Paint and Body Maintenance & Repair

Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,117
Wondering what wax is best? Can I really fix tiny scratches myself? Post your exterior questions and answers here!

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  • whitecapswhitecaps Member Posts: 11
    They aren't true waxes but Blackfire and Zaino are some of the best polishes you'll find for a reasonable price.
  • renzorenzo Member Posts: 6
    I just bought a new Solara, and I HATE having to park in the lot at my condo. There are a lot of people there that really don't care if they hit your car with their doors, or they have kids and don't watch the kids with the doors.

    Here's a question for ya - I have a choice of the lot, or along the loop road that goes around the condo complex. In the parking lot, the car could get dinged. On the loop road, someone could sideswipe it. Where would you park, given the choice?
  • truckdude1truckdude1 Member Posts: 88
    We live in an apartment too ! We park outside in the complex, but we have accumulated two dents in only 6 months. We have a carport too, but the sprinkler gets the hood wet everyday which was leaving water spots on the paint. So its a tough decision. I would have to park on the side loop if i were you, but it's a matter of opinion, rigt?
    Good Luck though !
  • anjancdanjancd Member Posts: 16
    I use Mother's Gold California stage I, II, and III. Bought these plus applicator pads, cotton cloths, etc for about $36 and did at least 6 clean/polish/wax jobs out of it, which would have cost me more than $500 at a car wash!!

    I followed the procedure from one of the articles on this website, and it works out real good.

  • scirocco22scirocco22 Member Posts: 721
    Has anybody used this product ...or have any opinions about it? It is supposed to remove the "blob" that's left after using touch-up paint. Do car dealers really use it?


  • squidd99squidd99 Member Posts: 288
    I don't know whether car dealers use it or not, but I have used it and it works very well.

    The deal is that the touch up paint is different from the type of paint applied at the factory, and the Langka is a creamy solvent for the touch up paint. So you put a dab of the touch up paint in the nick (using a toothpick works well), then let that dry for anywhere from a half-hour to a day or two, then use the Langka on a soft cloth to wipe it gradually down to the level of the original paint. The kit comes with a flexible plastic holder for the soft cotton cloth, and I have found that it is much better than any other method I have used to touch up nicks in the front of my car.

    Sometimes, however, I will take too much of the touch up paint off, and so I have to start over again, so sometimes you have to be patient and do it all over again, but when you get it right it gives a great result.

    I have used it on my new black Lexus SC430, and several dings I picked up on the front of the hood from highway stones are now undetectible.

    I'd say buy some and try it out. It will not make anything worse, and I have found that it helps make the touch up job easier and with a very good result.
  • scirocco22scirocco22 Member Posts: 721
    Thanx for your comments! I might give it a try although I've read on another board that a glaze such as 3M Imperial Hand Glaze works just as well if used in the same manner for less price per ounce so I may do a bit more research.

  • land_yachtland_yacht Member Posts: 3
    I have little/no patience/skill when it comes to painting. I just purchased an '84 Town Car with a pretty good paint job. It's not faded or oxidized but it does have a few chips and scratches in it. My question is: Am I better off having the entire care re-painted or can I just get the blemishes taken care of and have the finish still look good?

    Thanks in advance,

    Land Yacht
  • scotianscotian Member Posts: 1,064

    Lots of other good stuff at this site as well!

  • ochizonochizon Member Posts: 25
    I have some rust on my bumper from a small accident. I was planning on simply sanding down the rusted areas, covering up the rest of the car with plastic, and repainting the bumper with some flat black paint that i bought at the store. Is there anything wrong with my plan of action? Do I need to put primer first? Or is the flat paint enough?

