Most Common Car Paint Repair Q&A

Q: What is the best temperature for car paint repair?

A: 72F with 50% humidity is the best weather for car painting. Avoid painting in direct sun and in the windy conditions. Temperatures above 80F and below 55F can compromise your paint job. Since all areas have different weather, try to get to the recommended conditions as close as you can. During cold winter, it is a good idea to use heated garage. When painting in the garage, make sure you have enough light and good air flow.

Q: After car paint repair, why do I need to wait 30 days before applying  wax?

A: Coat of wax seals the paint creating a barrier coating over the surface, that prevents solvents from escaping through evaporation, or drying up.  Solvents, also called thinners and reducers, are used to thin the paint down so that it can be atomized into a spray when applied with a paint gun or an aerosol can using compressed air.

Q: Why do I need to apply a primer before painting the car?

A: Paint doesn’t do a good job sticking to the metal or plastic. For this purpose, we need to use primer.  Primer is designed to adhere to surfaces and to form a binding layer that is better prepared to receive the paint. Because primers do not need to be engineered to have durable, finished surfaces, they are made to be more aggressive filling and binding properties with the material underneath. Some car primers can be used on both metal and plastic.

Q: Why can’t I use paper towel to apply polishing compound?

A: Paper towels are made from wood pulp that are too rough and can cause micro scratches in the paint. Avoid using paper towels, old shirts, bath towel, or wash cloth.  Old clothes don’t hold very much water and don’t do a good job at buffing.  Synthetic fibers of the wash cloth can cause scratches.  I recommend using Microfiber towels which have super absorbent fibers which are 100 times finer than a human hair.

Q: How do I know what paint I need for my car?

A: Each car has a color code printed on the sticker that might be located in different spots depending on the make and model.  Some times it takes a while to find it.  It might be in a place like drivers door jamb, around the spare tire on a paper tag, underneath the hood, or in the trunk.

Q: Where can I order touch-up paint?

A: Avoid buying touch-up paint from a mega store or an auto part store. They usually carry only universal colors. You need to get a custom color specially made for your make and model. You can order it from a car dealership or buy it online. There a lot of different web sites that specialize in custom touch up paint. Buying online will save you time and money.

Q: Why do I need to use a clear coat?

A: Clear coat protects paint layers from friction, chemical resistance, weather,  and from chipping. Without clear coat paint looks flat and dull. Clear coat also gives the paint shine. After the paint is dry, apply 3-4 layers of clear coat.

Q: What is feathering?

A: Feathering is a process of smoothing the edges or blending something with the background. While repairing scratches you might be using it to smooth out the edges of the scratch with sandpaper or to blend the new paint with the old one by spraying it in layers starting from a central point and extending further out with each coat. This will blend the repair into the surface.

Q: What sandpaper do I need for each step?

A: For striping paint and metal grinding use sandpaper 100 grit and lower.  To prepare surface for primer and to sand rusted areas use sandpaper from 120 – 220 grit. Sandpaper 240 – 600 grit is used for sanding primer and first smoothing before base coat application. 800 – 2000 grit sandpaper is used for the final primer smoothing and clear coat sanding. For the best result always start with the lowest grit and work your way to the highest grit for that specific job.

Q: How can I get rid of rust?

A: You can get rid of light rust by sanding it with coarse sandpaper or a sturdy wire brush. There is also a lot of rust removers on the market. If you have a big rust damage it is better to take it to the body shop.

~Mike Davis

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3 thoughts on “Most Common Car Paint Repair Q&A”

  1. Hi Mike
    My door has been marked by the door handle of another car,it has not scratched but looks like an eraser has been rubbed on the paintwork the Colour is moon dust silver metallic. I have given it a light rub with Tcut colour
    Safe, this has not made much difference.not sure if the clearcoat is damaged.
    Any ideas? I can send you a photo if that is ok with you.

  2. Hi.
    I’m thinking about fixing up a deep scratch.
    Do i need a respirator for this? or just some cloth mask will do (like ones you see people wearing for flu or something)?

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