Here is a list of tips that will help you successfully repair your car.

1. Application of paint

If more than one repair is done on a vehicle at the same time, always start by the horizontal ones (hood, roof, trunk) before the vertical ones. The reason is that if there is less paint in the can, holding horizontally could cause spitting. This will not happen when holding it vertically and will also permit the use of all the paint.

2. Application of fiberglass putty

When applying the putty, the long strands in the fiberglass tend to curl up. To facilitate the application of fiberglass putty, place a wax paper or a plastic paper over the putty and smooth it with a clean spatula. Only use the necessary quantity.

3. Application of putty

People tend to mix too much putty when using it for the first time. It will dry out before it is completely applied. Always mix small amounts and avoid applying thick layers. It is always better to level the surface with a half-round file before sanding.

4. To buy or to rent

In the past, it was often less expensive renting rather than buying tools. Today, home improvement stores sell good quality tools for a fraction of the price. It is then recommended to check both options and decide which one is more appropriate for you.

5. Blending

The secret in achieving the perfect fusion of the touch up paint in the original finish is the art of blending. Blending is done at the very end of the paint job and this will guarantee a professional result. The product used is called a « blending solvent » which is a special mixture of solvent and clear that will melt in the overspray. Too often, people tend to make the repair bigger than needed and omit the blending solvent. They would be better off doing a smaller touch up and using a blending solvent which will make it invisible. In other words, the blending solvent is a very important part of the touch up.

6. Sanding block

Always use a sanding block to obtain a perfect sanding job. Sanding with your hand will cause sanding lines that will correspond to the fingers of your hand! Sanding blocks come in different types and different sizes whether using a dry or wet sanding paper . It is always recommended to wear a dust mask.

7. Contaminants

Contaminants are most often invisible to the naked eye but their presence will jeopardize the success of the repair. Wax, grease, silicone, asphalt, dirt, dust, bird droppings, bugs, tree sap, pavement marking paint, etc. are all examples of contaminants. Many of them can only be eliminated with a solvent. The first step of your repair is to wash the car with warm water and soap and then use a solvent to remove any remaining contaminants.

8. Guide coat

The guide coat is a very useful visual aid when in the final stages of sanding putty or primer surfacer. It is a fast drying light powdered coat that is available in black. Easy to sand, it will highlight imperfections and low spots that are invisible to the bare eye or to the touch. If you don’t have this product, you can always use a primer surfacer of contrasting color.

9. Washing

A car will not rust so soon if it is regularly washed. Dirt on a car will trap humidity which will cause premature rusting. Eliminating dust regularly will prevent formation of minor scratches and swirls on the paint. They will be more visible on dark colors.

10. Masking

Masking often seems like a tedious job but the time and money saved in the long run makes it a step that should not be skipped or botched. By masking, we are protecting the surrounding surfaces from overspray and possible scratches due to sanding. Certain parts on the car, such as mirrors, door handles or windows, should be masked properly but other parts such as moldings, lights or emblems can be removed. Rust is often found behind these removable parts.

Before sanding, we recommend to protect the edges of the surface to be sanded with many layers of masking tape. This « thickness » will protect the immediate surrounding areas.

11. Overspray

Overspray ressembles a thin layer of dust stuck on the paint. It occurs most of the time because of an improper application, inadequate environment (insufficient lighting, wind, humid and hot temperatures, etc.) or when the surface being painted is too large. The distance of vaporization is proportional to the speed of application. It is highly recommended to practice on another surface to determine the ideal distance and speed of application. Spraying quickly at a shorter distance is better than spraying slower at a greater distance.

12. Metamerism

The phenomenon of metamerism is when the color appears different depending on the source of lighting. Color formulas in the automotive industry are made according to the natural exterior lighting. Often, a color will look different inside a garage or a bodyshop with artificial lighting than it would outside. The texture and the degree of shine can also influence the depth of a color. This is why it is very important to check the color outside and not inside.

13. Masking paper

There are many different types of masking paper on the market. Best quality papers usually have a varnish coating for better protection. Others are simply either waxed or polished. Poor quality paper will permit solvents contained in the products to run through and damage the surface of the vehicle. For example, newspaper should never be used because the solvents will dilute the ink causing it to stain the paint. That is why good quality paper should always be used where solvents could affect the paint. Inferior paper could be used in further areas. The quality of masking tape is just as important as the quality of the masking paper. Pre-taped masking paper is also available but some people prefer the traditional method.

14. Sanding paper

Always use premium quality paper. We recommend sanding papers that are specially designed for refinishing purpose. Their special coating is more uniform. They will last longer, provide a more efficient sanding and prevent premature loading. No matter which type of sanding is done, it is always important to use a sanding block for an optimal result. Sanding with your hand will cause sanding lines resembling the fingers of your hand! It is very important to always use the recommended grit corresponding to the type of sanding. For example, sanding rust, paint, primer, plastic filler or even featheredging require different grits.

15. Compound

To obtain a perfect match, it is recommended to clean the surface with a compound before doing a touch up. This step will enable us to remove the top layer of the paint that has been worn out by either oxidation or bad weather. This fine paste which is an abrasive will later help the blending solvent to adhere to the surface. The compound could be done either manually or with a polisher.

16. Stone chip

A simple and easy way to repair small stone chips is by spraying a small amount of paint in the lid of the spray can. Using a fine brush with natural fibers or even a carton matchstick,apply a small drop of paint to the stone chip. Sanding is not necessary. Spray painting directly on the chip is not recommended.

17. Small touch up

When doing a small touch up, it is best to limit the size of the area being repaired and to use a blending solvent. For example, a small repair that is well blended in the middle of a door will be practically invisible. If the door is entirely repainted, as many people would do, the difference between the door and the rest of the car would be very noticeable. You cannot blend the door to the surrounding panels. However, it is very important when reaching the stage of painting, not to mask too closely. This would cause a demarcation. Only the surrounding surfaces should be protected.

18. Masking tape

Always use a high quality automotive masking tape. Its special coating prevents the paint solvants to run through. Regular household masking tape is not adequate. It will leave a persistent glue residue on the car.

19. Security guidelines

Always read the product labels before using them.
Always work in a clean environment with adequate ventilation.
For adequate protection, it is recommended to wear gloves, masks and safety glasses.
Always work with clean tools in good condition.
After use, rags soaked with solvent should always be rinsed and laid out to dry to avoid all risks of spontaneous combustion.

20. Drying time

Drying time will change depending on the type of products used, the temperature and atmospheric conditions. Not only is it important to read the manufacturer’s directions but also to keep in mind that products will dry quicker when the weather is hot and humid and will dry slower when cold and dry. It could be useful to use a timer when using certain products such as putty for example. If left too long, sanding will be impossible, and if waiting time is not respected, loading of the sanding paper will occur.

21. Clearcoat

Clearcoat must be applied with two or three generous coats to allow the paint to spread before the solvents evaporate. If it is vaporized at a too great distance, the solvents will dry before touching the surface which will cause fuming. There will be no gloss. On the other hand, a thick varnish will be less flexible and resistant. Do not confuse the number of coats with the thickness of coats. It would be a good idea to practice on another surface before the repair.

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