How long after painting a car can you drive it?

I dropped my Honda off for a new paint job two days ago, and they called me this morning saying I could drive my car home already. I am excited to get it, but that seems a little fast to me. How long after painting a car can you drive it?

Answer
A freshly painted car is safe to drive after 24 hours. I understand being nervous, but you should be okay to pick up your vehicle today! Before you leave the body shop, check the paint job in bright light to ensure you don’t see any defects in the work.
While the car is safe to drive home, professionals say the paint job isn’t fully cured for about 60 to 90 days. So here are a few precautions to take with your car in the meantime:
  • Don’t get a car wash: Wait until at least 30 days have passed before getting a car wash. Even then, do it yourself with gentle soap and water. Harsh chemicals can ruin your new paint job while it is in this delicate state.
  • Don’t wax your car: Wait until you pass the 90-day mark before you wax your vehicle. At that point, you can wash and wax your vehicle like usual.
  • Park it in a safe palace: It is best to keep your car garaged during this time as much as you can. When driving, make sure to park it away from sappy trees, direct sunlight, and birds as much as possible.
Also, don’t forget to contact your insurance provider and let them know you have made modifications to your car. If your paint job is a specialty job, you may need to add additional coverage to your policy so that you are adequately covered.
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Shannon Martin
Answered on Nov 05, 2021
Shannon is an expert in personal lines liability insurance with 13 + years of insurance industry experience. She also served as a special insurance liaison to AARP members for 6 of those years. She is a graduate of UL Lafayette and currently resides in NY with her family. Shannon is also an amateur juggler, ukulele player, and is a time travel paradox theory enthusiast.
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