Oxidized Paint Restoration: Remedies to Restore Your Car

First, the paint on your car will look a little dull, and then the color of your car will begin to fade. Finally, your paint job will go chalky and may even start to flake off.  

When the paint on your car begins to oxidize, it will happen over time, and if you wait, restoring your paint will cost you a fortune.

Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about paint oxidation and how to restore the damage.

The biggest culprit for your paint oxidizing on your car is UV. There are some methods to slow down the process, but unfortunately, a UV block won’t prevent the oxidation process from stopping completely.

Newer vehicles have a two-stage paint job to prevent your paint from breaking down, but not every manufacturer has perfected this UV resistant treatment. Be prepared for the inevitable and check out our methods for fixing oxidized paint on your car.

Methods of Fixing Oxidation from Car Paint

Oxidation Remover

One of the most common products for removing oxidation is in a cream or gel remover. It helps remove white patches on your paint and rust spots on your bumper or wheels. If your paint is seriously damaged and you use an oxidation remover that’s too strong, you risk ruining the paint job even further, so do your research before you buy.

Wet Sanding

If your car has suffered some heavy oxidation, then wet sanding the area could be the best starting point. You should soak your sandpaper or disks before you use them to keep them hydrated and clean. 

A 3000 grit should suffice, and you should use a light to medium pressure. Then use a 500 grit sandpaper or disk to remove further marks. Once you’re finished, apply a polish, and it should be sufficiently ready.  

Buffing Out

Buff out light to medium damage with some polish, and it could be more than enough to fix up small areas. The compounds in polish help remove oxidation as long as you gently rub the area and work in a fast manner. Wipe and repeat until all signs of oxidation are gone.

How to Remove Heavy Oxidation From Car Paint

  1. 1
    First, you’ll need to wash and rinse your car with cool, clean water. Park your car in some shade and allow it to air dry.
  2. 2
    Depending on how you want to remove the oxidation from your car, this step will differ from person to person.
    If you're sanding the area, begin with your 3000 grit sandpaper and move to your 5000 grit paper after.
    If you prefer to use an oxidation remover, then you’ll need to buff out these areas with your emulsion and continue to clean and buff until you’re happy with the outcome.
  3. 3
    Once you’re finished with buffing or wet sanding your area, it’s time to put a finishing polish over your paint for extra protection. We recommend Klasse All-In-One or Soft99 Fusso Coat Light.

Types of Paint that Protect Cars from Oxidation

Iron Oxide Paint

There are 2 chemical compounds found in iron oxide paint. These are iron and oxygen. This type of paint is inexpensive yet pretty durable as a low-cost UV absorber.

Iron oxide is used primarily for the base coat along with other organic pigments. Colors commonly available in this type of paint are yellow, orange, red, brown, and black.

Copper Oxide Paint

A copper oxide-based paint is usually composed of at least 40% of copper. It’s perfect to use over a majority of ‘anti-fouling paints’ that are on the market.

It’s widely used on recreational boats and other vessels, as well as cars and trucks. Be sure you don’t use this paint over aluminum as the copper base won't stick. 

Red Oxide Paint

Red oxide paint is more commonly known as a primer or a base. It’s great to prepare your vehicle for a top coat of your choice.

Red oxide paint has anti-corrosive properties and is a water-resistant and rust-proof primer. If you’re painting over iron or rust, then this is an excellent base for you. 

Best Car Paint Oxidation Removers

1. OxideOff - Oxide Reducing Emulsion

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LOxide is an OxideOff emulsion created for light to medium damage to your paint job. Whether your car is suffering from faded paint or a peeling topcoat, this oxidation remover is an easy do-it-yourself operation at a fraction of the cost of a new paint job.

This emulsion is also a great choice for buffing out minor scratches. While it will restore some of your existing paint, it doesn’t have a glossy finish, so consider finishing off some areas with a light polish after use.

2. Meguiar's M4916 Marine/RV Heavy Duty Oxidation Remover

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Meguiar is one of the most trusted and highly rated products for oxidation remover. It can remove moderate to heavy oxidation from your vehicle. Expect your water spots, paint stains, scratches, and white spots to disappear from gel-coated cars or fiberglass surfaces.

What makes this product stand out from the rest is that it has enriched feeder oils that help restore your car's color, instead of ripping the pigments away (like some cheap emulsion removers). It doesn't dry as matte as LOxide, so a polish may not be needed for light repairs.

Oxidized Paint Restoration FAQs

What does oxidized paint look like?

When your car begins to oxidize, white spots will begin to show, and the color of your vehicle will begin to fade. Heavy oxidation will have your vehicle flaking away, and then rust could begin to set. 

How do you restore white stains from your car paint?

Gently buff out some light to moderate stains with an oxidation remover is your best bet. Often the white stains are just appearing on the topcoat, so buffing out that topcoat and polishing it after will restore a lot of your car’s paint.

How do you brighten dull car paint?

If your car paint is just faded and the quality of the surface is still in good shape, then you won’t need to worry about an oxidation method.

Buy a paint similar to your car's original color, and use an automotive paint gun to give it a quick coat. Finish with a UV resistant polish, and you’re done.

How do you remove cloudiness from car paint?

Cloudy or milky spots happen over time, and these are a lot more evident in older vehicles like vintage cars. Using Meguiar's M205 and a dual action polisher will seriously help you with these marks.


Breathe new life into your car’s exterior and get your car’s paint back in tip-top shape before the new season. Once you’ve restored your car’s paint job on the cheap, take some cautionary measures so you won’t have to worry about it for years rather than months.

Cover your car, wash it regularly, and put wax on the exterior to keep it protected. It could save you thousands on a paint job if you’re lucky!