    Thank you,

  • ochizonochizon Member Posts: 25
  • mookie14mookie14 Member Posts: 252
    one morning i was waxing my explorer and not knowing someone was watching me well sunday night into monday morning i got up went to the truck low and behold some one keyed the driver side door and the rear door question do i really need a body shop or a ??????? can some one help me with this one?? body shop said 511.00 i might getmy deduct lowered and get it fixed would that be smart or fraud help.
  • bigfurbigfur Member Posts: 649
    If you take the bumper to bare metal you will need a primer...if not you can just go with the flat black
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You need a good paint for bumpers. Don't just spray it with any old thing. Buy good paint made for the purpose.
  • boopoppaboopoppa Member Posts: 48
    i was egged last night and after washing today, i found what i think is the point of impact. can an egg be thrown hard enough to cause visible scratches by the broken shell? or am i just seeing residue from the egg? i tried some bug/tar remover to no avail
  • kcinnamonkcinnamon Member Posts: 1
    I have a 95 Acura Integra LS that has severe paint oxidation on the entire hood and roof. This car has spent the majority of its life in the garage and has been well taken care of. Does anyone out there have any suggestions for dealing with Acura? Or has anyone else had problems like this with their Acura. Or have any suggestions on how to fix it, we've tried several products to no avail, they just seem to be making the problem worse. It looks downright awful and is embarrassing to drive around because it looks so bad.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!
  • sddlwsddlw Member Posts: 361
    A seven year old car will be tough to get any relief from the manufacturer. Have you tried to polish the oxidation off using abrasive compounds and an orbital buffer? These can be found at most car part stores and range in grit from the rubbing compounds which are fairly abrasive, down to polishes and glazes which are for the most part pretty mild. Normally you would start with a less abrasive compound and move towards the more abrasive until you remove the offending oxidation, then go back until you use the least abrasive ones to remove any scratches or dullness from the more abrasive compounds. If you need to you can even go to 1500-3000 grit sandpaper which you can find in a store selling body shop supplies. This would be more abrasive than rubbing compound. If you do it yourself, 3M and Meguires makes a whole line of rubbing compounds, polishes and glazes for the consumer. Use a good quality buffer with the appropriate pad or bonnet. Be careful at the corners and edges, especially when using the more abrasive compounds and rubbing compound bonnets. Many of the better detailers will also polish a car, as will some body shops. The problem comes when the oxidation goes though the paint. When that happens, the only option you really have is to sand, prime and paint. But if the car is in good shape inside and mechanically, a litle money spent on paint might be worth it. Good luck.
  • alternatoralternator IndianaMember Posts: 629
    A faulty garage door caused three deep scratches on the top rear of my brand new car, each scratch about eight inches long. A body shop estimate to repair was $540 (they were going to remove rear window, remove side moldings, repaint entire top, etc.). My new car dealer suggested using a "air brush" craftsman who comes to their place once every week. He did the job for $40. Under certain lighting you can just make out where the scratches were, but you almost need to know where to look. If the repair lasts, I will be well satisfied. Look for info on this at

    Does anyone else have experience with this process? Is there a downside I don't know about?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The only dowside I can think of is that this is essentially a cosmetic repair as dealers often do themselves, and being such, may not last all that long.
  • alternatoralternator IndianaMember Posts: 629
    Mr Shiftright: Can you put a time estimate on that "may not last all that long" for me? And what will cause it to have a short life? Thank you.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Blending paint has its limitations. Generally, paints these days need to "wrap" around an edge so they don't peel and also need a clear coat of some sort.

    I think if your repair is going to deteriorate at all, you'll first notice dullness setting in to that particular spot. Maybe it'll be okay, who knows?
  • sddlwsddlw Member Posts: 361
    But for $40 it sounds like it would be worthwhile to see how long it lasts. You can always go back to the body shop. The dealer I bought my last car from has an airbrush guy come out once a week to touch up the newly acquired used cars. They do this with a dent remover as well. If a customer needs any touch up, you just bring it in on the specific day of the week. I would think this must work pretty well or pretty soon there would be a line of dissatisfied people.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I made sure to find an apartment with individual garages. they usually do exist. I did this for the obvious reason, I didn't want a bunch of trash beating up or ripping off my car. complete and total satisfaction in practice. thugs only have succeeded in messing up the hasp and staple that locked the garage door, which was easily replaced. they don't work well on doors that aren't metal because those doors are usually scuzwood or honeycomb paper. all things to think about when you rent.

