Updated: Mar 12
You don't have a lot of it!
I remember reading about this about 4-5 years ago when I was just starting in auto dealing. Auto manufactures were talking about going thinner with paint. It wasn't so much about less paint but less clear coat.
Cost savings. We all understand being able to stretch a product can save money, right? That's the case here.
Cars used to have 4-5 mils (thousandths of an inch). Now 3 mils is becoming more common, especially anything from 2017 and newer.
This amount is compromised of paint and clear coat. Multiple layers of paint and clear coat of which the clear coat is probably about 1.5 mils of that.
So, let's compare it to something you should have on hand, your business card.
Your average business card can be anywhere from 14-20 mils thick.
That Post-it note on your desk is about 5 mils thick.
And a single side of a sandwich bag is 3 mils, the total thickness of your paint.
This is why just about any kind of scratch repair is extremely dangerous. Most scratches involve wet sanding with automotive sandpaper to aid in the removal process. Wet sanding removes a lot more clear coat than just polishing alone. Then, the area can be polished to remove the sanding marks.
With scratches, my rule has been if you can catch it with your fingernail, it can't be removed. A little bit of polishing can make it less noticeable but will not remove it completely.
At this point, anything you can do to protect and create a sacrificial layer for your vehicle's paint becomes all the more important.
Whether it be with a ceramic coating and/or paint protection film (ppf), protecting that factory finish will help to keep up your vehicle's value.
Clean. Protect. Maintain.
Watch what happens every time we polish your car's paint here!