Friday, March 9, 2012

How To Fix a Car Paint Scratch

New Car + Parking Lot = Scratches and Chips

It's a fact of life. Other ­people often don't treat your car's paint with much consideration. Ditto for kids and pets, not to mention the odd troll with an attitude and a set of car keys. Respraying a car can cost thousands of dollars, while respraying a single panel may leave you with a clown car that doesn't match color left to right.

Fortunately, many small nicks, scratches and imperfections can be easily retouched. A careful job is unobtrusive and may well be almost totally invisible.

Proper conditions: Be comfortable

Before you break out your touchup tools, figure out what you're dealing with. If the scratch appears thin and white, it probably hasn't penetrated through the clear coat.

If it is body-colored or shows metal, you've got a deeper problem. Regardless, never try to touch up paint unless the temperature in your work area is shirt-sleeve- comfortable for you. The paint won't adhere, dry properly or gloss up. The ideal temperature would be in the 70s F, but 60 to 85 is acceptable. You'll need to be out of the wind and sun. Indoors is best, but a shady carport should do. The relative humidity should be less than 60 percent or so: The evaporating solvent will cool off the panel as it dries, potentially lowering the metal's temperature below the dew point and letting moisture ­condense on the surface. This is not ­conducive to good surface finish.


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