KdL Automotive Volvo onderhoud voor youngtimers en klassiekers Middelbeers Brabant

How to refresh a dull paint of your Volvo

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to recover and refresh the paint of your Volvo. Especially the non-metallic paints will fade due sun, bird droppings, hot conditions and the salt used in winters. This tutorial will only cover the non-metallic paint, so don’t use the mentioned polishing-products on metallic paints! And this tutorial isn’t about detailing your car: detailing is a much more intensive and better way to make your Volvo as new. It needs more specialized products and methods which will take much more time than only polishing and waxing. Visit a specialized forum to learn more about detailing.

Please note: Volvotips isn’t responsible for any damage on your car when you followed this tutorial and made a mistake. Since paints can vary during the years the results also may vary. Be careful when you’re polishing your Volvo because you can damage the paint!

Needed products for refreshing the dull paint of your Volvo

There are many products on the market that will help your car look better. Not all of them are great or deliver what they’re promising. Before running to a local store: do some research for the products you want to use, because some brands are slightly better than the product you used before. For example: I used Turtle Wax before and it’s pretty good, but this time I bought Meguiars and it’s really better and easier to use! Some waxes and cleaning products will be much better than Meguiars or Turtle Wax, but not everywhere available or much more expensive.

Since I’m discussing to recover a faded and dull non-metallic paint I’ll use Commandant. Please note Commandant is excellent for old types paint (non-waterbased), but for paints which are used in the 90s and later it’s too agressive. Commandant is pretty agressive, so be careful and don’t ruin the paint of your Volvo. Since Commandant is a polishing product it doesn’t contain the protection you’ll need afterwards. It doesn’t seal the paint and you’ll need to wax (and seal) the car after you’ve polished the car.

Here are the items you’ll need:

  • a washed and dry Volvo with non-metallic paint
  • Commandant or any other polishing product
  • a big pack of polishing cloth
  • a good wax (a carnauba-based wax is recommended)
  • bumper cleaner or any other cleaner to remove rests of wax on the trims and bumpers


Refreshing a dull paint step-by-step

Follow the steps below to recover the dull paint of your Volvo. Click on the image for a larger version (will open in a new window/tab). Good luck!

 Volvo 740 red sedan dull faded paint
1. Before: the dull paint of my Volvo 740
 Volvo 740 before polishing waxing paint
2. Be sure the car is washed and dry before you start with polishing the car
 Volvo 740 dull faded cracked paint non-metallic
3. A close look on the dull paint: it doesn’t really shine a lot and has a lot of stripes in it
 Volvo 740 front hood before polishing waxing detailing
4. About every top panel of this Volvo 740 is very worn, dull and needs to be recovered
 Volvo 740 hood before waxing polishing freshing up
5. This Volvo used to be dark red, but the glory of the paint is pretty gone
 Volvo 740 front fender hood before polishing waxing
6. The front wing has some differences in the color of the paint
 Volvo 740 744 dull paint non-metallic worn fade
7. Another overview of the dull Volvo
 Volvo polishing waxing products recover refresh paint
8. The products I’ll be using. The panel of the trunk of this 740 isn’t very bad since I treated it with Turtle Wax earlier
 Volvo cloth polishing dull paint Commandant
9. Time to start! I’m beginning with the roof of my Volvo with a nice clean cloth and Commandant polish
 Volvo paint polish polishing commandant during
10. Gently make a rotating movement with the cloth. Don’t push too hard because the polish can damage the paint of your Volvo! And as you can see the paint will become pretty matt during the polishing


 Volvo Commandant polish during polishing cloth paint color
11. Don’t get scared of the color of the cloth: it’s normal the cloth will get the color of the paint while polishing
 Volvo 740 roof during polishing cloth
12. Wait for the polish to become even more matt and then start to polish up with a new clean cloth. After a few minutes your cloth will have the color of your car again
 Volvo paint swirls polishing dull
13. Keep polishing with a clean cloth until the paint is shining again
 Volvo 740 roof after polishing non-metallic paint
14. Job done! After polishing you’ll need to wax the car to protect the paint (Commandant doesn’t have any protection in it) but I’ll do that later in this tutorial
 Volvo 740 roof after polishing with Commandant polish
15. Another close look. Now you can repeat all the steps of polishing on all other panels of your Volvo
  Volvo polished dull paint before after
16. Unfortunately the repainted area around the side indicator light is still visible after polishing. To remove the wax off the trims you’ll need a bumper cleaner
 Volvo 740 doors dull paint
17. Work in progress while polishing. Here you can see the difference between a polished door and one that’s still dull. One door down, one to go!
 Volvo 740 front wing fender polished
18. The front fender also has some differences in color, but it’s not a new car of course
 Volvo 740 front hood after polishing
19. The hood of the Volvo 740 after polishing with Commandant polish. Much better!
 Volvo Meguiars carnauba wax
20. When all panels are polished, it’s time to wax the car. I’m using Meguiars carnauba wax


 Volvo meguiars carnauba wax during polishing detailing
21. The cloth is still getting red during waxing. Nothing to worry about!
 Volvo 740 sedan trunk waxed meguiars carnauba wax
22. The trunk after being waxed
 Volvo 740 roof waxing Meguiars carnauba wax
23. I’m using pretty much wax, but it’s needed after polishing my Volvo 740 because the paint was really dull
 Volvo 740 roof after first layer waxing carnauba wax
 Volvo 740 rear view after wax Meguiars
25. Done! Unfortunately it started to rain and it was pretty dark, so it’s hard to see the result
 Volvo 740 after waxing polishing evening
26. More rain, so still not the best way to show the result but the raindrops will tell you if the waxing was successful
 Volvo 740 after waxing paint rain
27. The front view after polishing and waxing (and still raining)
 Volvo 740 after polishing waxing detailing evening rain
28. When the rain was gone the result was finally visible. Not bad!
 Volvo 740 744 sedan red detailing waxing
29. One day later: it looks much better! But it appeared at some places the waxing wasn’t perfect (could be caused by the rain) and needed some extra care with a clean cloth
 Volvo 740 shiny after Meguiars waxing before detailing
30. The other side of the car, before I cleaned the car again


 Volvo 740 sedan red wax
31. Hard to believe the Volvo 740 was a dull car
 Volvo 740 detailing
32. After rubbing the car again with a clean cloth the Volvo is shining a lot
 Volvo 740 shiny
33. Not bad at all!
 Volvo 740 sedan detailing waxing meguiars
34. Every panel of my Volvo 740 sedan is shining again, since a long time
 Volvo 740 sedan after waxing polishing meguiars
35. Front view of the Volvo 740 after the extra rubbing with a clean cloth. The Meguiars wax will shine a lot more when you rub it again
 Volvo 740 roof after waxing polishing detailing shiny
36. The roof is as good as new! Hard to believe it’s a non-metallic paint
 Volvo 740 after detailing waxing non-metallic paint
37. Another rear view of my Volvo 740
 Volvo 740 sedan after shiny detailed
38. I’m very happy with the result. The only thing I’ll need to do is to clean the bumpers and trims to remove the wax residue on them


© Volvotips.com August 2012

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.