Types of Iron Contaminants

There is a wide variety of contaminants that can attach to your car’s paint job. Some will immediately cause the paint to look less smooth and shiny; others, while invisible to the naked eye, can cause long-term damage to your vehicle’s paint. With all types of contaminants, the hot Florida sun is doing its (unwelcome) part by baking the particles onto the finish of your car. Of course, this is all magnified if you are one of the many car owners who have no choice but to park their vehicle outside in the weather, instead of in the shelter of a garage. 

Some typical paint contaminations stem from things like splattered concrete, tar, tree sap, and paint spray; and then, there are airborne iron contaminants, which we want to focus on in this article. 

What are Iron Contaminants

With increased air pollution and more and more cars on the streets, iron contamination is an issue that affects every vehicle owner nowadays. Usually, iron contaminants attach to your car’s paint finish by way of stuck-on brake dust, rail dust, and road grime, as well as industrial fallout. They attach to your vehicle’s body panels, as well as the car wheels. Especially the powerful brakes on modern vehicles cause hot and corrosive brake dust to attach to the lower body panels and wheels.

The Problem with Contaminants

In general, the problem with leaving any kind of contaminant on your vehicle’s paintwork is that they provide additional contaminants with a tackier surface to attach to. All of these particles stuck to your vehicle’s paintwork eventually break up the reflection of the sun on the car’s paint surface. Because of this, over time, the shine and gloss of your vehicle’s paint will be greatly reduced. 

The Problem with Iron Contaminants

With airborne iron contaminants, there is an additional problem. Although they may not be visible to the naked eye on your car’s paint surface, they tend to have the unwelcome habit of penetrating into your car’s paint layers – think of them as tiny pieces of shrapnel that will dig into any exterior surface. To make matters worse, this is where they form corrosive compounds. These compounds oxidize and continue to corrode your paint’s sub-layers causing rust, scratches, and swirls on your car’s paint finish. 

If left untreated, they can eventually rust through your paint finish and cause pitting on the surface. Down the road, all of these will require costly repairs on your vehicle’s paint finish if left untreated.   

With iron contaminants being more complex contaminants that commit their vile crimes in the hidden underworld of your car’s paint layers, it does not surprise that they also require extra steps to get rid of them. 

So, while some of the previously mentioned contaminants can be simply washed off in a thorough, but regular car wash, ferrous (iron-containing) contaminants require two extra steps in their treatment.

Our Iron Decontamination Process at Magic Hands

We here at Magic Hands have a special exterior detailing service dedicated solely to the removal of iron contaminants. If you strive to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape, this is an important service to take advantage of. Read on to find out what this service entails.  

As mentioned before, since a regular car washing will not succeed in removing these contaminants that are stuck in your paint and causing damage, iron decontamination (sometimes referred to as “decon”) should ideally be performed regularly. This should be done as part of a multi-part process, in between tar removal and claying. On a vehicle that is driven on a daily basis, iron decontamination should be performed about twice a year. In snowy regions, this would ideally occur before and after wintertime. After all the ferrous particles have been removed successfully, a car wax, polish, or paint sealant should be applied and will be so much more effective on a clean surface thanks to the iron decontamination performed beforehand. 

We here at Magic Hands usually apply a three-part process in order to effectively remove iron contaminants and to get your car ready for further detailing:

Step #1: Iron removal – chemical process

The iron particles are sharp and hard, so, for the sake of the paint finish, rubbing over a painted surface that has not yet been treated with an iron decontaminator is not a good idea. Further scratches on the paintwork will be prevented this way.

In this process, ferrous corrosive particles that are lodged in your vehicle’s paint layers are loosened and washed out with our chemical product.

Step #2: Mineral removal – chemical process

Mineral deposits that are stuck on your vehicle’s paint job are loosened and washed off with our chemical product.

Step #3: Last step contaminant removal – mechanical process

By applying lubricant spray, and using special decontamination towels and ultra-fine clay bars, the last remnants of contaminants are thoroughly removed by hand, while we pay a lot of extra attention to detail.

It is a great idea to do such iron decontamination before a major detailing of your vehicle. See it as starting out on a clean canvas, so that the detailing can really make your car shine. Your next step, a wax, sealant, or coating will bond much more effectively if it was applied on a crystal-clean surface, and the end result will be more noticeable. You could call it detailing with the WOW factor!

Please be advised that iron decontamination requires the application of very strong chemicals. Not only can your paint finish suffer if you accidentally spray it in the wrong places – for example, any plastic and chrome parts on your car must be carefully avoided, as the chemicals could damage their finish – but also, the runoff, if you were to use it for example in your driveway, could be toxic to plants and wildlife. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you come into our shop, in order to let one of our professional detailers expertly take care of your vehicle for you! Your car and the environment will thank you!  Schedule an appointment today. 

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