BMW Frozen Paint Guidelines

Red BMW with Frozen Paint

Photo: BMW Group

BMW released a video last week on caring for their factory matte, “Frozen” paint jobs. Such paint jobs are exclusive, and as the BMW rep in the video below states, this unique finish is currently only offered on the exclusive M performance line. As you know, BMW released a press release explaining the proper way to care for this hot new paint…and much of the information is very good. It includes a lot of stuff we’ve been saying for a long time, but some of it is a bit misguided. In any case, it inspired us to list a few of what we consider to be the most important things to keep in mind when dealing with matte paint..

Here they are:

  • Do not polish or wax the vehicle.
  • Do not use mechanical means of cleaning the surface.
  • Remove insect remains, tar and other residues immediately.
  • Always keep your paint protected.

In the video, they do a great job of telling you what you should know, but they don’t really tell you why. I guess you could say I’m here to fill the gap and fill you in on the reasoning behind their statements. Here goes…

    1. BMW’s experts are exactly right, do not use polish or wax on your matte paint. Polishing, an abrasive process, is meant to smooth out the surface and level off imperfections. Problem is, matte paint appears flat because of imperfections in the clear coat layer. When you polish, you’re effectively diminishing your matte car’s ability to retain light. Similarly, waxing your car with any sort of paste or carnauba will fill those same imperfections, leveling the surface once more. Think about waxing over a tiny scratch on a “regular” car… when you wax over it, it will become less visible because light reflects more easily off of the less-imperfect surface. There you have it.
      • Matte Rule #1: Do not wax or polish.


    1. Somebody get a bell, BMW got another one right… do not use any mechanical or automated means of cleaning your matte paint. Basically it boils down to NEVER buffing your matte paint, and NEVER taking it to an automatic car wash. Any sort of high-speed (buffer) or repetitive motion (twirling brushes, dragging noodles, etc.) will cause harm to the matte finish. Always wash by hand with a pH balanced matte specific car wash soap.
      • Matte Rule #2: No mechanical means of cleaning.


    1. Call it a hat-trick, always remove insect remains, tar, sap, oil, overspray, bird poop, etc., etc., etc. from your paint immediately. This one’s super simple, but given their next claim, you’d think it’d be tough to do, but you’ll soon see it’s not as hard as it looks.
        • Matte Rule #3: Clean stuff off your paint immediately.


    2. This last point is important, and it’s in response to some…questionable advice BMW gives in it’s video. Yes, some of the products they mention (microfiber, wax, sealants, and detail sprays) can damage your paint… unless you’ve done your homework. So what do I mean by homework? Well let’s start with microfibers. Microfiber towels are the absolutely safest towel to use on the market due to their absorbent, plush, and lint free characteristics (read more on microfiber). They don’t drag contaminants across the surface like a chamois or cotton towel, they don’t leave streaks, and their water retention is nothing short of admirable. That said, they can be damaging if there is an exposed seam coming in contact with the paint, or in the event that the towel is soiled – yes – any towel will do damage. Next, applying any type of wax or sealant does pose the risk of damaging paint. Applying just about anything with a terry or microfiber applicator to a dry surface will microscopically harm your paint and cause minor surface scratches (read more on scratches).For that very reason, we developed Matte Paint Sealant (liquid) which uses water – by leaving the car wet after washing – in the bonding process to create a long lasting, durable layer of protection against the effects of dust, debris, contaminants, and more. Any protection product using silicones, waxes, paste, or carnauba to any extent will either increase the gloss rating of your matte finish or do damage to the clear coat. Lastly, final inspection type products usually use microfiber towels, and as I stated before, if you have a crappy microfiber towel, you’re probably going to do a bit of damage. Other than that, the only damage a traditional detail spray would do to your paint is leave a shine – typically most final inspection sprays use large amounts of fillers and silicones to leave a “normal” car with a deeper shine. As far as Matte Rule #4 goes, it’s safe to say BMW left a little out…
      • Matte Rule #4 is arguably the single most important rule for matte car owners. I cannot stress enough the importance of protecting your paint, as that is the only way to preserve it’s factory no-shine look. Truth is, everything covered in Rule #3 becomes a whole lot easier when you protect your paint. Removing water stains gets easier, getting bird crap off your car gets easier, and most importantly, it all gets much less damaging to your paint when you have a protective barrier on top of your clear coat. And don’t worry… when you need to apply a matte final inspection spray to remove finger prints, dust spots and the like, that premium microfiber towel you’re using won’t be doing damage to the matte finish. There’s no silicone, no fillers, and no wax in the formulation. So there you have it… Protect your matte paint regularly with a no-shine, no wax, non-filling matte paint sealant specifically designed for the uniqueness of your paint.


