, that shows the car has only a single layer of paint.

Can All Cars Be Delivered With a Clear Coat Paint?

Apparently, the vast majority of cars produced today come with clear coat paint. About 95% of them.

Consequently, most cars will be delivered with a clear coat because they are already applied at production.

Related: 9 Reasons Electric Cars Are More Expensive (Explained)

How Do I Know If My Car Has Clear Coat Paint?

As said earlier, the easy way to tell is to use an abrasive against the body of the car. If it stays clear, it is a major sign that it is coated.

Steps and How to Apply Clear Coat Paint

The application of coat paint is not an easy job, as it can be done unevenly. However, with the right steps and tools, you can get it done.

  • The first step is to choose a solvent that is adequate for the weather. Some paints do not work well under high temperatures. 
  • The second hack is to get it done on a cool day. According to research, a temperature above 90 degrees or below 55 degrees is generally not considered a good day to apply clear coat paint. It is also not advisable to paint directly under the sun. A shade is much better. 
  • Third, using the appropriate tools is important. A spray gun, compressor, and respirator are excellent tools to use. However, the spray gun is recommended because it sprays lightly. Applying too much pressure could damage the paint beneath.
  • The next step before applying the new coat is to remove the earlier coat if it is damaged. Use 400-600 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged coats. This is necessary because the urethane needs to bond properly and it cannot with the presence of an old base coat. To do this, spray the sandpaper mix with water to avoid causing a scratch, then wipe down with a tack cloth.
  • Last, spray evenly. It is safe to hold the tool 15cm-20cm away from the car’s surface. If there’s a tilted surface, tilt the gun in that direction to align it to the surface. Further, to avoid the ” tiger stripping effect“, it is advised to spray in straight and consistent lines. This makes it smoother and more professional.

How Many Stages Does the Clear Coat Paint Need?

It is generally recommended to apply 3 to 4 layers of coat. Give about a 30 minutes stretch before applying the next coat over the previous one.

It is necessary to add these layers because of the protection, longevity, and ultimately, the perfect finish touch it gives.

Can a Clear Coat Cause Any Problem?

Most times, there are no serious side effects in applying a clear coat. However, it can become a problem when it’s time for removal. 

Too much removal can cause an adverse effect on the body of the vehicle. It could result in peeling, discoloration, and a terrible finish. 

More often than not, this happens because of the surplus amount of coat applied.

How Long After Applying a Coat Of Paint Should I Drive?

Fortunately, coat paints do not take long to dry off. Averagely, it takes about 12-48 hours depending on the current weather condition.

Related: 8 Reasons A Car Won’t Go Forward Or Reverse (Solved)

How Do I Protect My Clear Coat?

There are major steps you should take to protect and guard your clear coat to make it long-lasting, including:

Stay Away From Direct Sunlight

As explained earlier, one of the major reasons clear coat paints peel off is because of the UV rays. Therefore, it is best to park in a garage or a shielded area.

Clean Up Corrosive Elements

If perhaps your car become stained with corrosive elements like bird poop or tree sap, clean them up immediately with water, as these elements can easily seep through your clear coat paint.

Wash Your Car Regularly

It is very important to wash your car regularly by hand. The longer dirt stays on your vehicle, the weaker your paint becomes.  

Furthermore, it is recommended to use a detailing clay while washing, especially if you are preparing for new waxing. A detailing clay wipes and cleans better, unlike an ordinary wet sponge.

Related: Do All Cars Rust Eventually? (Here’s What To Expect)

How Much Does It Cost to Apply Clear Coat Paint?

Generally, it costs about $500-$10,000 to apply coat paint, according to J.D Power. However, if it is a smaller portion of the vehicle, the price will relatively be lesser.

What Causes a Clear Coat to Go Bad?

There are basically three major reasons for this:

  •  Direct ultraviolet rays from the sun
  •  Dirt particles that get stuck while driving
  •  Direct scratch on the body of the car
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