    for the related questions, I don't believe there is an option unless you are driving an ugly pig and don't care. if you carry collision insurance and the insurance company will reimburse factory parts, I'd rather park on the street than in the apartment lot as the lesser of the evils, except in snow and ice weather.

    repairs of a keyed panel don't work out of a bottle of touch-up paint, I tried it. you have to fill the damaged area, level it to the paint, and repaint the panel to have a quality repair. that generally means a professional.
  • cheerfulcheerful Member Posts: 31
    I am posting this because I could not get a clear picture from the above discussion on how to work on it myself. So please give me some clear advice.

    I had this car for only 200 miles and was unlucky enough to have a small rock bounced right onto the front to create a small and deep scratch point (0.2 x 0.1 inches). The paint color is midlight blue metallic (almost black) and the scratch point reveals white/silver color underneath.

    I have taken the advice and tried to remove it with alcohol but it failed. I am guessing now the white/silver is metal. The question now is how to protect it from further damage such as rust.

    I am kind of guy who like to learn stuff and do most of the thing myself. But I am total newbie and this is my first car. I have read about touch up paint but it is really unclear how to do this. Could anyone please help me out with detailed how-to (hopefully, there is some webpage about it)?

  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    if the "color didn't come back" under a drop of water or alcohol, you are probably right, it is down to the metal. ain't fatal yet.

    just for grins, I would start with a Q-tip and pure alcohol of the isopropyl or ethyl variety, and work it gently around in the hole with a spin to be sure there is no wax there and that it is dehumidified. use both ends of the Q-tip, and when it's dry, use another one to be sure there is no wax in there.

    next, get a 3M "rust remover pen" at the CSK, AutoZone, or whatever... also get a Dupli-Color primer brush-in-cap bottle, and one of clear topcoat, and one of the color code of your body paint. on the door label of the car, where the cryptic codes from Hell are all listed, is one probably near the middle-bottom that says BODY COLOR or something similar. it will have some nutty code number like 4XC. that in the Dupli-Color catalog for the right year and model of car will usually yield a stock number for the right color of paint.

    if the corner parts store doesn't have yours yet, go to the dealer's parts department and get the primer, clear, and color brush-in-cap bottles there to be sure, S U R E, that the chemistry is the same and this won't pop out in a day.

    if you can't find the 3M rust remover pen, shame on that store... but you can use the (formerly duco) Loctite rust binder and a toothpick instead. the 3M variant has the equivalent of a toothpick fractional-drop dispenser built into the tip (and yes, they are locally based and help pay friends, thanks.)

    put enough of either anti-rust product in the chip to color the metal and let it dry real well, several minutes. if there was any rust starting, it will turn to black polymer and stick, and the surrounding product will probably remain a brown or beige color.

    now put a little drop of well-shaken primer in the chip the same way. you want a nice, smooth, even grey but don't try to fill the whole chip. you will just want primer to bond the paint to the polymer anti-rust.

    slowly build the chip up near level with repeated small applications of extremely-well shaken (actually, tipped end-over-end is better to avoid bubbles) color paint coat. there are probably 6 layers of paint and clear coat in a factory finish, all extremely thin except for the top clear coat. which should tip you to what's coming.

    when it's time for the clear coat, if the chip is really large, you could try the brush... if you gob or glop the stuff all over, quickly take a good lint-free cloth like a well-washed T-shirt rag that has been pre-soaked in the alcohol and wipe the whole gob off. if you take up the paint in the chip, do that over... if it has really set, you won't.

