Any tips for properly using car touch-up paint?

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  #1  
Old 05-28-14, 10:48 PM
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Exclamation Any tips for properly using car touch-up paint?

Hey guys,

My sister's car was scratched (grinded up against a pillar in an underground parking lot), leaving this mark:



It looks pretty gnarly, but the scratches actually aren't deep at all. If you run your hand over it, it's still smooth (I think it's mostly the chalky paint from the wall she collided with). It really seems like an ever-so-thin layer of touch up paint will fix most of its cosmetic issues.

But my question is how can I fix this scratch and not muck up the touch-up job? Is a clear coat application necessary after applying the touch-up paint? Should the car be waxed afterwards? Is the touch-up paint's built-in applicator sufficient, or are there better tools to use? I've never had to do this before, and it looks like I've got my weekend project ahead of me.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 04:15 AM
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Looks kind of rough but if you can't feel the damage - I'd try to buff it out! Those touch up bottles are ok for 1-2 minor scratches but wouldn't look good on damage like that. If you do sand and repaint that area, you'd need to also apply clear coat if that's the type of paint you use. The base coat of base coat/clear coat paint systems doesn't have much sheen, it gets the sheen from the clear coat.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 04:48 AM
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Ya, I'd carefully buff that out the best you can. Touch up paint will often only make things look worse (it will protect against corrosion tho). However, some of the touch up paint "pens" are said to work pretty well for such damage. Just buff it out and then wax it a few months after you do the touch up work (this will allow the paint to dry to a full cure).

Btw, is that steel or plastic? If it's plastic, then you'll probably need to use the right rubbing compound and/or touch up paint for best results.

Anyway, you're doing the right thing by researching this before you start. Imo, this puts you way ahead of the game.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 06:47 AM
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If it were mine I would try lightly wet sanding it by hand with 1000 grit paper and plenty of water. You have more control than with a buffer and can more closely watch your progress. Some clear coat can be sanded off and then buffed (by hand) to return the shine but if your damage is deeper than it looks I am afraid you will need the help of a qualified painter.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 07:22 AM
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Hey thank for all of the tips, guys. A quick question about buffing out the scratch- what are the best tools to use? I was thinking of just getting some spray-on wax then wet sanding it with 2000 grit sandpaper. But is here a more effective way of buffing it out?
 
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Old 05-29-14, 07:27 AM
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To buff you need to use a buffing compound although paste wax may also work. Using an electric buffer works best but you can get decent results buffing by hand if you include enough elbow grease.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 08:31 AM
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Ron53, not to offend others, is the best answer. Do not buff this. It'll make it worse. You need to sand it off. Go to any parts store and buy wet or dry sand paper kit. It should have about 7-8 sheets, starting at 600 and all the way into 3200 grit. Will cost you about 6-7 bucks.
I'd start with 1200 grit, 800 is a bit too scratchy. Make sure you have a TON of water flushing, but, also, keep in mind that running water is like lens, it masks the site somewhat, so be careful.
Do not stay in same place for more than 2 gentle circular runs, keep moving. Use not finger tips, as they are convex, but, if possible, fat pad at the base of your thumb, as it gives nice, flat, soft sanding surface. Takes a bit of finagling to have this figured, but then hand just does it right.
You'll be surprised, how fast those "scratches" will disappear.
Start with 1200 and then go all the way through 3200 for final finish.
Do NOT try to sand off persistent scratch, anything that stays after this job will have to be touch painted or sprayed over. Which is no big deal, as that trim can be removed and sprayed with color match. This may be simply the best solution. Any parts store, or Sherwynn Wiliams, or automotive paints store, will mix you, or sell you, can of spray of color match paint, with clear coat in it.
But if your finger nail does not catch IN those scratches, it's likely just layer on top of the factory clear coat and should sand off fine.
AFTER you done sanding, you can buff and wax it.
Btw, it'll also show a little bit. I still say - remove the trim, sand, and spray over with color match.
Unless - as it's hard to tell from the pic - it's actually quarter panel part, then yes, sanding/buffing.
Area on the next to the door edge will be your biggest challenge, as it's sharp curve. Sand paper may go right through. I'd say, that's the only area where you can use finger tips, but VERY gently. VERY. Do NOT sand down to the primer.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 10:08 AM
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Before you do anything; I'd carefully try some Goo Gone on it (but first test the Goo Gone on an inconspicuous area of the vehicle's paint.

