Ever wonder why your new car doesn’t look so new after a while? It’s partly due to tiny scratches, which build up over time and dull the finish.
Nissan tackles the problem with a new paint technology, called Scratch Shield, which “heals” itself to keep the shiny finish longer.
“It’s a clear coat that’s designed to be chemically soft,” says Ian Forsyth, director of corporate planning for Nissan Canada. “The clear coat can flow even after it’s cured and repair small scratches and blemishes in the surface of the paint.”
The paint debuted on the all-new 2009 Infiniti EX35. The clear coat is just as strong as any other, so durability isn’t a problem, but it contains a polymer that makes it flexible enough to fill in minor scratches.
Forsyth says the product is available to repair shops, so if a panel has to replaced, its clear coat can be refinished with Scratch Shield.
Nissan was the first with this type of synthetic, high-density clear coat that slowly flows back to fill in surface scratches.
It was developed in conjunction with the automaker’s research partners, the University of Tokyo and Advanced Softmaterials Inc.
The process is aided with heat, and so scratches fill in almost immediately in summer. In winter, it could take a few days to completely fill in. Warm water will also accelerate the “healing” process.
It’s designed for small surface scratches and abrasions; deep scratches and other damage will still require professional repair.
“It’s the clear coat that’s healing, not the paint below it, which is why we call it a shield,” Forsyth says.
“If someone scratches the car deeply it won’t repair it. It’s the surface damage you might get from your fingers or gloves rubbing against the surface when you open the door, or a car wash with stiff bristles. The clear coat remains flexible and flows to fill in those small scratches, and keep the surface looking new.”
Other manufacturers have since gotten into the game: Nissan says that Lexus will feature a similar system, as well as paint company PPG.
“It’s part of our effort to maintain the new look of the vehicle for as long as possible,” Forsyth says.
“It repairs the wear and tear damage that happens over time. Nothing is required by the consumer at all. The objective of our technologies is to make them transparent to the user, so they just enjoy the car.”