While routine oil changes and tire rotations are beneficial, you may not be placing enough importance on your vehicle's body. To prevent rust and fading of paint, washing, waxing, and sheltering your vehicle are necessary. Considering more and more owners are keeping their vehicles for an average of  9.4 years, maintaining your auto body is key. Using this guide on plastic coatings, you can pimp out your ride while protecting its value, function, and appeal.

Dip Your Ride?

While surprising to hear, an auto body dip does not actually involve dipping your vehicle into a large tub of plastic or rubber. Many owners are able to apply the coating on their own, but professional auto body specialists ensure an efficient and effective application. Applied through a specialized spray gun or a can of spray paint, the coating material is able to completely wraps your vehicle, rims, and trim.

Benefits of a Dip

Dipping your vehicle offers the following benefits:

  • Customized Look – Plastic dips are available in a variety of colors and finishes. Choose a black matte finish or a glossy purple coating for a unique look that represents your style and personality. The coatings are not permanent, so you can change the look periodically.
  • Prevention – Coating your vehicle with a thick layer of plastic or rubber is a great preventive measure for upholding the value and look of your vehicle. The thick coating protects the body from snow, hail, rocks, debris, and the harmful rays of the sun.
  •  Repair – In many cases, your vehicle may be suffering with areas of rust or discoloration. Dipping your vehicle will repair and cover this damage for added appeal.

Dipping DIY

Again, hiring a specialist is smart for application. However, with a bit of effort and patience, you can apply the coatings at home. Use the following steps to clean, enhance, and protect your vehicle:

  1. Rust Removal – Applying a primer is not necessary, but you will need your vehicle's body to be as smooth as possible before spraying with the coating. If you have areas of rust, use a sheet of fine sandpaper to remove the surface rust. Be sure to wear work gloves and safety goggles to protect your eyes from the fine shivers or rusty metal.
  2. Wash – Before adding your coat, you must clean and condition the body of your vehicle. Use a gentle detergent and soft sponge to remove dirt, debris, and residue from your entire vehicle. Rinse off the excess with your garden hose. Allow your vehicle to dry overnight.
  3. Prep – Painter's tape is a great option for protecting areas of your vehicle you do not want to coat. While this can be a tedious job, the task will reduce your risk of accidents while spraying your vehicle with the plastic coat. Apply a layer of tape around windows, hardware, and lights. Do not forget about any emblems and hood decorations that you prefer to remain in their original condition.
  4. Coat – After choosing your preferred color and finish, you must choose an application method. Most auto part retailers offer a large selection of spray paint cans, but you can also purchase a few gallons of your desired paint to use in a power sprayer. For most average-sized sedans, 2 gallons of the paint will be sufficient.  

          Hold the spray gun a few inches from the body and coat the surface in a side to side motion. Begin at the left fender and work towards the back of your vehicle. Then, continue to the opposite side. Finish up with the roof. Allow the first coat to dry for at least 30 minutes before applying the remaining coats. For the best protection, consider applying 4 or 5 coats.

While not well known, plastic coatings for your vehicle are becoming popular options for owners who want a unique look with added protection. Using this guide on dipping your ride, your vehicle will be stylish in a clean and protected manner.