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How to repair a paint scratch like a pro

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Ever seen a paint touch-up job that looks worse than the paint scratch that surely resides underneath it? Splattering a splash of spray paint over a scratch and calling it a day is never going to cut the kimchi because a rushed paint repair job never turns out right.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take your ride to a body shop either. The trick to a properly repaired and paint-corrected surface imperfection lies in the blending, and yes, DIYers can do this on their own. Blending paint requires a two-step process to encourage a seamless-looking fix. It’s by no means rocket science, but a method that does require some patience and a gentle approach.

Thanks to the advent of modern aerosol paints, products from companies like AutomotiveTouchup have been able to give even the most inexperienced DIYer the ability to get professional-looking results. 

But before you even begin your body-matched paint repair procedure, you’ll first need to snag some supplies. While there are a slew of tools and materials you can use to repair an automotive paint scratch, the use of 600 and 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper, a sanding block, painter’s tape, masking paper, prep wipes and a precision-matched paint and clear coat are the most widely utilized. By using these easily obtainable and inexpensive items, you can mask even the most unsightly surface scratch. Here’s how you can accomplish this straightforward DIY repair on your own over the course of an afternoon…

Step 1: Scrape down that scratch

To start, you’ll need to minimize the depth of the scratch by doing a bit of light sanding. This will not only make the scratch less notable, but it will also help the paint blend into its surroundings. 

To blend in a surface paint scratch, you’ll need to do a little light sanding with first a 600 grit piece of sandpaper, followed by a dash of 1000 grit wet sanding action. Simply cut a piece of sandpaper so that it fits your sanding block and attach it.

Next, fill a clean spray bottle with water and spray the sandpaper until it is thoroughly saturated. Spray the area to be sanded and while it is still dripping wet, lay the sanding block flat across the scratched surface. Gently move the sandpaper back and forth over the scratch in a wiping motion, applying just enough pressure so that the sanding block and sandpaper barely touch the surface. 

Frequently spraying the area with water will help keep the sandpaper from developing any build-up, and will keep that surface adequately lubricated. Don’t be afraid to sand outside of the scratch, as it is all going to get coated with paint anyways.

Step 2: Keep calm, sand on, inspect regularly and prep for paint

Checking your progress after each pass, you will begin to notice that your hard work has begun to sand down the scratch. Once the scratch reaches a point where it is even with the rest of the paintwork around it, it’s time to shift shears into the next phase. The trick here is knowing when to call it quits, because the last thing you want is to expose bare metal, and that requires applying primer. 

You can check your progress by rubbing your fingers over the sanded area until you can’t feel any bumps or ridges. When the surface feels devoid of physical damage, clean the entire panel around the repair with clean water and, once dry, hit the area with some isopropyl alcohol and a fresh microfiber cloth for decontamination purposes.

From there you can prepare for paint. We suggest that you use automotive-approved masking tape and overspray paper to prevent any unwelcome “whoopsies.” Just be sure to leave a fairly wide area around the repair site you are tackling, for you will need to be able to blend the new paint with the existing top coat. 

Step 3: Paint blend like a boss

When it comes to blending a layer of spray paint into an existing color coat, be sure to hold the aerosol can about 6 to 8 inches from the surface. Utilizing a steady motion, spray horizontally, allowing an overlap of about an inch or so to form on the left side. Release the spray tip and make your next pass, pushing to the right in one continuous motion until you pass the repair area. 

Repeat this process several times until the entirety of the repair space is covered. Just be sure that you allow ample room for the freshly applied coat of paint to blend with its surroundings. 

When satisfied with your work, remove the tape and masking paper before the paint dries, and allow the surface to dry for at least an hour.

Step 4: Clear coat for all the right reasons

After the color coat has dried, you can apply a layer of clear coat from AutomotiveTouchup. This invisible top layer not only serves as a protective shield against the elements but also is specially formulated to bring out the maximum amount of luster and shine from the pigments packed within the brand’s portfolio of colors. 

Just remember to slap some fresh masking tape and masking paper to the area first, wipe the area down with isopropyl alcohol, and allow it ample room to dry.

To apply a clear coat, simply spray it on in the same fashion as you did with the aforementioned aerosol can, always using a left-to-right motion. The only difference is that this time around is that you will need to utilize a continuous spray technique instead of light coats. 

This will allow you to build up a more notable shell of clear coat that spans well past all sides of the repair area. It may seem overkill, but this helps blend the area into the existing paint job, which should become obvious after several coats. When you are satisfied with the result, remove the tape and masking paper and allow your handiwork to dry thoroughly. 

A good rule of wrench here is to give the vehicle or repainted body panel an undisturbed indoor environment to chill in overnight. The last thing anyone wants is a stray leaf to fall on their freshly painted quarter panel, or to wake up to discover that there are kitty paw prints permanently embedded in their car’s clear coat.

Step 5: Stand back and admire your professional-grade paint repair

It’s easy to get professional-looking results with aerosol paints, even if you’ve never painted anything before. All it takes is a little patience, a dash of practice, some quality products and a bit of expert advice from the leader in automotive paint repair, AutomotiveTouchup.com.

However, if the information above seems a bit out of your wheelhouse, be sure to check out the “How To” video section of AutomotiveTouchup’s website for more expert advice on repairing and blending automotive paint. There you will find additional visuals, as well as information regarding many more common automotive paint and bodywork tips. All of the gear required to make these fixes can be found on AutomotiveTouchup.com as well, so check it out, and let’s get the scratch fixed for good!



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