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Old 07-12-2005, 11:10 AM   #43
Detailed Image
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Albany, NY
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My Ride: Audi S4
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APPLYING TOUCH-UP PAINT
Once the damaged areas are cleaned and prepared, you can begin the touch-up itself. If a chip exposed bare metal, you must primer the chip before the color touch-up. After mixing thoroughly, pour or spray a small amount of your primer into a plastic cup. Next, use a clean toothpick to apply the primer. I do this by dipping just the tip (2-3 mm) of the toothpick into the primer. If I get a blob, I wipe it back.

Next, I touch the tip of the toothpick to the center of the chip and allow the paint to flow off of the toothpick into the chip. You will be amazed how well the capillary action works. If you prefer, you can use the #2 artistís brush. Do not allow the primer to overflow the sides of the chip. Allow the primer to dry for 2-3 hours. You can speed dry the primer with a hair dryer after allowing it to air dry for one hour. Simply wave the hair dryer 3-4 inches over the primered chip for 30-40 seconds. Do not touch the chips with your hands, as the oils from your skin will prevent the color coat from adhering.

Now, mix your color-matched paint thoroughly and pour a small amount into a clean plastic cup. As with the primer, use a clean toothpick or #2 artistís brush to apply the color coat. Touch the toothpick or brush to the center of the chip and allow capillary action to pull the paint into the chip. Apply a small dab at a time and allow it to dry for 2-3 hours. You must repeat this process several times, so donít try to fill the chip in one pass. Apply several thin layers, and you will get much better results.

The color touch-up process is complete when you have applied enough coats to slightly overfill the chip onto the roughed up area surrounding the chip. Once youíve filled the chip, allow it to dry for another 24 to 48 hours. The longer the better.

Iím often asked if itís necessary to apply a clear coat over chip repairs. I donít think itís necessary or adds any noticeable difference. If you get the proper touch-up paint from your dealer, it will match without using a clearcoat. However, if youíre a purist in pursuit of perfection, substitute a clearcoat for the last 2-3 coats.



Here is a close-up picture of a scratch after being repaired with touch-up paint. The touch-up creates a raised surface. In order to perfect the repair, the raised touch-up paint must be leveled. I will use 1500 grit sand paper to level the repair. If you are new to wet sanding, use 2000 or 2500 grit paper. I recommend 3M brand paper or Meguiar's UniGrit.


LEVEL & BUFF
Until you level or mill the paint repair down to the same plane as the original paint, all youíll have is an ugly looking blob. This is easily done using the Meguiarís Unigrit Sanding Block, which helps remove sags, runs and other isolated defects with surgical precision. Donít forget to soak it overnight before use, as the directions indicate.

To level your paint chips, use your finger to put a small dab of car shampoo on the chip repair for lubrication. Next, use the Unigrit Sanding Block or 3M sanding paper to mill the high spot off of the chip repair. I always pull the sanding block towards me. Never rub it back and forth or in a circle. When the block dries out, dip it into your bucket of water again. Keep the area well lubricated with water and shampoo. The sanding block will dull the paint. Donít fear, as your polish will easily restore the luster. When the surface looks level, dry it with a clean towel and inspect with your fingertips. If you can feel a high spot, it needs more work.



This picture shows the repair area after a couple of passes with 1500 grit wet & dry sand paper. The scratch touch-up is almost level, and you can clearly see the surface scratches (micro-marring) I put in the paint surface.


The final step is to buff out the repair with a good hand polish. I like to use Poorboy's SSR 2.5 or Menzerna Intensive Polish (fine or medium grit compounds) followed by Poorboy's SSR 1 or Menzerna Final Polish II. Apply the compound and polish to a clean foam applicator pad, rub into the paint area using a short back and forth motion (not in circles), then buff out with a clean terrycloth towel. Tada! The blemish is gone.


The next step is to compound and polish. I did fewer than 20 passes (strokes) with rubbing compound. It does not take much to remove surface scratches. To completely polish and restore the surface, I polished the area twice.



As you can see, the repair and paint finish turned out to be quite beautiful. There are no visible surface marks in the paint, and the touch-up cannot be detected.


SUMMARY
Learning to repair paint chips and scratches is not difficult. After buffing out a few scratches and filling a couple of chips, you will become comfortable with the process. The reward is a great looking car and a lot of money saved. Most paint shops won't bother with repairing chips because it's often faster for them to repaint an entire panel. If you keep up with repairing the chips and scratches, you can avoid repainting for a long time.

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Hope that helps!
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