At least a month, do not wash it, wax it or use any solvents on the paint for at least a month EVER! "You may rinse it with clean water but nothing else, just rinse to keep the crud off, after 30 days from ppainting you may wash and wax.
With a good base coat/clear coat, you can pretty much wash it after a couple of days. The people in body shops are color sanding and buffing the following day after painting. Although, it does depend on how it is cured. A good paint booth is heated.
41willys, color sanding and buffing the next day on a heat cured paint job is alright because none of the suipplies used contain contaminants. Washing and waxing detergents and coating could contaminate the paint and cause it to bubble or nameless other freakish things. Waxes prevents the paints finish to "breath" and exspend evaporating gases. Just as you said, the length of time depends on the application perameters, but a safe rule of thumb is 30 days
I HAD MY CAR BASE/CLEAR COATED 3 YEARS AGO. I WENT TO THE GUY WHO PAINTED IT LAST SUMMER AND ASKED HIM WHAT KIND OF WAX TO USE HE ONCE AGAIN SAID "NONE" I HAVE NEVER WAXED MY CAR YET EXCEPT FOR THE VERY NOSE TO HELP AGAINST ROCK CHIPPING. IT STILL LOOKS LIKE IT WAS JUST PAINTED. T'HELL WITH IT.
Hey your right, 30 days is an excellent rule of thumb before washing and waxing, but do you actually think that the body shops and custom paint places will color sand and buff, then let the compounds sit for 30 more days? No they do not. It all depends on the type of paint used and how it is cured. Even though heat cured always seems (to me) to look the best prior to buffing. It will not hurt the paint, unless you are using something along the lines of lets say acrylic enamel, but that is becoming less common.
I work in a large Mercedes, BMW, GM Dealer body shop and many times the paint is sanded and buffed within an hour after it comes out of one of the bake cycle of the spraybooths. Although I don't agree with the process, I have yet to see a paint failure as a result of the process.Many of the acrylic urethanes will buff best within 48 hours after application and baking.However if you are doing a paintjob in your garage at home and letting it air dry then I would do as the others say and wait about 30 days before sanding buffing, and waxing.
That is correct. When I get my car finished, which will be paint, it will not be color sanded and buffed right away either. I work with acrylic urethanes myself, and grew up in the auto body business and custom cars. I am not an expert in anyway, but I know what is safe and what is not. I know you shouldn't use solvents and the sort, but the evaporation of escaping paint solvents in today's paint systems is much quicker.
[ September 14, 2002: Message edited by: 41willys ]</p>
An even better rule of thumb is to wait until the painted surface quits beading water,then it is safe to wax your fresh paint.I have waxed fresh paint the next day after I colorsanded and buffed it.Of course I used a carnauba wax,not a silicone based wax.Carnauba wax will allow the solvents to escape the painted surfaces.When washing,use a liquid car wash soap,not dish detergent.
I guess I am of the old school I still believe in waiting for atleast 30 days before waxing. I believe in it so much that I have just waxed my pick-up for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It is a 1993! I think the paint has cured on it long enough.
I have found if you wetsand with 1000 grit and wait 3-4 weeks and wetsand with 1500 grit then with 2000 then you can buff and glaze, just be sure you have enough clear, this will give the solvents time to cure and you should't have any shrinking.