Best Practices To Reduce Wrinkling or Lifting

There are many different types of car paint defects, including wrinkling, also called lifting. Keep reading to learn what wrinkling/lifting is, how to avoid it, and how to fix it if it does happen to the vehicle you’re painting. 

What is Wrinkling/Lifting?

Wrinkling or lifting occurs when an existing paint layer shrivels during the application of a new finish or as the new finish is still drying. The solvents in the new finish essentially attack the old finish. And, if you are working with synthetic resin paints, it’s a result of the upper coat drying faster than the coat under it. It often occurs when re-coating enamels. 

Causes of Wrinkling/Lifting

There are lots of different causes of wrinkling or lifting. 

10 Causes of Wrinkling or Lifting

1. Incompatibilities of the chemicals used in making paints

According to Auto Care Aids, wrinkling is typically caused due to incompatibilities of the chemicals used in making paints. 

2. Synthetic resin is not applied correctly

Lifting can occur when a synthetic resin is applied too thick.

3. Unfavorable drying conditions

A very high temperature can lead to wrinkling or lifting due to the top coat drying faster than the bottom. On the flip side, extremely cold conditions can cause wrinkling/lifting to occur as well. And, rain can also lead to lifting/wrinkling. 

4. Not enough or no drier

Insufficient addition or no addition of drier can cause lifting or wrinkling. 

5.  Exceeding the maximum flash

Exceeding the maximum flash (dry) or re-coat time during application can also lead to lifting/wrinkling. 

6. Insufficient film build

Sometimes liting or wrinkling will occur when a base coat or clear coat finish is added where the old clear coat had an insufficient film build.

7. Re-coating enamels or urethanes that are not fully cured

Using re-coating enamels or urethanes that are not fully cured can lead to lifting.  

8. Using too much force 

According to Auto Care Aid, paint wrinkling often occurs when you “forcefully spray paint on a surface.” 

9. Contamination 

Lifting or wrinkling can result if paint is applied to a contaminated surface.

10. Wax

Spraying paint over a waxed surface can lead to this paint defect as well. 

Tips for Avoiding Wrinkling/Lifting 

According to Auto Repairs Direct, there are several things you can do to avoid wrinkling or lifting. Some of the things they suggest include:

  • Checking questionable finishes by rubbing a small inconspicuous area with a shop towel saturated with lacquer thinner
  • Not exceeding recommended film builds
  • Ensuring that drying conditions are favorable before painting
  • Not exceeding the paint’s maximum recoat time either before recoating or after the application
  • Allowing enamels or urethanes to thoroughly cure before recoating
  • Not applying any excessively wet undercoats or topcoats
  • Using waterborne undercoats to repair extremely sensitive finishes

Repairing Wrinkling or Lifting

The only way to repair lifting or wrinkling is to remove the lifted areas and refinish the car.

If the wrinkling is minor, you can allow the area to completely dry, and then go ahead and sand it off and reapply the finish.

If the wrinkling is pretty significant, you’ll need to strip both layers of paint and completely repaint the vehicle. 

Westside Auto Paint and Supply Has Your Painting Needs Covered!

Westside Auto Paint and Supply, Inc. is family-owned and has been in business in the Cleveland area for almost 30 years. We pride ourselves on being a leader in Northeast Ohio for automotive paint! 

We carry all of the supplies needed to successfully paint your vehicles. From prep to primers to base coats to sealers, we have it all!

Fill out our contact form to learn more about our services. Or, give us a call at one of our locations: 

  • Fairview Park: (440) 335-5240
  • Akron: (330) 227-2572
  • Elyria: (440) 307-1993

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