Parking in the furthest parking spot at the grocery store can protect your car from unwanted scratches and give you good exercise, but somehow, despite all your efforts, a ding still appears in your car door. Whatever its cause, a scratch can ruin the beauty of your car’s exterior. But don’t panic! You can fix the scratch yourself and save hundreds of dollars over going to the local auto shop.
Before you begin, though, you’ll have to diagnose the scratch.
A car is made of four layers. Closest to the interior of the car is the steel framing, and a layer of primer is on top of the steel layer. The color is above the primer, and then a clear coat is placed on top of the color. The deeper the scratch, the further towards the steel it goes. The good news is that most basic nicks and scratches only go through the clear coat, meaning you should be able to fix them yourself in no time at all.
Minor scratches can be polished with shoe polish and a simple compound. Below are five simple steps to remove those annoying, unattractive scratches.
Clean the surface to remove dirt and prepare the area around the scratch. Only work on that specific area, as the compound used to repair scratches can erode your exterior if not used carefully. Apply a small amount of shoe polish to reveal the scratches and to help you visualize exactly where you’ll be working.
Take a piece of 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper and sand until the shoe polish disappears. Be sure to use plenty of water to prevent the sandpaper from scratching the rest of the vehicle’s surface.
Apply the polishing compound to the scratch on the vehicle in a circular motion. This will polish out the sanding scratches. After about a dozen strokes, use a clean cloth to buff the area dry. Repeat until the scratch is no longer visible. Be sure to go slowly to avoid sanding through the clear coat.
If possible, use a polishing wheel to bring the shine of the vehicle back. But be careful not to buff through the paint into the next layer, especially on high-crown or sharp edges.
Finish removing the scratch by lightly hand buffing the area. Use a clean cloth to remove the remaining compound, and then finish the process by waxing the entire car with a durable car wax.
Scratches and unwanted dings can be frustrating. It is important to take care of a vehicle and reduce the number of scratches it receives, as a damaged exterior can eventually lead to rust and other issues. Thornton Chevrolet, York, PA’s Chevy dealer and the provider of the tips above, is a valuable resource for all your car and auto maintenance needs. For more information, visit Thornton Chevrolet at www.tchevy.com.
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