The value of undercoating can sometimes be the subject of heated debates. Some claim that advancements in factory coatings have made any additional undercoating less necessary. Others, however, state that undercoating can provide an important extra layer of protection for the underside of a vehicle, which is rarely washed despite being subject to all sorts of sand, gravel, grit, salt, and other debris flying up from the road. Particularly in areas like Canada, where snowfall and road salt can create particularly corrosive conditions for vehicles, this extra layer of protection might be well worth the relatively minor expense.
If you’re pursuing a career in auto detailing, here’s what you should know about undercoating.
What Is Undercoating?
Undercoating is the process of applying a protective substance to the underside of a car, which has many exposed metal parts which can rust or become damaged over time. This protective undercoating might be either sprayed or painted on with brushes, but either way, the goal is to apply the substance in an even and uniform way, ensuring that every nook and cranny receives coverage.
Many different types of substances are used for undercoating, with each option varying with regards to the price, how strong or thick it is, and several other factors.
Rubberized Undercoating Is a Popular Choice for Drivers
Rubberized undercoating provides good protection against rust and moisture, can be safely applied to wheel wells and quarter panels, and is simple and easy to apply. It can also be painted over, and easily removed with undercoating removal spray if necessary. Another benefit of rubberized undercoating that students in auto detailing training should be aware of is that it also provides some measure of sound dampening, helping to reduce road-noise in the cabin.
Polyurethane Undercoating Has Benefits and Drawbacks
Polyurethane-based sealant is another popular option for vehicle undercoating. It’s effective and easy to apply, soaking into small seams and cracks in the underside of the vehicle, displacing salt and moisture, and bonding with and protecting the metal. Like rubberized coating, polyurethane undercoating can also be painted over, and even sanded. Unlike rubberized coating, however, it requires a fair amount of surface preparation before it can be applied, with sanding and an etching primer generally recommended before application.
Asphalt, Paraffin, and Wax-Based Undercoating Are Also Available
Asphalt-based undercoating is one of the strongest and most effective types of undercoating, often used for large trucks and heavy machinery. It needs more time to cure than the other types of undercoating available and can’t be painted, but it also provides better sound dampening than the other options.
Other types of undercoating you might see in your auto detailing career include paraffin and wax-based options, which are cheap and easy to apply, but need to be removed and reapplied at least once a year, and might not offer the same degree of protection as other options.
Possible Risks When Applying an Undercoating
One possible risk when it comes to undercoating is that it might be too thick to get into some of the small crevices where moisture collects, allowing rust to form in the unprotected areas. If it’s applied to a chassis that hasn’t been properly cleaned and prepared, it can also trap corrosive substances against the metal, potentially causing the type of damage it was meant to protect against.
As long as it’s applied properly, however, these risks are very minor, and shouldn’t be a great concern to auto detailers or car owners.
Are you interested in pursuing a career in automotive detailing?
Contact Automotive Training Centres for more information about our automotive courses.