    once the chip is filled in with the clear coat (it will tend to be high at the edges and thin in the center, or vice versa, depending on how you applied it), let it set without washing or waxing for a week or so.

    then gently wash with water and a soft cloth, see where it is too high, and if you are really fussy, and feeling well in control of fine strokes, make another trip to the parts store for some fine grade polishing compound. NOT polish, "polishing compound." there is a coarser stuff called "rubbing compound" that will leave big gouges when you buff the repaired area unless you are really, really good. if you're asking > ME < about how to do this, you ain't. and I ain't.

    on a very nicely soaked cloth, pick up a wee little bit of polishing compound, say the size of a pea, flick off half of it, and gently, ever so gently, rub the repaired area and the area around it occasionally with the compound. try this first on a piece of scrap plastic of some sort to get a feel for how to lightly smooth a surface without having it look like it was levelled with swings of an axe. clear is best, because you ARE working with a thin piece of clear plastic in the car's clear coat.

    and that's how it's done. will it match excellently? alas, no. will it look like it was smoothed with a sledge? hopefully if you're careful and play with a piece of scrap plastic first, it shouldn't. there's a craft in the work that you will have to develop... pity the first hack in the car wasn't down by the rear fender, so your training wouldn't be noticeable... but doing the job first on junk hard plastic should get you cautious enough.

    good luck!
  • cheerfulcheerful Member Posts: 31
    I will head to Pepboy this weekend and follow your instruction.
  • acelinkacelink Member Posts: 106
    Somebody hit my car (parked) and took off. There are now several spots where the paint has been completely peeled off. I went to a part shop to get some sand papers and spray paint cans.
    As I tried to sand away the areas with loose paint, the damaged areas got bigger because the outer edge continued to crumble away. What should I do? I have had my bumper repainted and baked before. After a while, I got tired and just sprayed the bumper (paint surface unmatched).
    Later, I got myself a putty. Can I use this product on a plastic (rubber?) bumper? Its instruction says to wet sand it to match the paint depth. Your suggestions would be very much appreciated.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    you are not going to be real pleased, I don't think, but the flexible plastic bumpers are not going to respond like steel panels. in particular, body putty will fall right out, and your paint is going to come off in big flat sheets, or in little shards with crazing, because the surface underneath flexes. that's what you are seeing from the previous repair; obviously, it was not done right.

    anything that goes onto that bumper cover will have to have a flexible base, which can either be met by special chemistry with a long MSDS, or a flexible plasticizer additive that is similarly too ugly on the regulatory front to be sold in the baby-food aisle at the supermarket.

    I personally don't think this can be fixed outside a properly equipped body shop... and they won't try to fix the cover if it has any damage, they will order a replacement and repaint to match with a diddled paint.

    another triumph for longevity and value, these plastic bumpers that won't take bumping.
  • glo22glo22 Member Posts: 7
    I just brought a new mini van. I want to add this new coating on the car. The dealer calls it "touch of class or glass". I just want to find out if it is really that good. I was told by someone that if you put that coating on. The car only need to be washed but not waxed.
  • sddlwsddlw Member Posts: 361
    = dealer profits and little value to the consumer. There is nothing the dealer is going to put on your car that will last for more than 6-12 months. You are better off applying a polymer based product yourself 1x or 2x a year and pocketing the $500 or so the dealer will charge you for a glorified wax job.
  • cieszynskicieszynski Member Posts: 12
    Has anyone heard of or used the Perma-Finish Paint Protection System. Check out: . They say you don't have to wax your car for 6 years. I'm taking delivery of an 02' Black LSE this week and was thinking of getting this done here in the Atlanta area. Appreciate any comments.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    hee, hee, hee. six years, that's really rich, these guys don't have any confidence in their scam. most of these characters figure in 14 months or so they can get the money salted away in the Cayman Islands and retire off-shore. in six years, somebody can catch up to them, like the FTC.

