What does I-CAR say about preparation step for aluminum panels prior to refinishing?


Per I-CAR curriculum: "When working with aluminum:

  • do not use grits coarser then P80. Aluminum scratches very easily and can be difficult to mask due to its softness of aluminum.
  • clean bare metal surfaces with soap and water. This will remove any water-soluble contaminants. Follow this with the use of wax and grease remover. These two steps will ensure a clean part with no contaminants.
  • apply a metal cleaner and conversion coating made specifically for aluminum, if required.

When preparing aluminum parts for refinishing:

  • remove the oxide by sanding or abrading the surface.
  • uncoated aluminum needs to be recleaned. The rate that aluminum oxidizes varies depending on temperature and humidity levels. After being left uncoated for an extended period of time, the aluminum creates an aluminum oxide coating that needs to be removed.

The preparation steps for a bare or repaired aluminum part are similar to bare and repaired steel.

Do not use the refinish tools and sanding materials interchangeably for steel and aluminum. Cross contamination from steel particles into the aluminum will cause galvanic corrosion to occur. This will cause premature metal damage and paint failure."