How Can You Deal With Fisheye When Spraying Primer or Paint?

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What the heck is Fisheye anyway? 

We get that question a lot from our clients. We’ll address that question in this post, and the answer might surprise you a bit.

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • What Is Fisheye?
  • How Can You Deal With The Fisheye—A Quick Prevention And Remediation Tutorial 
  • Where You Can Go For More Information

Before we get started, let’s take a look at a definition of the auto paint phenomenon commonly known as fisheye. From the online advice giants at Vehicle Service Pros

Fisheye is caused by a contaminant on the surface prior to the application of paint. Generally speaking, that contaminant is light oil (silicon), which has, by whatever means, found its way to the surface of the vehicle. When paint is applied on top of this contaminant, the paint is unable to adhere to the oily surface and a “fish eye crater” is caused.

That’s a pretty good high-level definition, but let’s drill down a bit. 

We don’t want to get too far into the technical weeds here, but fisheye is primarily caused by two scientific properties of paint known as surface tension and cohesion. 

OK, back to the real world. Silicon, dirt, wax, or grease contaminants on the painted surface are the most common causes of fisheye. What happens is that the silicon or dirt speck won’t allow the paint to stick to the surface being painted. So the paint particles end up trying to stick to themselves, resulting in a tension crater. This is due to the cohesive properties of the paint particles.  

We also see our customers confuse solvent popping with fisheye. These two defects can tend to look similar, but they’re two completely different issues. Solvent pop, or popping, will typically occur after a second coat where there was insufficient flash-time allowed between spraying. The solvent gases are still escaping, and they will form tiny bubbles in the paint.

The affected area is typically larger with solvent pop, and the bubbles or craters are generally smaller. 

You’ll typically see the fisheyes begin to form right away after spraying. They look like craters from burst paint bubbles, and they tend to be isolated to specific areas.  

How Can You Deal With The Fisheye—A Quick Prevention And Remediation Tutorial.

First and foremost, be a neat freak. Silicon, dirt, wax, and grease particles can come from surface cleaners, rags, food, the air, equipment lines, etc. A previous paint job may even have used silicon-heavy additives that are causing fisheye to occur.

You can also use fisheye eliminator as an additive but follow the instructions carefully. Too much eliminator can actually cause fisheyes to form. And there is no substitute for meticulous cleaning. Fisheye eliminator won’t prevent fisheyeing on a contaminated surface.

What’s the bottom line for your shop? As we point out in several previous posts, you want to prevent repairs and redos, save money and time, and have happy customers and technicians!

In the collision repair and automotive painting business, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.

So where can you go for more information?

That’s the easy part—you’re already here! We’re Northeast Ohio’s number one Paint, Body, and Equipment supplier.

Convenience and quality are yours when you call us. Here are just a few of the products and services you can expect to find when you reach out to the team of professionals at Westside Auto Paint & Supply:

  • Automotive Paint Finishes
  • Primers
  • Clears
  • Abrasives
  • Spray Equipment
  • Auto Body Tools   
  • Same Day Delivery Available in Most Areas!

We’re here to keep your shop stocked and your projects rolling! Call us at one of our three convenient locations:

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

Or get in touch with us online today.