Can you totally avoid your car from being brushed in Lagos traffic or across the vast Nigerian terrain?
Several things such as accidents, juvenile behaviour, and irascible drivers are good leads to car scratches on your perfect looking car.
Most of these scratches do not really need the expertise of a painter.
Here are a few tips on how to remove small scratches on your own.
Determine it is a scratch
First, determine if it is actually a scratch and not just something on the surface of the paint. Sometimes what appears to be a scratch might be the residue from an impact.
Establish the depth
After you have determined it is a scratch that needs repair, you need to establish the depth of the scratch. This will determine how you approach repairs.
Scratches on the clear coat can be easily fixed by following these steps.
Your car has 4 main layers: clear coat, color, primer and steel. If the scratch is only as deep as the clear coat or color, it will be much easier to remove. If you can see a different color or steel, the scratch is deep and might be more difficult to fix at home.
Articulate total repair needed
Look for other areas to repair at the same time. While you may have one scratch that is bothering you enough to start a repair project, it's a good idea to look for other areas that could be repaired at the same time. If you already have the tools and materials to do the job, why not do it all the way!
Sand the scratch lightly
Wrap 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper around a sanding pad and begin sanding. The goal is to sand just through the clear coat and no further.
Always sand in the direction of the scratch. You do not want to create opposing scratches, which will only create more ridges and valleys in the paint that need to be repaired.
Periodically rinse the area with water. This will allow you to better see if you have gotten to the bottom of the scratch.
If the scratch is slightly deeper than the clear coat, use 1500-grit sandpaper initially, to level the surface and then 2000-grit sandpaper to remove the scratches made by the coarser sandpaper.
Avoid getting dirt or debris between the sandpaper and the vehicle. This will cause scratching.
Rinse the area
Rinse the area, making sure that it is clean and dry. Use good quality and clean microfiber cloths to wipe dry the surface. Remember that using old rags could simply cause more scratches on the surface of your car!
Apply rubbing compound to the scratched areas
Use a buffer pad to spread the compound around the area that is dull from sanding. Rubbing compound is an abrasive that takes off a bit more of the paint surface but it also smoothens out the paint surface, getting it ready to be waxed. Basically, the rubbing compound is used to take out the scratches from the sandpaper.
Wash and dry the car thoroughly
If your car is dirty during scratch repair, that dirt could cause more scratches to be created. So it’s recommended that you wash and dry your car very well, before starting the repair. Pay particular attention to the area you will be repairing. Spray the scratched area with water, making sure to get any debris out of the scratch.
Polish the area with the rubbing compound
Turn on the buffer to its lowest level and move it around for approximately 10 seconds. You need to polish the rubbing compound relatively quickly, so that it does not dry before being smoothed out.
Continue until the dullness has faded but make sure not to go through the paint layer. This might take up to five minutes depending on the scratch and your speed and pressure.
Do not buff in the same spot for more than a second. You will scratch into the next layer if you buff in the same spot too long.
Wash the area again
Use clean water and a towel to remove the leftover compound residue from the paint surface. If the compound got into any crevices, use a toothbrush to clean it out.
Always wipe off the leftover rubbing compound immediately after buffing, otherwise, the residue will adhere to the paint and be more difficult to remove.
Wax to seal the paint in
Finally, wax the area to seal the paint you have repaired. Apply a good quality carnauba wax to the surface and then buff the surface with a random orbital buffer. If you wax your car regularly, use your usual method.
Finish by washing the area one more time. Make sure all of the scratches are gone and that the repaired area is super shiny and repels water easily.
Be sure to let us know how it all turned out.