As you wash all of the winter grime off of your car, you may notice a few minor scratches or scrapes your vehicle has endured. While you may know where some of these came from, others may have simply appeared. Unfortunately, to have your paint restored by a body shop can run you anywhere from a couple of hundred of dollars to over a thousand dollars. This will vary based on where you live, as well as the amount of work that needs to be done. The good news is, with the right products, a little time, and a little knowledge, you will be able to repair these areas yourself. But you must first determine what type of damage you are dealing with.
Scuff Marks, Tree Sap, and Other Residue
If the mark on your vehicle appears to be a scuff mark, tree sap, or some other type of residue, you will probably not have to worry about applying any type of paint. These normally appear to be a dark mark on your paint. Although they may not come off when you wash and dry your car, they are easily removed with a light application of whitening toothpaste or automotive adhesive remover.
While you can find cheap white toothpaste at your local dollar store, look for adhesive remover at your local automotive store. Apply either to your vehicle using a microfiber cloth and small circular motions. Wipe the area clean with another piece of your cloth, and the mark should be gone.
Light Clear Coat Scratches
If you simply see light scratches on your car, but you cannot feel them with the tips of your fingers, you probably will not have to worry about painting these as well. These can generally be removed with a quality rubbing compound.
After you have washed and dried your vehicle, apply the rubbing compound to a microfiber cloth, and apply to your scratches using a circular motion. Rub the scratches until they no longer appear. Polish the area and apply a thin coat of wax to fully restore your shine.
Deep Clear Coat Scratches
If you are able to slightly feel the scratches on your car, but they do not catch the edge of your fingernail, and they do not seem to be affecting your paint, you are probably dealing with deep clear coat scratches. These can be removed but will require you to do some light sanding to the area.
You can purchase a kit that will contain all of your supplies, or you can purchase them individually. All you will need is a small sheet of 1,500- 2,000 grit sandpaper or a high grit abrasive pad, a little rubbing compound, a little polish, and some automotive wax. This can be done by hand, or if you are using an abrasive pad and want a little extra power, you can use your cordless drill.
If you choose to perform this by hand, consider soaking your sandpaper for approximately 10 minutes prior to using it. Wet sanding will work better and make your sand paper more pliable. Spray the area with water, gently sand using your wet sandpaper, and rinse your paper off after couple of strokes. Once you are no longer able to see the scratches, apply a small amount of rubbing compound to get rid of your scratches and follow with a small amount of polisher. Apply your wax to restore your shine.
If your scratch catches the edge of your nail and is discolored, the scratch has gone through your clear coat and has damaged your paint. In addition to sanding it out, you will need to repaint the area to completely remove the scratch. The amount of paint you need for the repair will depend on the size of the area. For example:
- If it is just a small ding or an area that is smaller than a pencil eraser, this can probably be repaired with a simple touch up pen.
- If it is larger than a pencil eraser, but smaller than a dime, consider using a touch up bottle with a brush.
- If the area is larger than a dime, consider using a small can of spray paint.
First, you will want to ensure that you are ordering the correct color for your vehicle. Don't try to eyeball the right color because not all colors are created equal and may even vary by year. Look for your paint code in the following areas:
- Inside your driver's door
- In your owner's manual
- Under your driver's seat
If you are unable to locate it in either of these areas, call your dealer's service department. By giving them your VIN, or the number located on your dash, they will be able to give you the code.
Order the amount of paint you will need from a reputable company like Space Age Auto Paint Store. Inspect your car to ensure that you are taking care of all of your scratches and dings at the same time.
Once your receive your paint, carefully follow the directions. These will vary based on the manufacturer. By repairing the scratches and dings on your vehicle, you will not only be able to restore your car's beauty, but knowing the money you saved will probably put a smile on your face as well.