Home » Here’s How Range Rover’s Solving Satin Paint Problems Using Plastic

Here’s How Range Rover’s Solving Satin Paint Problems Using Plastic

Matte Finish Range Rover Ts Copy
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While buying a car off the lot will likely leave you in something greyscale, sifting through the options list may reveal some wild choices from color-shifting shades to refreshing non-metallics. While matte or satin finishes are now mainstream options, the maintenance of these finishes can be unbearable for a daily driver.

Fortunately, several manufacturers including Land Rover and Ford are using plastic film for a satin finish without satin paint needs, and it’s something you can do to your car, should you wish.

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Matte paint jobs may be a cliché now, but the look had its first watershed moment when hot rodders sprayed their unfinished machines in primer and then cruised the strip or tore up the track.

Satin paint also has a hand in hot rod history, and starting in the mid-2000s, more and more people started rediscovering the trend of old. While a single matte black 2004 Ferrari Enzo can likely be seen as an early example of a manufacturer abiding by the low-gloss trend, factory matte and satin finishes really took off in the 2010s, with manufacturers from Lamborghini to Hyundai offering the option.

Matte Black Ferrari Enzo
RM Sotheby’s

However, traditional matte and satin finishes are largely a case of style over practicality. When Hyundai released the 2013 Veloster Turbo with a matte paint option, it gave dealers a technical service bulletin detailing the particularly ornery requirements of matte paint care. Take a deep breath, because Hyundai’s list goes long:

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  • Matte paint must not be rubbed with fabrics or abrasives that could polish the paint.
  • All chemicals and cleaners used should be products designed to be used for matte paint finishes.
  • Normal solvent cleaners can be used only IF there is no rubbing and the cloths used are soft enough for use with matte finishes (some exceptions apply – so test very carefully). Clean with
    an appropriate car wash solution or spot clean an alcohol and water solution (see below).
  • Pressure washing is a great way to clean the paint. Keep the pressure under 2500 PSI, use a fan tip, and keep the fan tip 10” or more from the paint.
  • Pressure washing hoses may cause damage to the paint if allowed to slide on the vehicle. Take care to carefully reposition your hoses as you move the pressure washing gun around the
    vehicle.
  • Do not use automatic wash equipment or any machine operated equipment that touches the
    paint. The repetitive motion will cause polish or burnish marks in the paint.
  • After washing, dry the paint with a damp, clean chamois. Do not let water spots form. Pull the chamois across the paint with a light pressure.
  • If your dealership normally applies a wax, use a wax developed specifically for matte paint.
  • If your dealership does not use a wax, fingerprints and dust can be removed with an alcohol-based window cleaner or a mix of alcohol and water (10% to 50% mix ratios are OK) with a microfiber cloth. Additionally, there are cleaners available specifically for matte paint.
  • Do NOT use dry terrycloth, it may cause a burnish mark on the paint. Damp terrycloth will be OK if used with very light pressure (test very carefully before using).

In addition to these dealer prep tips from Hyundai, matte or satin paint requires additional care in the wild. Scratches on these finishes can’t be polished out like they can on a glossy surface, so marks that might polish out on glossy paint may require paintwork on a matte or satin car. In addition, bird dirt can quickly damage matte paint through etching or discoloration, at which point the damage becomes a body shop job. Oh, and rock chips can’t be repaired by building up layers of paint and wet-sanding like what’s possible with a glossy finish. Add in the fact that not every body shop is trained to repair matte or satin paint, and this particular style trend can prove costly in the long run.

Rrs 25my Stealth 040424 11

So, what’s the solution here? Well, several automakers and aftermarket firms are having success with satin paint protection film. Take the new Range Rover Sport with the recently announced Stealth Pack, for example. Instead of matte or satin paint, it comes wrapped in satin paint protective film (PPF) that covers a glossy paint finish, diffusing light for a satin effect. The result is an SUV that looks to have been sprayed satin, but heals its own scratches, can simply be washed as normal minus wax application, and is substantially easier to care for than a painted satin finish.

Xpel Stealth Raptor

Land Rover started using satin PPF on the current Defender, and Ford offers satin PPF as an option on the Mustang. This emerging OEM trend has the aftermarket to thank for its viability as a factory option. For instance, XPEL, the company that made the PPF for David’s Jeep YJ Wrangler, also offers a satin film it calls Stealth. It can be applied over any glossy color to give it a satin finish, then simply peeled off when you get bored of it, revealing shiny factory paint beneath.

