9 Best Automotive Clear Coats of 2020
As the name suggests, an automotive clear coat is a non-pigmented car body varnish that is meant to be applied over an existing paint job so as to protect the underlying paintwork from the elements, staining, and scratches.
The clear coat also enhances the appearance of the car’s paint by making its color look deeper and wetter, while also covering up any minor scratches.
However, since there are quite a lot of these products in the market, getting a good one might be a little challenging if you do not know what to look for. For this reason, this article looks at the best automotive clear coat that you can buy online.
9 Best Automotive Clear Coats – Review
1. Maxima 78920 (Best Spray Can)
2. U.S. Chemical & Plastics 2698979424 (Chemical Resistant)
3. Speedokote 5841832632 (UV Resistant)
4. Toyota 00258-0000C-21 (Touch-up for Chips & Scratches)
5. SEM 13013 (Plastic Restoring Clear Coat)
6. PlastiKote 1000 (Color & Top Coat in One)
7. Dupli-Color BSP300 (Ready to Spray Lacquer)
8. KBS Coatings 8304 (Rock Hard Clear Coat)
9. Dupli-Color BCL0125 (Best Budget)
1. Maxima 78920
(Best Spray Can)
2. U.S. Chemical & Plastics 2698979424
3. Speedokote 5841832632
4. Toyota 00258-0000C-21
(Touch-up for Chips & Scratches)
5. SEM 13013
(Plastic Restoring Clear Coat)
6. PlastiKote 1000
(Color & Top Coat in One)
7. Dupli-Color BSP300
(Ready to Spray Lacquer)
8. KBS Coatings 8304
(Rock Hard Clear Coat)
9. Dupli-Color BCL0125
1. Maxima 78920 – Best Automotive Clear Coat Spray Can
For any fiberglass, plastic, carbon fiber or car body painted surface, you can use the high gloss Maxima 78920 to apply a protective coating that keeps mud and dirt from staining the paint below.
In fact, this clear coat is specially formulated for the powersports industry and therefore, it adheres and protects very well in the toughest of conditions.
This has made it a top-rated automotive clear coat and if you own a motorcycle or an ATV, the 78920 would be ideal to use over its fenders so as to keep the plastic free from mud on the tracks.
Apart from this, the product also leaves a fresh clean scent and creates a dry and durable luster and shine that leaves your car looking fresh and new. This varnish is also waterproof and thus, it keeps the underlying paint dry on the inside and the automotive body easy to wash.
When doing the application, the process is quite easy as no external sprayer is required. This is because it comes in a spray can that simply requires to be sprayed onto the painted surface.
2. U.S. Chemical & Plastics 2698979424 – Chemical Resistant Clear Coat
With the Spraymax 3680061 clear coat, you get a very durable high gloss finish that is resistant to abrasion and scratches, making it very protective against these small defects.
When properly spayed on left to dry, the resulting coat can also protect the automotive body underneath from chemicals and gasoline, thereby reducing rusting or discoloration.
To use it, however, you must activate the two acrylic components that make the coat by pulling the tab on the can. This will allow them to mix after which, you just have to shake the can then deliver the spray using its nozzle.
After activation though, the formula has a shelf life of two days at 68°F. Past this, it won’t be any good for your car or motorcycle’s paint job.
3. Speedokote 5841832632 – UV Resistant Clear Coat
If you want a UV resistant clear coat for your car, then Speedokote’s SMR-130 is the best option to consider. By protecting the paint job below from the sun’s UV rays, your car will experience less discoloration over a long time.
Apart from this, the product also provides a chemical resistant coat and this is because it has an acrylic urethane composition, which is largely inert and capable of keeping most chemicals away from the underlying automotive body.
For application though, since the kit contains a 128-ounce clearcoat and a 32-ounce activator, these two must be mixed in a separate container (in the ratio 4:1), then applied onto the surface using a spray gun.
This slightly complicates the application process, but you have the capability of mixing only the quantities that you need so as to prevent any losses.
Once properly sprayed on, it creates a high gloss clear coat that is fast drying and can be buffed in 4-6 hours so as to yield a much higher DOI.
