Ride. Rest. Repeat.

Care for the Paint of your Vespa

As with all vehicles made of metal, paint is applied to protect the sheet metal from the elements. Aside from giving our scoots character, the paint makes it possible for the metal body to last years, keeping corrosion away. May it be acrylic or 2K urethane or the latest low-emission and still under development water-based coatings, it still serves the purpose of prolonging the life of the metal shell of a scooter or a car. (I will be discussing the evolution of paint through the years in another thread)

We all want a glossy finish to our paint. But through time and even in normal wear and tear conditions, the paint we apply to protect our rides will succumb to oxidation, fading, acid rain pitting, bird/insect droppings, and hair-line scratches (more popularly known as “gasgas basahan”). These factors all lead to one result – a dull paint finish!

So what do we do with a dull paint finish? We buff it! Having your rides repainted is always the last resort, except if you want a new color or the coating is really beat up. The fastest way to achieve that gloss is to have the paint detailed, meaning buffed and polished.

Below is a process of detailing the paint of your scoot:

1. Degriming – This step coincides with washing the surface with shampoo. After rinsing, use cleaner clay to take out stubborn dirt build-up, paint overspray, and grime. General purpose adhesive cleaner or kerosene may be used to remove asphalt build up on some panels especially the underbody. Rinse the body again and dry completely with microfiber cloth and an air hose.

2. Masking – Out scoots, like cars, have rubber panels, chrome trims, plastic parts, which we do not want to touch with the buffing pad or buffing foam. So we use masking tape to hide these parts. We just want the painted areas exposed.

3. Compounding – We use rubbing compound to take away all the defects stated above. The compound is really a very fine liquid abrasive used with a wool pad attached to a polisher. As the wool pad turns at a maximum range of 1800-2500rpm, it heats up the paint slightly and the compound will work on making the clear coat even, taking away hairline scratches and oxidation. We will achieve a result that is relatively more glossy than the initial condition of tha paint but if you look closely, the surface will have small fine ripples called swirlmarks which will be removed by the next step.

4. Polishing – A polishing glaze is used with a polishing foam attached to a polisher to take away the swirlmarks produced by compounding. This step folks, is the secret to a glossy finish, provided that step #3 is done right. But this is the real deal if you want your scoot to be gleaming.

5. Paint Protection – Having achieved the glossy finish we want, we would like it to last as long as possible. We apply wax to the finish and try to leave a very thin waxy film over the newly buffed paint. Always use a microfiber cloth to wipe off the wax. And voila! A good-looking glossy paint finish!

Just a few facts about wax:
– Wax gives a shiny finish to our paint BUT it is limited to the condition of the paint. It is not a magic wand.
– It protects your paint by giving it a smooth surface where dust can easily be blown off. Dust on your paint will act as an abrasive when rubbed. That is paint protection, REALLY! I have seen a lot of gimmicks regarding wax and I just don’t know what others claim. Plain good marketing maybe? Roll Eyes
– Frequency of waxing? Once a week, once a month…it really depends…it’s very subjective. Personally, I wax once a month during summer and once a week during the rainy season.

The topic above is for OLD/EXISTING PAINT. For NEWLY APPLIED PAINT, here is a quick rundown:

1. Clearcoat Sanding – Most paint finish are sealed with clear coat or top coat. It is sanded down to reduce or completely remove the orange peel that is produced by painting. All newly painted cars, OEM or refinish, have this characteristic. No matter if it’s a robot spray or the best spray gun, orange peel will always be present, unless we use a paint brush Grin Anyway, orange peel may be considered a natural defect. Natural because it is the way sprayed paint behaves, and defect because it does not reflect light perfectly. For that glass finish you’ve always wanted, tell your painter to sand your clear coat with grits #1200, #1500, and #2000 sandpaper.

2. Compunding – Same as above but here we are taking out sanding marks.

3. Polishing – Same as above.

4. Paint Protection – Please use hand glaze or finishing glaze. NEVER EVER USE WAX on newly applied paint. Fresh paint takes an hour or two to dry, but a month to fully cure. Cured paint means that all solvents used as medium to make the paint sprayable have completely evaporated. The paint needs to breathe for a month. Applying wax, which contains silicone, will seal off the surface and block off the evaporation of solvents. This will result to what we call paint die back. To simulate die back, try putting a damp cloth inside a ziplock plastic. Seal it in and leave it. After a while you will notice moisture build up on the inner wall of the plastic. That also happens with paint. In case of die back, follow step #1 through #4 again. In severe cases, a new layer of top coat should be applied after sanding down to color layer.

A few facts:
– Brand new cars/scooters/motorcycles from the casa may be waxed since the newly bought unit has been sitting in the OEM yard for at least a month.
– All procedures apply to any type and brand of paint.

I hope you enjoyed this topic as much as I did writing it Smiley I have edited most parts from what I prepared initially since it was very long and technical. But please feel free to ask anything regarding this topic of paint-finishing and detailing. If I missed some vital steps, please let me know. Comments, suggestions, violent reactions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

Article written by Macky Ochoa

2 Responses to “Care for the Paint of your Vespa”

  1. gary says:

    hi bimbo! I’ve been trying like heck to find your email address on this blog but I couldn’t, so I decided to leave a comment instead.

    I’m a writer for PDI lifestyle, and I’m making a piece on Car and Motoring Clubs. I’d like to interview you, or ask your help finding scooter clubs to interview.

    Please email me at ghmercado@gmail.com if you’re interested. Thanks very much in advance and more power to Vespas! 🙂

  2. Fakhra says:

    Paint information in this post is very workable and useful. I like these information.

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