While some incidents may be more severe than others – such as a minor fender, wherein auto insurance coverage can help take care of the modest repair expense – some are so minor that only the driver of the car is able to notice the scuff or swirlmarks.
But every now and then, the door of a parked car, a sharp pebble or wayward shopping cart is forceful enough to put a scratch in an automobile that takes some of the paint off. While some might take it into a mechanic to see if they can fix it, there are ways of handling it on one’s own. But before that’s done, motorists should try to determine if self-help will solve the problem or if a more professional hand is necessary.
Buffing can generally help car owners deal with scratches
Paulo Santos, an autobody professor at Centennial College in Toronto, told The Globe and Mail that scratches are often shallow enough that buffing will do the trick.
“To determine if you can remove a scratch or a scuff from the paint by polishing, pass your fingernail over the scratch at a 90 degree angle,” said Santos. “If the fingernail does not catch and it flows over the scratch, then you may be able to repair it at home using fine grit wet sandpaper and rubbing compound.”
But even if the scratch is deeper than one initially thought, Santos indicated that touch-up paint today is of high quality and comes in a variety of colors, so much so that vehicle owners are bound to find a selection that closely mirrors their vehicle’s hue – effectively masking the blemish.
“With today’s technology, most paint chips can be repaired at home using high quality touch-up paint and clear coat,” Santos told the newspaper.
Chipped paint can affect warranty
Not only does touch-up paint preserve the esthetic appeal of a vehicle, but it’s also important to use in order to avoid corrosion. When paint chips, leaving a vehicle’s bare metal out in the open, it’s more vulnerable to the elements like snow and rain. This can diminish the vehicle’s value significantly, which will hurt it’s resale value if motorists intend to sell it at some point.
In addition, chipped paint and nicks that go unaddressed can also affect the car’s warranty. As noted by Car Care Canada, most new cars have a five-year warranty. But if the vehicle begins to rust due to dings and chipped-away paint, it often renders the warranty null and void.
Along with the quality of touch-up paint improving, the internet has helped make motorists aware of the array of different strategies they can use, by reviewing auto repair shop message boards or how-to magazines. Popular Mechanics Magazine recently put together an assortment of products people can buy that are exclusively for minor paint-related issues. The magazine also offers some tips of what to be aware of before going about the restoration process on one’s own.
How motorists can select the proper paint
For example, people who have never used touch up paint before may think that the only way they can get the most accurate color possible is by observing their vehicle, keeping that color in mind, and then hopefully finding one that resembles it at an automotive retail store. But Popular Mechanics points out that on most modern vehicles – those built before the mid-1980s – there should be information on the car itself that tells its owner the exact color of their car. On the inside of the car door, there should be a sticker that has the vehicle’s VIN number as a well as a bar code. Underneath that bar code should be the vehicle’s paint code information, which is usually multi-lettered or numbered.
Alternatively, motorists can speak to a customer service representative at their nearest autobody retailer to tell them their vehicle’s VIN number. They may have a database that can determine the appropriate touch-up paint to purchase that matches their car.
While at the retailer, there should be materials available to apply the paint and prepare it for touch-up work. Popular Mechanics magazine says that sandpaper, cotton swabs and tweezers will all come in handy.
The magazine also recommends washing and waxing the car to ensure that foreign bodies are removed from the car so that nothing will come in between the vehicle and the paint.
For a detailed, step-by-step primer on how to apply the paint, Popular Mechanics provides an indepth tutorial about how to go about it.
Premier ways motorists can fix minor scuff and chips on their vehicles
If motorists regularly use their vehicles, they open themselves to the possibility – if not probability – that their cars will not stay in as pristine of shape as when they first bought it off the showroom floor.