Worn or tatty looking bits of your car can really age it, reducing both its resale value and your pleasure driving it. Depending on the car you have, changing parts can either be a straightforward process or a more complicated one. Some parts can be repaired or touched up rather than needing to be replaced completely and this means you can refresh and add value to car without spending a huge amount.
There are various ways of doing repairs, one of which is powder coating. This is a process used in a variety of industries; including rail, marine and aerospace, but it is also used in the automotive industry for several different reasons.
What Is Powder Coating?
If you are unfamiliar with powder coating, now is probably a good time to explain the process briefly. Powder coating is a way of painting metals without using liquid paints that are commonly found in tins or cans. Instead, as the name suggests, it uses a dry paint powder to coat the metal. To do this, metal items are first cleaned using a process like shot blasting to ensure the metal surface is in the best possible condition to receive the powder. Following this, the metal is earthed with an electric current and placed in a clean, purpose-built environment to ensure the powder is applied without dirt or other particles interfering and compromising the finish.
The powder itself is applied to the metal using an electrostatic paint gun that is powered by compressed air. Inside the gun is an electrode that applies a positive charge to the powder before it exits the gun. Because of the powder being applied with compressed air, along with the difference in charge creating an attraction between the powder and metal, the end result is a coating that is bonded to the metal and highly durable. To further strengthen this, the coated metal is then baked in an oven to change the chemical bonds between the powder and metal.
So how does powder coating benefit car parts? Well, there are a few key benefits which are highlighted below:
Undoubtedly one of the main benefits when it comes to powder coating is the durability that it can provide to parts. As mentioned above, thanks to the process used to apply and then harden the coating, compared to traditional liquid-based paints, powder coating is significantly more durable, which has clear benefits when it comes to car parts.
Items such as wheels are very popular for powder coating. This is because having a durable coating on the outside can protect the wheels from chips and scratches, which are common on wheels. Not only does the durable coating hold up well, but it also helps to protect the metal underneath. The result is parts that look great and provide a protective coating that will last for years, even in challenging conditions.
Colour and finish
For many of us, the colour and finish of our car and specific parts on it are vitally important. Powder coating can allow for any colour to be created and applied to metal parts. What’s more, if you want to do some non-traditional designs, powder coating can be a fantastic option. It is possible to mix and apply multiple colours to create gradient effects which would be much harder to achieve with liquid paints.
Powder coating also has the benefit of being able to create a number of different textures and finishes depending on your taste and also what is required from the part. Gloss, matte and hammered finishes are all possible, so it really comes down to your choice.
When repairing older cars, you want to be sure that the parts you are working on will help improve the overall end product and performance. This can be as simple as improving the lifespan of a part and, therefore, the vehicle itself. Powder coating can help achieve this as engine and other vehicle parts can also be powder coated. This is a fantastic way of repairing older parts which may be difficult to source replacements. It also allows you to keep original parts on the vehicle, as this may be important for you and any future plans for the vehicle if it is a collectable model.
Overall, powder coating can be really beneficial when working on car parts. It should be said, this is a highly skilled process and one that requires professionals with the correct tools to achieve the best possible results. Therefore, you should discuss any potential project with a well-regarded powder coating company to get their thoughts on the project and see if what you have in mind is achievable.
This article was written in collaboration with Stovrite. They are a highly experience powder coating and metal treatment company based in the North East.