Yikes, how did that scratch get on your car? Scratches are common and the fix is quick and painless, and the best thing is, you can fix them yourself. In this guide you will learn everything you need to know to take care of that scratch yourself and return your car to its former beauty.
To fix a ding or a scratch, you need to determine exactly what color paint is on your vehicle. You can find out that information by looking on the manufacturer’s information slip. Usually you’ll find this information on a metal decal under the hood, in the doorjamb, in the glove compartment, or in the trunk. In any event, when you find the metal decal it will tell you the specific paint color code for your car.
Now check out the scratch really well. Is there rust around it? If so, you’ll also need to buy rust converter to take care of the rust. If your car has a clear-coat finish, you’ll need to purchase some clear coat as well.
Now that you know the color paint you need, take a trip to your auto–supply store and get some paint in that color. If they don’t have it, you may have to contact your car dealer; but nowadays you probably won’t have to go any farther than the auto–parts store. Tell your trusted salesperson what you are doing and ask for the best products. You may find the (touch–up) paint color of your vehicle (pigment layer) and clear coat come packaged together.
Here are the general steps for repairing a scratch or ding:
If you have deep imperfections in your vehicle’s paint job like deep scratches or marks made when another vehicle sideswiped your vehicle, you may need to have the scratch or scuff mark wet-sanded—that is have the mark sanded with wet sandpaper. If you try this yourself, know what you are doing or you will cause a more costly repair. Sandpaper used on clear coat should not be less than 1,000 grit (the lower the grit, the coarser the paper), and 1,500 to 3,000 is more in the range needed for this repair. Ask your auto–supply person for the supplies needed to wet–sand your vehicle. Some sandpaper (used for this purpose) comes pre–soaked and you just have to dip it in water to begin, while other sandpaper will need to be soaked. If you are not experienced in this type of repair, have a professional do it.
No matter whether the scratch on your car is small or large, don’t procrastinate about fixing it. A small scratch can become a big rust problem if left untended. Take care of the problem now, and you won’t have a problem later. Good luck!
From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Auto Repair by Vyvyan Lynn with Tony Molla