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Rrs 25my Stealth 040424 01

For now, the only downside is cost. Covering an entire car in paint protection film isn’t a cheap proposition, with pricing starting at around $5,000. It’s a labor-intensive process, but given the cost and particulars of satin paint repair, it’s highly likely that satin PPF may be a money saver in the long run for those who wish to maintain a perfect finish and would otherwise be spending on paint repair and maintenance. It’s also worth considering that satin PPF still offers a higher sheen than a matte finish, but it’s on par with BMW’s Frozen line of colors, Mercedes-Benz’s Magno series of finishes, and most other low-gloss factory finishes. So, if you want a satin finish on your next car, maybe skip ticking the option box and instead seek out a local PPF installer. It might cost more upfront, but satin PPF is far easier to maintain and repair than satin paint.

(Photo credits: Land Rover, XPEL)

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Walmart Shoes
Walmart Shoes
2 months ago

Matte paint jobs are so stupid. Just get a wrap. It’s still stupid, but less so.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
2 months ago

“Bird dirt.” I think I’m going to start calling my butt nuggets “human dirt” in polite company.

Gotta drop off some human dirt.

Anyway, yeah—I’ve seen matte-ifying PPF in the wild for a while now, and it seems like a much better way to go about this.

Last edited 2 months ago by Stef Schrader
Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
2 months ago

Reminds me to never use matte paint- what a pain! Ok, where’s my rattle can?

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
2 months ago

I don’t mind the matte look, per se, in certain applications (camera cars, of course, but also off-road vehicles and ones that being shiny would be an issue).

The PPF idea isn’t bad on its face, and definitely requires less upkeep than matte paint on a regular basis.

However, PPF is only good for about 3-5 years before it needs to be replaced, generally speaking. Taking it off can be about as labor-intensive as putting it on, AND runs the risk of peeling paint up with it, even if removed carefully by professionals. So the film meant to protect (and change the texture appearance, in this case) the paint winds up damaging it.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
2 months ago

When I bought the base car for my competition drift build it was green, white, yellow and red. My sponsor’s logo was black and orange. So I rattle-canned the car with satin black, in a field not a spray booth. The paint was already ruined, at least it would be just one colour.

It looked fine, and the orange stickers really popped.

In drifting you pick up a lot of body damage, just a single delaminating tyre can damage your rear fender, roof and door. Then every now and then you tag a wall.

The joy of rattle-can satin is that it gives the same finish at the edges of the spray as it does in the middle, so you can just cover any scratches with new paint any time it’s not raining. No sanding no buffing just terrible overspray that seamlessly blends. So easy to look after.

The idea of paying thousands for it as an option that is then a nightmare to look after is baffling to me. Just rattle can your own car you cowards. It’ll look just as terrible but it’ll be cheap and easy to look after.

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
2 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Exactly.
So many of my cheap road cars ended up rattlecanned in matt or satin black, either because the original colour was terrible, it had mismatched panels, or because after a while, it just became kind of my signature. Several also got quick and dirty flames, with a very basic tape making job, base coat or rattlecan white then white/yellow/orange/red transitioning from front to back. I could do an entire paint job and flames in one day.
The crowning glory on one of my Datsun 510s came one boring Saturday when i found a small can of white enamel and small paintbrush in the shed, and knocked out a quick skull and crossbones covering the whole roof, just for giggles. It ended up immortalised in a photo exhibition celebrating the 25th anniversary of a nearby K-Mart, which was the first K-Mart in the southern hemisphere – the big aerial photo of the shopping centre revealed my car parked in a nearby street outside my house, clearly identifiable by the skull on the roof!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
2 months ago
Reply to  Morgan Thomas

This makes me unreasonably happy
Can you post a link to that photo?
( I do understand if reluctant to post your location)

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
2 months ago
Reply to  Morgan Thomas

Skull and crossbones on the roof! I wish I’d thought of that.

My first drift car was an old E30 320 that was white with big patches of pink filler on nearly every panel. After it survived its first track day we sprayed it satin black. The paint cost more than the car did.