On the downside, this product is quite expensive, but you get a lot of clear coat at your disposal per kit.
4. Toyota 00258-0000C-21 – Touch-up Clear Coat for Chips & Scratches
Toyota and Lexus car owners have an automotive clear coat that is specifically designed to protect the paint jobs in their cars. This is in the form of the Toyota 00258-0000C-21, which is designed to keep your car looking new for a much longer period of time.
Even though this product comes in a very small quantity of 0.5 ounces, it is meant for small scratches and chips, which makes the small size reasonable. It is also quite affordable so you don’t lose much.
Being designed for these small defects, this touch-up clear coat features an abrasive prep tip and a 2-in-1 applicator that consists of a precision pen tip and a brush end. This application method makes it very easy to use.
5. SEM 13013 – Plastic Restoring Automotive Clear Coat
Sem’s 13013 is a spray-on satin gloss clear coat that is fade resistant and is packed in a 12-ounce aerosol can, which is capable of covering approximately 10 square feet of the car’s body surface.
The product is actually designed to restore or change the glossiness in plastics and vinyl, and because of this, it can also be used to refinish vehicle interiors and motorcycle seats as well as enhance the appearance of car carpets and velour.
Application is quite easy since it is ready-to-spray out of the can and once done, the coat dries up quickly with super adhesion while maintaining flexibility and hiding any minor scratches.
Even though the coat does not provide UV protection, it does not crack over time and this is due to its flexibility factor. As a result, the coat maintains a good aesthetic look over the interior or exterior of your car for a long time.
6. PlastiKote 1000 – Color & Top Coat in One
For an automotive clear coat that doubles up as an automotive color, Plastikote’s 1000 certainly does this best and is a good option to consider. This is because it can be used on its own over the bare metal/plastic car body, or over any base coat and hence its name, universal clear coat.
The product is packed in a relatively small 11-ounce aerosol can and is primarily composed of an acrylic lacquer paint, which is designed to dry up quickly while doing your touch-ups, and leave a tough, long-lasting top coat.
Although this universal coat is also not designed to offer UV protection, it is specially formulated to offer a hardened clear coat that is resistant to nicks and scratches, and in the long run, will not discolor, weather or rust.
7. Dupli-Color BSP300 – Ready to Spray Lacquer
If you want a large quantity of ready to spray lacquer, Dupli-Color’s automotive clear coat gives you 32 ounces of varnish at your disposal.
The paint is pre-reduced in the container and therefore, no mixing or activation is required beforehand. You only need to have a spray gun to do the application and that’s it.
You can use this product for automotive and motorcycle exterior parts application and it requires no recoat window, which means you can reapply it at any time.
After use, the coat dries up quickly and can be easily wet sanded or buffed to create a brilliant smooth finish that has a higher DOI.
8. KBS Coatings 8304 – Rock Hard Clear Coat
The KBS Coatings DiamondFinish is quite an expensive product, but it is a single part formula that is tougher and more solid than a 2-part clear coat once it cures.
This is because it contains permanent high solids (over 60%), while still maintaining a low VOC formulation that is safe for the environment.
Because of this toughness, the paint requires no hardeners and can be applied to non-ferrous metal such as aluminum, copper, brass etc. or over other coatings such as a base coat, single- or two-part paints or standard solid color paints without any additional additives.
You can apply this coat using either a brush, roller or spray gun and once it sets, the resulting coat is flexible and durable, as well as corrosion and chemical resistant.
It is also heat resistant and this makes it ideal for use on engine blocks, cylinder heads and the like, and it does not yellow at temperatures below 300°F.
9. Dupli-Color BCL0125 – Best Budget Automotive Clear Coat
Dupli-Color’s EBCL01257 is the most affordable automotive clear coat and despite this, it actually performs very well.
Being packed in an aerosol can, the product is very easy to use and features an adjustable EZ touch 360° nozzle that can deliver a wide spray pattern for smooth and even coats.
With an acrylic lacquer composition, this varnish can be applied over factory finished paint or Dupli-Color’s premium automotive paint, and is ideal for large touch ups in car or motorcycle body parts as well as vehicle accessories.