Here’s the video (the juicy stuff starts at 1:35):

While you’re at it, check out the matte Range Rover we got a chance to detail. More pics and videos coming soon. Lots of content coming your way!

Let us know what you think. Get at us if you have any matte questions, and keep regular on Behind the Detail for everything matte paint.

  • Marty

    What if I have a scratch in my flat paint what can I do? I will rather not repaint. Can I use touch up?

    • Marty,

      Your only option if you want it to come out 100% is to have the panel resprayed. If you don’t mind using touch up paint you can certainly go that route. The scratch will be much less noticeable, but you won’t be able to get it perfect. If your car was painted by a third party, contact your painter and see if you can get some touch up paint from them. You’ll probably need to go over the area with a matte or eggshell clear coat after touching up. If the paint is factory then the manufacturer should have some type of touch up solution available.

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  • hsa

    If you did wax your car, what would happen? Would it damage the paint?

    • It’s very possible that wax would harm the finish of the car. It won’t instantly make it shiny as some people seem to think, but wax can cause splotches and unevenness on the paint finish. Often times it will leave a white film or residue that is incredibly difficult (in same cases impossible) to remove.

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  • Nice article and I think I have another product to add to my arsenal for matte finished rides. What a huge difference in approach compared to conventional clearcoat/basecoat paint finishes.

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  • Dave

    Why all the talk about avoiding microfiber towels?? That doesn’t make sense to me. It’s not like a microfiber towel has any polishing properties to it. If nothing else, I would think that a microfiber towel would help keep a matte paint looking new as it helps to eliminate scratches like some synthetic towels tend to cause.

    • Dave,

      You’re exactly right. Basically their point is that anything is abrasive if you want it to be. What really blows my mind is that I’ve seen chamois recommended for matte cars. Stick with microfiber.


  • Austin

    I am *this* close to purchasing/putting a down payment on a turbo veloster with a matte grey factory finish. The deciding factor here is whether or not to get the matte paint. I’m not exactly a huge fan of hand washing my car frequently (though I will from time to time). Since this is the case, would a touch-less car wash suffice? As for the bugs, what might happen if i let them stay on the front of the car for a prolonged period of time? The last thing I want to do is pay an extra grand for a paint job that’ll look like crap if I don’t baby it. Thanks!

    • So a touch-less car wash basically utilizes strong chemicals to replace any type of mechanism, glossing agents for a shine, and air to dry. You can see right away there are two potential issues. First, harsh chemicals will strip protection – it’s what they’re designed to do. Secondly, if the touch-less car wash uses glossing agents (fillers, silicones, any type of liquified carnauba wax, etc.) at all, the surface will look a little blotchy and uneven when it comes out the other end. Now that doesn’t go to say it will look bad, but over time it’s not the best option for your car’s finish.

      The first point is a bit more important here because a bare matte surface is susceptible (just as much as a bare glossy car) to environmental fallout and airborne debris and, because it can’t be polished later on, could put you in a tricky situation. We always say keep the car protected and a touch-less eliminates that primary principle of matte paint care. That’s really my only concern.