We lent it to a guy who’s car had broken half way through a competition and his race number was 8, so when we got it back to the shed my mate painted an eight ball on the bonnet.

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
2 months ago

I’d prefer a $5000 upcharge to not have the paint be 100% orange peel. The paint on the SL63 that Throttle House reviewed on their second channel is atrocious.

Dudeoutwest
Dudeoutwest
2 months ago

Satin paint = 3 spoke wheels.

Church
Church
2 months ago

Command/Control-F “saturn” 0 results 🙁

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago

This is unquestionably the better option. I have a friend with a matte grey RS6 and it’s an absolute nightmare to keep clean and matted.

The Dude
The Dude
2 months ago

The only problem here is that I’d have to buy a Range Rover, and that’s not going to happen for so many reasons.

Ca Hu
Ca Hu
2 months ago

I support matte finishes for cars. They help me ID the douchebags easily on the road to stay away and are an easy way to know when to run away from a used car.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
2 months ago

Ducati had a flat black in their low-end models back in the late 90’s early 00’s. It was nearly indestructible paint, quite a contrast to Ducati’s mechanical and electrical reliability.

It’s a shame to hear of all these new options that are such delicate flowers that wilt in the sunshine.

Honestly, I’d rather see some colours. Is a VW Harlequin joke too soon?

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
2 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Harlequin joke feels right on time to me!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
2 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I firmly believe Harlequin jokes are always in order

Joke #119!
Joke #119!
2 months ago

I want a shiny new car. Extremely shiny. And I do not want the paint to fade after one summer. Not too much to ask, eh?

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
2 months ago
Reply to  Joke #119!

Dreamer.

Paul B
Paul B
2 months ago
Reply to  Joke #119!

chrome the whole car with the thick stuff they used in the 50’s.

Ben
Ben
2 months ago

I wonder if you get the same kind of effect just spraying clear Plastidip over a color. I used it to put a matte finish on some obnoxious chrome trim in my interior and I’ve been really happy with the results.

Red865
Red865
2 months ago

I guess I’m old skool….back in the day, if you were driving a matte black/gray car, your ass was broke! You couldn’t afford to get it further than the primer.
1st time I saw a matte black Mercedes coupe, I was like ‘Why???’.
Why would you pay big bucks for a Porsche in primer gray:)

Last edited 2 months ago by Red865
Red865
Red865
2 months ago
Reply to  Red865

Same with the all black wheels…reminds me of the poverty spec black steel wheels.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
2 months ago
Reply to  Red865

Or, worse, someone who’s wrapped an old car right over the rust.

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
2 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Or worse again – someone who has sprayed clearcoat over rust: “It’s patina!”

Beekeo
Beekeo
2 months ago
Reply to  Red865

Yeah my highschool ride was a ‘79 Fairmount that promptly got a rattle-can paint job in satin black to cover the combination of blue, rust and primer

It was a definite improvement but there is a wide gulf between a malaise-era ford the same age as its teenage driver and a brand new luxury suv driven by a tax lawyer

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
2 months ago
Reply to  Red865

Are you Abe Simpson?

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
2 months ago

I was really hoping to see a Matt Hardigree wrapped Range Rover

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
2 months ago

Ugh. I was over satin paint once my odometer hit my 20s. Unfortunately, my spouse is obsessed with having a matte/satin paintjob on a car. It just screams cheap to me these days, even though it’s far more expensive. I guess I just prefer shiny.

JTilla
JTilla
2 months ago

Once you have to clean matte/satin you realize how stupid it is.

Cerberus
Cerberus
2 months ago
Reply to  JTilla

I just had the center part of a hood and a trunk painted with an epoxy paint that, even though it was more durable and less fussy than regular paint, was still a PITA to keep looking decent.

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
2 months ago
Reply to  JTilla

I never washed any of my rattle-canned matt black cars unless I really had to, since tha water came off black! Still, a respray at the time cost about $30 in spray cans, so if it got bad enough it just got a new coat!

Cerberus
Cerberus
2 months ago

I just see a sad fad chaser. Aesthetics are highly questionable and it’s high maintenance and cost—even as a PPF, which isn’t designed to be on there forever (though on something like a Range Rover that nobody wants to own outside of warranty, that’s probably fine).

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