Professional painting of car body elements costs a lot. Fortunately, in many situations it can be avoided by choosing cheaper but equally good alternatives. How to deal with scratches?
One would like to say that paint scratches can be easily avoided – it is enough to… not drive the car. But even at a standstill an unpredictable situation may occur. Just a moment of inattention of another driver while maneuvering in the parking lot and the damage is ready. Besides, even in your own garage you can unintentionally hook your car while moving some things, and leave an ugly mark on the paint. Does it mean that you have to visit a body shop or a painter? Fortunately, no.
Modern cars are covered with paint, which consists of several layers. The outer protective layer – clar – is usually the thickest. Most importantly, it is not the one where the color “resides”. It is responsible for the way light refracts. And here we come to what a scratch is – a loss in the outer layer of paint, causing the light to refract differently than it should, showing the unwanted “lines”.
Of course, deeper scratches, reaching the lower layers of paint, are not rare. In their case, unfortunately, probably without a visit to the painter will not do. Of course, you can try to mask them at home, but the effects are unlikely to be either aesthetically pleasing or safe – there is, for example, the risk that corrosion will appear in the place of damage.
The fact that a scratch or – more often – a whole collection of scratches looks terrible at first glance does not necessarily mean that the problem is very serious. As said before, the visual effect is the responsibility of the outer layer of paint. The one that is easiest to repair. For this purpose it is worth to go not to a tinsmith or painter, but to a specialist in paint correction. Each detailing company will help to assess how serious the problem is and will propose a solution tailored to it.
In many cases it is enough to polish the paintwork, so that it disperses the light back in a way similar to the original. Of course, the effect will not be 100% perfect, but spotting the difference will require a keen eye (and knowledge of where to look for signs of any repair). Specialists in autodetailing use polishing wheels with high gradation (finer grains), with which – using appropriate machines – they remove a piece of the varnish in the place of damage and around it, so as to obtain the most even surface possible.
Then a polishing paste is rubbed on the leveled areas, which has several functions. It protects the paint underneath, additionally smooths the surface and gives it a shine. Thanks to this, the paint on the car regains much of its former charm. Is it possible to remove all scratches by polishing? No – but in many cases it is a cost-effective solution, significantly improving the visual effect, and at the same time many times cheaper than repainting the element (and is not associated with alarming messages issued by the paint thickness gauges).
Is it possible to polish scratches by yourself? Generally yes… as long as we do not care about how the car will look afterwards. Unfortunately, this is one of those activities which are very easy to spoil. Getting the desired effect requires practice, which is gained through years of practice – initially usually on unusable wrecks found in junkyards. If you do not have much experience, it is better to entrust the scratch removal to professionals. You can make such a mess on your own, that even a specialist will not be able to deal with it and repainting will become an obligation.
So if it comes to scratching the car, first of all, do not act rashly. Do not try to dry rub the scratches yourself, because it will only make matters worse. Let’s find a workshop dealing with autodetailing and give the vehicle in the hands of professionals. The cost will not be high – and the results may exceed expectations.