      As a suggestion, try finding a local hand wash. There are plenty out there and you can check with the IDA to see if there is one near you. In the event that there is (and there should), they will certainly use our products if you have them, and if you recommend them for your car they should be interested in supplying it regularly so they can wash your matte car as well as the many others soon to be on the road. Also… the Matte Paint Prescription comes with the new Turbo so all you’d really have to do is take the kit to a hand wash. This, in my opinion, is the best way to go.

      Hope this helps and let us know what you decide!

      – James

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  • Anthony

    I’m also thinking of buying a Matte Gray Turbo Veloster. Looking at some of the pricing of these matte car care products I’m begining to reconsider if its going to cost me a small fortune just to keep my car looking good. I usually wash my car once every two weeks or a little more often depending on the weather. A basic wash at about $8- $12 per wash has kept my past vehicles (normal glossy paint cars) looking pretty good for a long time. So my question is how often will I have to wash a car with a matte paint finish. Thanks, and I really like the fact that you really provide great responses and info related to car care.

    • Anthony,

      Thanks for your question and I’m happy to help. There’s no difference here between a matte and a glossy car – as it gets dirty, wash it. Whether that’s once a week or once every two, it’s up to you. Our products have been formulated to last a long time and will work great with whatever your routine is… Matte Body Wash, for example, should last about 8 car washes (roughly $3.75 a wash if you’re not counting mitts or towels). I wouldn’t worry.

      Hope this helps. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you need anything else.


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  • Chris

    hey guys, found some great info on how to protect matte paint here. Im based in India and am painting my royal enfield a matte battlegreen, just want to know if there are any websites where i can order the ‘matte paint sealant’ from. Would really like to keep my royal enfield looking good.

  • cory

    hi i have got a matte grey bike and the person who had it before spilt somewthing onit and polished it on the toptube and it sticks out like a sore thumb any ideas how i could remove the polish i have tried a rubber and bucket and sponge but no luck

    • Cory,

      Unfortunately once a matte surface is polished it cannot be fixed unless you get the surface repainted. Polishes smooth out the textured matte finish, creating an irreversibly “shinier” surface – making it stick out like a sore thumb. I would talk to a dealership or body shop and see if touchup work can be done. That’s probably your best bet.

      Hope this helps,


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  • divagaran

    hello there, which paint is easily to care, means to maintain the car without scratches..matte or normal paint?????????????

    • Matte paint shows less scratches and wont get swirl marks since you do not buff the paint. In my opinion, matte paint is more straight forward and easier to maintain.


  • Paolo

    A BMW with frozen paint brushed up against the garage trim while pulling into the garage, there seems to be a lot of paint transfer on the paint, is there anything we can do about it. The matte paint cleanser was already used which helped very little, anything short of a repaint can we try anything?

    • Hi Paolo,

      The first thing you should try is paint thinner (or even a bit of gasoline). This wont do harm to the paint, but should remove any transfer caused by the garage trim.

      In doing this, you may notice further damage beneath the transfer that may require repainting. It’s impossible to say without seeing the car though, so if you could send over some photos to we’d be more than happy to take a more detailed look.

      Let us know how it goes.


      • Paolo

        The paint cleanser worked well getting the paint transfer, I thought about paint thinner but the cleanser did fine, now I can see the clear is damaged but most of it does not catch my finger nail. I am having my customer send me some pictures after the cleanup. Thanks for replying to this!!

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  • Jen

    We’re in pollen season right now. As long as the car is sealed, is it ok let the pollen sit on the car until the next wash? ( every week or two) or should I be using the finishing spray on a daily basis?

    • Jen,

      The surface will be fine if it’s protected. Matte Final Finish doesn’t need to be used daily, but if the pollen is bad in certain areas and you’d like to remove it then it will work great. If anything I would recommend washing more often, maybe weekly, just to have the finish looking its best. Good luck!

      • Jen

        Thanks 🙂

  • Shashank

    Do you ship to India?

  • Sasha Sabbaghian

    Isn’t a microfiber still a bit abrasive though? Just got a frozen bronze 650, still haven’t washed it because I read so many conflicting articles on the care of it that I’m afraid to mess it up haha! I really appreciate the help