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Oil finish (ATF coating for crazed paint)

Oil finish (ATF coating for crazed paint)

James A. Cann and Mark Anderson

Steve Chatman wrote:

About 3 months ago, I began to test the claim that a coating of ATF did wonders for a crazed finish (looks like lace). It does a great job of filling the cracks and creating a more uniform coat. I don't believe that it does any damage to the remaining paint, although I can't say with any certainty that it doesn't. It seems to last about 1 month in our Midwest weather, but its durability is a function of moisture.
While I was applying a coat one day, it dawned on me that I had often done something similar on many woodworking projects. Oil finishes have been around for centuries and have many positive characteristics. Chief among these is ease of application, forgiving nature when used over scratched surfaces, ability to blend repaired areas with remainder of piece without problems, and the fact that dust is no problem at all. In fact, you can apply it to a sawdust covered piece of wood. Its real disadvantage is that it is not moisture proof, only resistant. Used on a car, in normal conditions, it isn't going to last. 1 month is probably a fair estimate. I assume the principles of wood application are the same. Apply a thin coat, wait 5 minutes, and wipe off excess. Repeat after about 2 hours, then as often as you like. There is a mnemonic that goes something like every 2 hours for 2 days then every 2 days for 2 weeks, then every 2 weeks for 2 months, etc. This is, of course for indoor wooden furniture. Following this approach, you'll have a very nice furniture surface that can then be protected by wax.
If there is a real danger, it might be that driving in rain produces an oil film on the windshield. I don't know that this is true, but it appeared to be the case for my car. Also, the car does seem to attract more dust. If you wash once a week like I do, it isn't too bad. Bottom line, if your car's surface is crazed, why not? I did not have luck with waxing over the finish, but am unsure if it might have been due to the wax containing a cleaner that removed the oil. So, I still use it.

Thanks for your comments. That claim was mine after inadvertantly spilling ATF on a fender and wiping it off to find what it did. Since you bring it up, my car's "lace" finish is showing up again but now that our AZ temps are better than 100. the thought of the AZ sun cooking the roof, hood, and trunk lid bothers me a bit, so I'll wait until the fall. The dust is present--and in AZ would be with or without the ATF finish--so I wipe the car daily with a California auto cleaner. Come to think of it, the brush is now pretty dark, but they say these things work better the more they get used.

Your metal/wood analogy is interesting: one of those "too good to be true" scenarios.

You may remember someone's comment about using Armor-All for the same purpose, but that it was a bit pricey, and someone else who thought that in the long run, either Armor-All or ATF might be detrimental to paint. However, with a "lace" finish, ho hum, what's next?.

Regards to the forum.


My '86 SIII has the same paint problem. I apply armorall with a sponge, let sit for a while then whipe off. I then apply a coat of maguires wax to remove exess oil and to seal it in. It lasts about the same time, a month before I notice the white haze slowly appearing again. This has worked well.


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