A stitch in time saves nine. An ounce of planning is worth a pound of cure. And prepping your repair site to be painted is crucial. All three of these are universal truths. We’ll tell you why it’s so important, then instruct you on how best to prepare your vehicle for touch up paint.
- Clean it Up
Washing removes excess dirt and ensures it isn't sealed into paint. For little scratches, clean just the areas around the scratch. If the damage is more extensive, wash the entire car. Wait until the heat of the day has passed or park the car in the shade for best results. Use only soft, non-abrasive sponges or cloths, and dry the entire car thoroughly when you’re finished.
- Sand it Down
It can be nerve-wracking to touch your car with sandpaper, especially since you’re already upset about it being scratched. But trust us: it’s the best way to even out the damaged area. For deep scratches, start with 500 or 600 (or coarser). Shallow scratches can be addressed with 1000 - 1500. Once you’ve gotten the scratch evened out as much as you can, finish with 2000-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface. Use a clean microfiber towel to wipe away the debris and guarantee the area is completely clean.
- Rub it Out
Rubbing compound is perfect for clear coat scratches, and also removes scuffs from sanding the scratch. Apply by hand or with an electric buffer. If you have a buffer, attach a clean pad and place a liberal amount of rubbing compound on the damaged part of your car. Start buffing on a low speed to spread the compound out before increasing the speed. Apply firm pressure and using circular motions. Keep the buffer moving constantly to avoid burning through the clear coat. Repeat as needed.
- Fill it In
Glazing or spot putty is necessary to fill in deeper scratches. Choose a reliable brand, and get a squeegee for easy application. Use the squeegee to spread the putty over the prepared area, making sure to cover the entire scratch the first time. A second coat could disrupt the smooth surface you’re trying to create. Wet a soft cloth and gently wipe the area until putty covers only the scratch. After the area has dried completely, sand it down to remove any uneven spots in the putty. Wipe off the debris and clean the area using a clean microfiber cloth or towel.
- Practice, Practice, Practice!
This is kind of a curveball in the preparation process because you don’t actually do anything to the affected area in it! This step is where you practice the application of your touch up paint on the included practice strip. Even professionals need practice, and this is one of the best ways to make sure all your other preparation isn’t wasted.
Good luck, and have fun! If you have any questions, you can always reach out to our customer service team by clicking the link at the top of the page.