Originally Posted by redstart
I have a dumb question - what is the purpose of clear coat? Is it to keep the aluminum from oxidizing?
The clear coat or plasticoat as it's sometimes called, protects the aluminum, from the air we humans breathe.
It lasts 5 to 6 years, and then must be stripped and recoated.
If you strip the clear coat, and polish the metal, you must wash and wax it, every 30 days. If not, it will slowly start oxidizing.
If the trailer is within 50 miles of salt water, then washing and waxing every week becomes necessary.
Or, you can strip the trailer, and go through the process of painting it metallic silver. When done properly, a once a year wax job will keep that paint job good for at least 20 years.
The least cost per lifetime year, is actually the metallic silver. The polish jobs are expensive to have done, and expensive to maintain.
Automotive clear, by the way, cannot be used on an Airstream, as it will peel off like a plastic sheet. Automotive clear is designed to adhere to paint, not bare sheetmetal.