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How to: Prevent and Eliminate Fisheyes
on a Newly Painted Vehicle

How can I fix minor circular defects or craters in my car paint?

Small circular-shaped defects in your car paint, some with a tiny crater in the center, are known as fisheyes. You can eliminate them on wet paint by removing the wet paint, adding a fisheye eliminator to your paint, and applying a new finish. If the paint has already dried, you will need to sand it down and refinish it.

In this article, I’ll answer common questions about preventing fisheyes and eliminating the condition when it happens.

  • What are fisheyes?
  • What causes fisheyes?
  • How can I repair a surface with fisheyes?
  • How do I prevent fisheyes?

What are fisheyes?

Paint fisheyes are small round or circular-shaped defects that often have a tiny crater in the center. They typically appear as white dots with circles of paint around them.

What causes fisheyes?

  • Contaminated painting surfaces can result in fisheyes. Contamination may result from spraying over surfaces that have oil, wax, silicone, or grease on them.
  • Using a thinner or reducer instead of a solvent cleaner.
  • Spraying over previously repainted areas containing a fisheye eliminator product.

How can I repair a painted surface with fisheyes?

To repair a paint finish with fisheyes, take one of the following actions:

  • Remove the wet paint with a solvent, then clean and refinish.
  • Add the recommended fisheye eliminator to your paint and respray the affected area.
  • If fisheyes appear in a basecoat, allow the color to flash, then spray a mist coat over the area. DO NOT use fisheye eliminator on undercoats or on the basecoat color.
  • If the paint has dried, sand to a smooth finish below the fisheye cratering, then refinish.

How do I prevent fisheyes?

There are four key things you can do to keep fisheyes from happening on a new topcoat:

  1. Thoroughly clean the surface that will be painted with detergent and hot water, then use a recommended solvent cleaner on it. Once completed, wipe the surface dry with clean rags.
  2. Use a fisheye eliminator that is specifically recommended for the topcoat.
  3. Install an air filtering system that removes and prevents oil and moisture contamination.
  4. Maintain an effective air supply in your paint gun by draining, cleaning, and changing the filter(s) regularly.

Following these tips will help you prevent fisheyes from happening in your car paint.