Auto Paint Repair

How to Repair a Car Paint Scratch


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A car paint scratch is probably one of the most tricky auto body repairs, because the amount of work is relatively big for a small area. However, repairing a car paint scratch on your is not an impossible task.

Tools and Materials:

  • 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Cold water
  • Rubber sanding block or wood block
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Black or white shoe polish
  • Rubbing compound
  • Polishing wheel
  • Car wax
  • Terry cloth

Step 1 – Access the Scratch

Before you start sanding your car body to repair a car paint scratch, check first if the indentation made is really a scratch. There are some instances when it is just a deposit from another object or a transfer of color. However, if it does turns out to be a scratch, then check to see how much damage was done.

By accessing the car paint scratches made, you will be able to estimate how much work is needed to repair the damage. Check to see if the scratch reaches below the surface of the paint.

Step 2 – Filling the Scratch

Once you are done accessing the scratch, then you can start sanding the area. However, you need to sand the car body without sanding through the next paint, otherwise you will end up with more problems.

To ensure you do not go beyond the scratch, rub a polish to the scratched area that will contrast the color of your auto body color. You can use a black-colored polish for any light colored vehicle or clear shoe polish for dark colored vehicles. Rub the material only on the area where the scratch is. By doing this, you can determine how deep the scratch goes while sanding.

Step 3 – Sanding the Auto Body

After you have filled in the scratch, you can now start sanding the area where the scratch was made. Place the 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper on the rubber sanding block or wood block. Drop 2 or 3 drops of the liquid detergent in the water. Dip the sandpaper into water before sanding.

Sand the body lightly using short strokes at 60 degree angles alternately. Use an up-and-down stroke on the scratch area and make sure you dip the sandpaper block into the soap mixture when it feels like drying out. Sand the auto body until you the material or shoe polish you used disappears.

Step 5 – Buffing

After sanding, let the area dry thoroughly. Put some rubbing compound on the sanded area and begin to buff it. For a larger area, a polishing wheel will make the job easier and faster. However, for small areas a terry cloth will do just fine. Make sure you use light, buffing strokes to avoid going through the next layer of paint.

Buffing should be done in a circular motion and wipe the residue of the rubbing compound with a terry cloth after. When you are done wiping the area clean, wash it with soap and water.

Step 6 – Polishing

You can now polish the area using a polishing wheel that has a foam polishing compound pad. Once you are done, use a car wax to seal the paint.

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