    good artist, though, on the "artists' conceptions." almost as good as the guy who drew the hammers, lightning bolts, and winces for the 1960s Anacin commercials. if I had hammers, lightning bolts, and winces in my head instead of clogs in my arteries, I would visit museums and pay any price for a 1960s bottle of Anacin.

    a bottle of good liquid wax is under $10. you can buy a roll of flannel polish towels for $4. Use them as directed. that works as advertised.
  • sddlwsddlw Member Posts: 361
    Porshe dealers sells both a cleaner and a protectant for convertible tops under the Porshe label. I use it on my wife's MB SL and think these are fantastic products. Kind of expensive, but you can stretch the cleaner by only making up a liter or so at a time. When I used the protectant, I used the entire spray can. It;s been about 5 months and it still looks great.
  • ochizonochizon Member Posts: 25
    My car was parked by its self, very innocently, on a stretch of parking lot at my apt complex where few others ever park. When I went to go drive it, there was a big old dent in the passenger side door. Some fool nailed it while backing out and took off.

    Here's the deal: The dent is large, but there are no sharp edges to the dent (if that makes sense)and all of the paint is intact. It seems as if it could be popped out pretty easily.
    So should I try it myself? If so, how would I go about doing it?
    The car is a very simply built toyota tacoma with manual everything, so there shouldn't be much between the door and the sheet metal.
    Should I just leave this to the pros (in other words, live with the dent since I'm broke)?

  • alternatoralternator IndianaMember Posts: 629
    take a look at this:

    Scroll down to the KD2761 ($18.61) device.

     I would think you could go to a large tool warehouse near you, buy a similar sized suction cup, try it and return if it doesn't work. I don't believe you can make the dent worse by trying this.

    Good luck!

  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    bet a suction cup that stays on long enough to pull a big whang out will leave a small ring in the clearcoat, and since metal generally stretches in a noticeable dent there may be a ripple or two, but it sure would be better than an impression of the other character's bumper. that's a nice looking tool for the price.

    notice the copy next to the picture says it will pull almost any dent that didn't crease the metal. that's a big gotcha in pulling dents, because once there is a hard crease in the bottom, you have expansion, paint damage, and the crease reinforces the new shape of the metal and strengthens its new path. at that point, you pull what you can, and putty over the rest and refinish.
  • alternatoralternator IndianaMember Posts: 629
    Just today I saw a Bondo Dent Puller (suction cup device) in automotive section of local Meijer store for $3.49! Worth a try maybe?
  • f4u1d25f4u1d25 Member Posts: 3
    I've got a beautiful new silver Acura CL 3.2 Type S and making the car so attractive are the color-
    matched bumpers that show every scratch and chip and since I live in a large city I've been hit enough times for me to consider having the rear bumper repainted. My car wash place fixes this type of problem and will completely redo the bumper for a nominal fee. However I don't want to make this a repeat situation and was wondering if anyone out there knows of a company that makes attractive color-matched vinyl protection strips to solve this problem?
  • fredvhfredvh Member Posts: 857
    I have heard a rumor that the side panels on the Honda and Acura are "thinner" than most other cars such as the ES300, I35, and Toyota Camry and therefore are more sensitive to door dings. Is this true?
  • spyderturbospyderturbo Member Posts: 31
    I own a '98 black Eclipse Spyder GS-T. I bought it new and have babied the car finish. I wash the car every week and I wax it 4 times a year. I never let any contaminates remain on the paint surface. Basically, you can comb your hair while looking at my car. Now comes the sad part...I have noticed the trunk lid starting to develop a haze. I have waxed and used a clay bar and I am certain the problem lies underneath the clearcoat. After I wax the car, it is very smooth to the touch. The haze looks like thousands of tiny dots. I suspect the paint is failing for some reason. My first thought is perhaps the car was somehow damaged before I purchased it from the dealer and it was painted. Question #1, does a dealer have to inform the buyer that the car has been repainted prior to the sale? #2, from what I have described, does anyone have any ideas on what would cause an original factory paint job to fail like this (assuming that the car was never repainted prior to me buying it)? #3, short of having it sanded and repainted, is there anything else that can be done?

