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Back-To-Basics: Fisheyes

Sometimes going back-to-basics can make the difference between a quality repair and a failed repair. When it comes to spraying refinish materials, there are some common mistakes that can easily be avoided in order to prevent fisheyes.

Fisheyes are small crater-like openings in the refinish material. It is caused by a contaminated area on a panel that repels refinish materials. They typically appear in wet material and can be seen in one small spot or several areas. Some other things that can cause fisheyes are:

  • Silicone in the air, from a previous repair, on a towel, in the air lines, or in a car care product that was used on the vehicle (waxes, polishes, lubricants).
  • Oil or grease.
  • Contaminants introduced by technician (oily skin, grease from food).
  • Diesel motor exhaust gasses.

Before refinishing a vehicle or beginning repairs, look for signs of possible products like waxes or polishes being used, and clean the repair area with a product recommended by the paint maker. Oil can gather in air lines which can transfer on the panel being refinished and the air around the vehicle. Make sure air line filters are changed in order to keep oil from contaminating the air around and directly on the repair area itself. Avoid using products containing silicone near the repair area. Before sanding on a panel that might contain silicone product or other waxes, wash well with soap and water to make sure that residues are not being sanded and scratched into the repair area. Do not run diesel engines near the spray booth during the refinishing process, as this can also contaminate the refinish area. Lastly, make sure your hands are washed and that gloves are worn when repairing or refinishing in order to avoid oil transfer from your hands to the refinish area.

These are just a few examples on how fisheyes can occur, and how to avoid it. Always follow the paint maker instructions and standard operating procedures to ensure a complete, safe, and quality repair.

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