I'm not sure, but those light colored scrape marks could be mostly paint, or some soft material, that was transferred from the pillar to the car's finish. If so, you might get away with just some elbow grease and some polish.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 11:37 AM
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Exact same...ok, similar...thing happened to me. 90% of the marks came off with a rag and some 3M liquid finish buff compound.
 
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Old 05-29-14, 04:21 PM
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Looks to me that most will polish out by hand with some rubbing compound. I would try that before sanding. After that see what your left with. If you can feel the scratch with your fingernail by "scratching" at it at 90 degrees then it is through the clear and will not come out without repainting. If you cant feel them start with 1500 wet paper and plenty of water you dont want the paper to drag when sanding. Dry the area often to see where your at. Move to 2500 and remove the 1500 scratches. Get a 3" polishing pad that you can put on a drill. Available at parts store and walmart. Use rubbing compund and slow speed with light pressure polish it back to shine.stay off of edges and bodylines. Very easy to go through in these areas good luck
 
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Old 05-30-14, 11:20 AM
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Red face

Thanks a lot for the tips, guys. I'll definitely provide an update just as a means of helping anyone else who might have the same issue.

I'll try the rubbing compound first, then failing that- wet sanding it. Is isopropyl alcohol sufficient for cleaning off any residual compound/wax/whatever I throw at it?

Also- what the heck is the difference between polish and wax? I was at the store today and got pretty overwhelmed by the dozens of weird car potions that are available.
 
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Old 05-30-14, 01:12 PM
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Polish contains very fine abrasives and usually needs to be followed up by waxing. Cleaner/wax has a small amount of these mixed in. True wax doesn't contain any abrasives.

Constant use of the first two will degrade the finish more than just proper washing and waxing.
 
  #13  
Old 05-30-14, 03:13 PM
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Tried the Turtle Wax Rubbing Compound- no dice.

Also tried wet sanding- didn't help. Many of the scratches go down to the primer.

So I tested the touch-up paint on a small area as a test (got one of those double-sided touch-up pens that has paint and clear coat). But how can I make the touch-up look more "natural"? Should I polish the touched-up area? Sand down the touch-up paint? Right now it looks really obvious that a touch-up was done.
 
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Old 05-30-14, 03:35 PM
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Unfortunately...very rarely does the bottle touch up match the car. Fading from the sun and environment affect it greatly. I bought some factory paint from the dealer for some scratches and it looked much more silver than blue, and the car was only about 4 yrs old.

Thats why body shops match the actual paint color on the car in a similar area...not just the original color spec.

If that's just an add on wheel flare (looks like right behind the rear door or maybe in front of the front door?) you might be able to remove it and have it repainted pretty cheap.

Depending on the age and value of the car and what she intends to do with it (trade in or sell in 3 years or keep it til it dies), I'd be inclined to leave it.
 
  #15  
Old 05-30-14, 09:02 PM
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Unfortunatly, thats the nature of touch up paint. Even the stuff you get from dealer.. with a new car, is likely a different color. Works ok for rock chips and very small scratches. large areas can sometimes make it look worse. It isnt a "fix" more to camouflage and protect from rust. Sanding and polishing arent going to yeild any better results.
 
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Old 05-31-14, 03:18 AM
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I'd probably wet sand that piece with 320 grit and use a spray can with the appropriate color and call it good enough. Generally the sides of a vehicle don't fade as much as the top so hopefully any color differences will be minor.
 
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