After application, it dries to touch in 30 minutes and to handle in 1 hour, creating a highly protective clear coat that is durable, and with a high gloss finish that improves your vehicle’s look.
How to Buy the Best Automotive Clear Coat
When selecting an automotive clear coat, these are some of the things that you should consider.
1. Type of Automotive Clear Coat
As the name suggests, a topcoat is a final coat that is applied to the base paint of your vehicle. This type is usually characterized by great depth and ease of polishing.
Turbo clear coats are mostly used in collision repairs. They usually require more polishing so as to achieve a glossy look and, in the process, help to cover up dents very effectively. They also dry up very quickly and this is so that buffing can be done shortly after.
This coat dries much slowly as compared to turbo coats, making it less sensitive to moisture. Because of this slow drying process, the paint is quite good because leveling can be achieved easily.
Higher solids clear coats contain more additives such as resin, making them produce a thicker, harder and more durable coat once cured. However, this type dries very slowly because of this thickness, and its formulation makes it slightly more expensive than the rest.
It gives you a super tough coat though, and usually contains a low concentration of VOCs, making it safe for the environment.
Euro coats can be defined by their requirement of heat to hasten their drying process and create a durable film.
2. Gloss Level
Gloss level is usually measured on a scale of 0-100 gloss units, with 100 being the highest gloss and 0 being the lowest.
When choosing a clear coat, almost all of them result in a glossy finish, but if you want the glossiest car surface there is, ensure that the clear coat kit you buy can achieve the high levels.
It is actually recommended to choose a product with at least a gloss level of 90 units so that your vehicle looks shiny and new at the end of the process.
Although the term “clear” in clear coat refers to a no color paint, it is important to only consider the product that does not cover up your base paint in any way because this will alter the car’s color.
You should only select a clear coat that enhances the base coat color by providing a transparent glass-like coating that improves the glossiness and makes the existing paint job below glow.
4. Scratch Resistance
The one thing that a car cannot lack in its entire lifetime is a scratch. By adding a top coat, one of the main reasons for doing this should be for scratch protection and therefore, you should look for features such as scratch resistance, abrasion resistance or even chip resistance.
On top of this, the coat should also be able to cover up existing scratches and minor dents, acting as a cheaper repair alternative. Other desirable features to consider include UV protection as well as chemical and corrosion resistance.
Read More: 10 Best Scratch Removers
5. Ease of Application
The last thing to check is how easy it is to apply the protective clear coat. The easiest ones to apply usually come in aerosol cans and for these, you only have to spray the coat onto the car or motorcycle interior or exterior. However, they usually come in small quantities per can.
Other clear coats are packed in paint cans and these usually require a paintbrush, roller or spray gun to do the application.
This makes the application process slightly difficult as compared to the simple spray action, but the benefit is that these usually come packaged in large quantities per can.
As you can see, there is quite a lot about automotive clear coats than what meets the eye. This makes the selection process a little bit difficult if you do not know what to look for.
Basically, a good clear coat should protect your car from scratches while being completely transparent. However, the best automotive clear coat should have all the protective features (UV, chemical, etc), but this depends on your needs.
After going through the automotive clear coat review above, you should be able to pick the most suitable product for coating your vehicle.
- 9 Best Automotive Clear Coats – Review
- 1. Maxima 78920 – Best Automotive Clear Coat Spray Can
- 2. U.S. Chemical & Plastics 2698979424 – Chemical Resistant Clear Coat
- 3. Speedokote 5841832632 – UV Resistant Clear Coat
- 4. Toyota 00258-0000C-21 – Touch-up Clear Coat for Chips & Scratches
- 5. SEM 13013 – Plastic Restoring Automotive Clear Coat
- 6. PlastiKote 1000 – Color & Top Coat in One
- 7. Dupli-Color BSP300 – Ready to Spray Lacquer
- 8. KBS Coatings 8304 – Rock Hard Clear Coat
- 9. Dupli-Color BCL0125 – Best Budget Automotive Clear Coat
- How to Buy the Best Automotive Clear Coat