    Any advice would be most helpful. This is making me sick!
  • sddlwsddlw Member Posts: 361
    Before you panic, try stripping all the acumulated wax off the finish to Sse what the finish looks like without all the wax. You did say wax, like carnuba and not a polymer?

    Dishwashing soap, especially the high alkaline kind like the unscented "blue" Dawn works well. Maybe even give it a couple of washes.

    If the finish is still hazed, try using a polish/glaze and a good orbital buffer with a foam pad. These are not waxes but mildly abrasive compounds designed to remove a very thin amount of finish and surface oxidation. There are professionals that will do this for you if you want.

    Or go to a good auto paint shop and see what they think.
  • scrapscrap Member Posts: 8
    I am in the process of possibly fixing a repairable Mercury Sable. I am searching for doors for the car, I've contacted a few salvage yards, one the yards tells me I can get the color off of the VIN. I know the paint code is on the the little tag on the door, but the car is a good 150 miles away from me so it's not like I'd be able to check the tag. My question does anyone know if Mercury designates the color red as maroon? And if I would be able to get the color off of the VIN?
  • mpynempyne Member Posts: 120
    whats the best way to remove touch up blobs on my hood. Will langka work on blobs that are a week old??? also will a mild polish help even out the blobs??
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    There isn't a digit in the VIN which denotes paint code, but if you call a Mercury dealer and give them the VIN they'll be able to punch it in and determine the code from the build data.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    they should be about middle-middle of the door sticker, one for body, and if a second one exists, one for contrast color, like the lower body paint.
  • spyderturbospyderturbo Member Posts: 31
    Thanks for the advice, but don't you think the clay bar would have removed any wax build-up from the surface? Are you suggesting the problem could be with bad wax?
  • sddlwsddlw Member Posts: 361
    I'm not sure if the clay will remove all the old wax or not. I'm sure it would after a prolonged claying, but depending on how many coats of wax you have and how long you clayed....I don't know. A couple of washes with Dawn should. You could also use some mineral spirits or denatured alcohol to wipe down the bad area. These are not strong enough to hurt the paint, but should clean off that old wax easily. Of course the finish once stripped of all the wax will look a tad bit different.

    However, I think that chances are good you are seeing some oxidation of the paint. Depending on how deep the oxidation goes the fix could be easy or realy difficult. A little polishing to remove surface oxidation, or as you suggested, repainting. A good paint shop could help sort that out.
  • spyderturbospyderturbo Member Posts: 31
    Thanks for the advice. As much as I have waxed the car and have kept it in showroom condition (and garage kept) it is hard to think it would be suffering from oxidation already, but I suppose that is not impossible. I'll remove the wax and they check it out. Thanks for responding.

    I do wonder if it is paint failure from the manufacturer if after 4 years and 41,000 miles if Mitusishi would provide any compensation if repainting is needed?

  • sddlwsddlw Member Posts: 361
    It never hurts to ask, but I woiuls be suprised. Good luck with it.
  • headers8headers8 Member Posts: 23
    Obviously, no matter how careful a driver you are, you could still end up in an accident.

    The other day, my 02 Sienna CE was rear-ended. I was stationary with my foot on the brake, waiting to turn a corner, when a 97 Rav 4 bumped my rear. The impact was quite strong, but not enough to do a big damage on my bumper. It held up well and there was only a slight dent on it. I already had the repair done on it by the dealer who informed me that they did not note any serious structural damage on it or the chassis/body, so there was no need to replace it.

    I am curious to know if the rear ender might have caused any damage to my tranny, brakes, steering, wheel alignment (my front wheels were positioned to turn) or others.
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