What Is Acrylic Paint Conditioner?

by Faith Chandler
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Maintaining a car is an involved process, especially when trying to keep the paint looking good. Many products exist to preserve a vehicle's paint including wax, polish and paint conditioner. Each offers its own benefits. Acrylic paint conditioner doesn't remove scratches or permanently restore a vehicle's finish. It does apply a layer of protection from the elements, fill in scratches to smooth them out and create a shiny, reflective surface.

What Is It?

Paint conditioner is a synthetic protective coating applied to acrylic car paint to restore its shine, fill in scratches and protect it from the elements. Acrylic paint conditioning products are a one-step spray-on system applied every few months to vehicles. Their main purpose is to prevent oxidation of the paint. Paint conditioner claims to preserve the original finish by replacing electrons the paint loses through exposure to the sun and elements.

How Is It Used?

Paint conditioner is used on cars, trucks, boats, airplanes and just about any vehicle with an acrylic paint surface. First, the vehicle is washed with soap and clean water. It's wiped dry with a soft cloth or allowed to air dry. The protective conditioner is applied or sprayed on the vehicle, one small section at a time, and rubbed in with a small cloth until fully absorbed.

How to Remove It

Removing acrylic paint conditioner is a simple process. Warm soapy water is all that's needed to remove many kinds of conditioners. If the conditioner doesn't come off completely, wash the the car again. If you want to avoid removing the conditioner, but still want to clean the car, use clean water without soap to rinse it. Let the car air dry. It will still clean off dirt without removing the conditioner.

Compared to Wax and Polish

Wax is a paint protectant, but not a conditioner. It will smooth out and fill in scratches. Wax is cheaper than conditioner, but is organic and breaks down more quickly. Wax can also turn yellow or dull. Polish is used to smooth out scratches by sanding the paint. This lessens the appearance of a large scratch, but also compromises the paint surface, creating many microscopic scratches. Polish can also dull paint, removing its shiny finish.

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