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Maintenance and gear

Fix a deep paint scratch at home for just £20

by Kyle Smith
28 January 2021 2 min read
Fix a deep paint scratch at home for just £20
YouTube/ChrisFix

Keeping any car’s paintwork in the sort of condition that will make your neighbours look on with envy is no easy matter. Plenty of care and attention needs to be lavished on your shiny steed to keep its paint in tip-top shape, but no matter how much love you shower it with, people or hedgerows can undo all your pampering.

Those who aren’t as keen on cars as our community often don’t appreciate how damaging commonplace items can be to a car’s laughably thin clearcoat, including items as mundane as the rivets on your jeans, the keys hanging on your belt loop, rings on a finger, or a belt buckle.

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Then there are Britain’s hedgerows. They provide welcome and much needed privacy, not to mention shelter for all manner of creatures, but they also lie in wait on narrow lanes, waiting to claw at paintwork like a cat pulling at scratchpost. The only way to ensure your paint is never scratched is to place it in a sealed environment, which is, frankly, not much fun.

Eventually, we’ll probably have to fix a scratch or two. You could hand this task to the professionals and pay the market rate to have repairs made. Or you could have a go yourself and see if you’re happy with the result. If you aren’t, you could always hand it over to the professionals.

As with any project, you can opt for the good, better, or best way to make a paint repair. ChrisFix recently took a look at the best way to repair a scratch at home on a budget.

At its core, this method revolves around careful preparation and the willingness to make things worse before they get better. A good paint job needs a solid foundation; ironically, a deep scratch is best treated by removing a bit more material.

ChrisFix uses the abrasive tip of a £15 paint touch-up pen, but the same effect can be accomplished with careful use of sandpaper. Wet sanding in situations like this could be advisable, because it tends to remove material slightly slower and prevent eager DIYers from removing too much material. The goal is to remove the jagged edges of the scratch and create a smooth-sided “trough” profile into which you can put the touch-up paint.

Once that sanding is complete, a quick wipe down with a wax-and-grease remover prepares the surface for paint. Taping around the scratch ensures that any material applied stays in the immediate area and prevents a potentially messy cleanup. In the video, ChrisFix applies paint with a small brush, but you could use an aerosol can or small paint gun to apply thin layers of paint, too. It is important to take the time here to apply multiple thin coats so they can cure and adhere properly. Layer the new paint until it is slightly proud compared to the original paint around it.

Once you’ve built up the necessary layers of new paint, it’s time to remove the extra. Use the wet sanding method to blend the repair into the surrounding paint. Once the surface is level, a bit of polishing will finish the job.

Though you can strip and repaint the entire panel or pay for a professional job, this DIY method is cheaper by far. You won’t erase all evidence of the scratch but, with time and patience, the results will be worth it.

Via Hagerty US

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