Superior Auto Body Saskatoon has been in business since 1961, and we have been an SGI ELITE Autobody shop and have been SGI accredited since 1982. There are many reasons we have so many loyal longstanding clients from all over the city, but mostly it is the small, personal touches that we offer to people who have been unfortunate enough to require our services. We offer newer model courtesy cars and vans for our clients..and to help out we will also pick up your vehicle and take it to your SGI appointment for you and deliver the courtesy car to you at home. In our latest auto body tip, we discuss polymer degradation and share prevention tips.
A polymer is basically a part that is made up of a string of molecular components that are similar; in other words, plastic, rubber, vinyl, and the like. When we talk about a vehicle, polymer parts are just about anything that isn’t made out of metal. If you take a look at your vehicle, you probably see polymer parts immediately. Many polymer parts aren’t painted, they’re made out of polymer plastic designed to be that particular colour. The trim around the doors is often a polymer. There’s likely polymer in the grill, around the windows, and often much of the trim all the way around the vehicle.
In essence, a large part of your vehicle is made of polymers, and those polymers are subject to degradation over time. Unfortunately, Saskatchewan weather can speed that process up!
What is Polymer Degradation?
There are two basic ways that items break down. Most of us are familiar with biodegrading material. That is how organic matter decomposes. Anything from paper to food scraps, to wood that isn’t maintained will biodegrade. But man-made items like plastic and Styrofoam break down through a process called photodegrading. That is, when they’re exposed to light, the components start to break apart and deteriorate. Polymers used on vehicles can degrade in a few other ways as well. Exposure to air pollution, such as car exhaust, can cause them to degrade faster. The same goes with dirt, road grime, and other pollutants that can get onto the polymers. When they degrade, they don’t rot in the sense that we think about food and other organic matter rotting. Instead, they become brittle. They may crack, fade, or chip. They’re not as flexible as they once were, and they certainly aren’t as strong as before.
That fading is especially seen in black polymers. They turn grey and often people mistake their degradation for having leftover wax that wasn’t buffed out. That can be the case, but most often, it’s not wax.
Here is the good news! If you take care of your vehicle, you can slow the polymer degradation as it comes along. It’s all about taking great care of your vehicle.
- Keeping your vehicle clean of dust, dirt, tar, and grime is the first step to making sure the polymer parts don’t fall apart faster than you hope. We recommend regular washes, and make sure you have your vehicle detailed twice every year (at very least once per year!).
- In addition to the detailing, you will want to use a product designed to protect polymers. Don’t grab the cheapest cleaner you can find, those will often speed up the degradation rather than prevent it.
Our team at Superior take pride in their workmanship… as we always say,
“When we get through it’s just like new”.
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