Nothing ruins a good paint job more than a few conspicuous scratches that draw attention away from the car itself. This guide will give you a good idea of the process involved with removing scratches and restoring a paint job back to prime condition.
The process of removing scratches involves several steps depending on the extent of the damage. Fine scratches and swirls can be removed with polisher and compound, which is a fairly straightforward process that we won’t cover here. For the purposes of this guide, we will be discussing the removal of deep scratches that can’t be removed without sanding. For this guide, we will be discussing a process involving sanding by hand and the use of a rotary polisher.
The first step in removing these type of scratches is to level the paint surrounding the scratch. It’s important not to get overzealous with your sanding and limit yourself to removing the defect. To prepare for sanding, you should soak your finishing papers in water for about 15 minutes and be sure to have a good range of papers (from 2000 grit up to 3000). Take care to soak your papers in separate containers, as the particles can come off and settle.
Start with 2000 grit paper and wrap it around a piece of rubber or foam. You may be able to purchase rubber backing pads for this express purpose as well. When this step is complete, you should have something that looks similar to a chalkboard eraser and can be used in a similar way.
You’ll need a spray bottle of water as well, which you should continuously apply to the paint as you sand, keeping the surface smooth so the paper glides easily. Sand in the direction of the scratch and apply stronger pressure on the damaged area, lightening up as you move away from it. This process is called feathering and will help produce a level appearance in the paint. You should occasionally wipe the area and review your work, stopping when the original scratch has been completely replaced by the finer scratches produced by the sanding. When this is done, repeat the process with the 2500 grit paper as well. The end result should be an area with finer scratches than both the original and the 2000 grit.
The final sanding is performed with the 3000 grit paper, which is conducted in the same manner as the first two rounds. However, the final result should be a barely scratched surface that gives a blurry and dull reflection when exposed to light. When you’ve reached this stage, you are ready to compound.
To apply compound, you’ll need access to a dual action polisher. You’ll apply the compound to the polishing pad and work it, at about speed 6, back and forth over the area. When you are done, wipe the area with a clean microfiber polishing cloth.
The final step in the process is polishing, which is nearly identical to applying compound but uses a finishing glaze rather than compound. When you are done, the scratches should be gone and your surface clean and smooth. Additionally, applying a wax or paint sealant at this stage will get your restored paint off to a fresh start.
This guide should have given you an idea of the steps required to repair scratches on your own, but if you have questions or would prefer a professional job, feel free to contact 2zero Car Studios about our paint-free dent repair process. Visit our website or call us at (941) 210-5400 to speak with a representative. We look forward to assisting you.