Exterior Finish Care

Care and Cleaning of Your Vehicle’s Exterior Finish

pl-exterior-finish-care-2016ABOUT YOUR PAINT FINISH

Your PL Custom or Rescue 1 Emergency Vehicle body (and sometimes the cab of your vehicle, if re-painted by PL Custom,) has been painted with high quality automotive urethane paint that equals or exceeds the chassis manufacturer’s O.E.M paint finish. PL Custom is using an Akzo Nobel Sikkens paint system designed for emergency vehicles with an epoxy primer then a sealer, then a base coat for color and then two top coats of clear. This gives your vehicle’s substrate five layers of protection averaging 7 mils of paint protection.


When caring for your new paint finish, a mild detergent soap recommended for automotive finishes should be used along with a clean soft bristle brush or sponge-type mitt recommended for automotive finishes only. It is recommended that your vehicle be thoroughly rinsed to remove any debris before cleaning with an automotive washing brush or mitt to prevent scratching your paint surface. The use of a high pressure water nozzle or power washer in prohibited. It can force water and debris into unwanted areas of the vehicle and cause damage. It can also damage components and


• Wash vehicles in shade, never in direct sun.

• Wash by hand using a clean sponge, mitt or soft brush with hot water (when possible) and a very mild vehicle-recommended washing soap.

• Allow the vehicle to air dry or wipe dry using clean chamois or cotton cloths/rags.

• If using high-pressure power washer, maintain a minimum distance of four feet from vehicle’s surface to the wand sprayer. Any closer may cause damage to paint and decals.

• Do not “dry wipe” the apparatus. Dry wiping may scratch the finish.

• If vehicle is washed indoors, dry thoroughly using clean cotton rags.

• Don’t forget the area behind the rub rails when cleaning the rest of the vehicle.

• Periodically remove equipment from compartment floors, remove Dri-Dek and clean the compartment floors.


When you apply wax or sealant, it should always be applied by hand using the applicator recommended by the product’s manufacturer and removed using the cloth recommended by the product’s manufacturer. The use of any type of mechanical devise to apply or remove wax may cause swirls in your paint finish and can damage the graphics applied to your vehicle.


If your organization chooses to have your vehicle professionally detailed, your detailer should be given a copy of this page from your owner’s manual outlining proper processes and procedures.


In addition to the above information, your water, be it city water or well water, may contain chemicals or minerals that can harm your paint finish and may need to be filtered to ensure it will not damage or harm your paint finish. This can be determined by having your water tested by a local water testing company for its purity and contents.


The use of commercial car and truck washes is not recommended do to the use of harsh chemicals and high pressure water, which force water and debris into areas it would not normally get into, also damaging components and graphics. In addition, some of the chemicals used in commercial washes may harm your paint’s finish.



Included with your new vehicle is touch-up paint for each color applied to your vehicle by PL in the event you need to touch up any small scratches or damage to your new paint finish. It is important to seal any paint damage with the touch up paint provided to maintain the integrity of your paint’s finish and prevent further paint deterioration in the damaged areas.



Dark color vehicles (black, blue, red, etc.) will show swirl marks, scratches, and damage more readily then light color vehicles and will require more care in maintaining their finish and luster. Additional care should be taken in the maintenance of any vehicle with dark body, cab, or stripe color.


Paint is the first line of defense in keeping apparatus in service and operating properly. In areas along the coast or in the winter belt where roads are treated, it’s even more critical.  Untreated corrosion is one of the biggest factors in degrading not only apparatus appearance but also overall safe operation of the vehicle. Keeping the paint finish bright and intact on apparatus means taking some steps during the full life of the truck, including right after delivery.

Never use an ice scraper to remove ice or snow. This will cause scratches.

Never use abrasive cleaners, chemicals, steel wool, or scuff pads directly on the finish. Doing so will cause damage to the finish.

Never let fuel, antifreeze, transmission fluid or windshield solvent stand on painted surfaces. Rinse them off as soon as possible.


Daily, or after each run: Wash and dry body, cab, door sills and under side of doors.

Monthly: Remove Dri-Dek and clean compartment floors.

Quarterly: Wax or professional detailing.


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