How to Touch Up Deep Bumper Scratches with Spray Paint

In this post I will show you how to repair deep bumper scratches on Porsche Cayenne. As you can see from the photo above, scratches went through the clear coat layers and paint layers, but didn’t damage the primer. Although the damaged area looks  small, you will need to spray paint it to get an even coverage. This type of repair can cost anywhere from $300-$500 at the body shop and you will be without the car for a few days. You can do the same repair yourself and save hundreds of dollars.

This project will take you a few hours to complete and can be done over the weekend. The key to success is patience. Make sure to take your time doing each step the right way instead of rushing it.

The step-by-step instructions below include a video, photos and comments for each step.  I don’t recommend using cheap products, since they can compromise the repair.  My goal is to save you money, but still give you good quality products. The process might be a little different if you are using different products. Don’t forget to read instructions for each product.

Items You’ll Need:

  • Assorted Wet/Dry Sandpaper This pack includes 5 sheets of assorted sandpaper (1 sheet each of 180, 320, 600, 1000, and 1,500) and can be used for sanding primer, clear coats,  and automotive paints.
  • Primer (aerosol spray) – Gray primer works the best for this repair.
  • Touch Up Paint (aerosol spray) – Order paint by clicking on the link and selecting your color.
  • Clear Coat (aerosol spray) – I used to protect paint and give it glossy finish.
  • Auto masking tape and Old Newspapers
  • Prep solvent – It removes oils, road grease, dirt, car wax, and other surface contaminates and also improves adhesion to the surface.
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound – You can use any rubbing compound you like, just make sure it is clear coat safe. Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is the best car scratch remover on today’s market that removes light-to-deep clear coat scratches and swirl marks. It’s clear coat safe and inexpensive.

 How to Repair Deep Car Paint Scratch How to Repair Deep Car Paint Scratch How to Repair Deep Car Paint Scratch How to Repair Deep Car Paint Scratch How to Repair Deep Car Paint Scratch How to Repair Deep Car Paint Scratch How to Repair Deep Car Paint Scratch

Optional Items:

  • Aerosol Spray Trigger – Very inexpensive item that can turn a spray aerosol can into a spray gun. Using this trigger will make it easier to apply the paint and clear coat.
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish How to Repair Deep Car Scratches For Only $50 – Use it for smooth and sleek shine. It is high quality, inexpensive, long lasting, and clear coat safe.
  • Meguiar’s Tech Wax – Use your favorite wax to protect the paint job.
  • Microfiber cloth – The new microfiber technology is widely used in car industry to avoid clear coat scratches that regular towels leave. It is great for drying the car and cleaning off residue.
  • Applicator Pads – Is used to apply rubbing compound, polishing compound and wax.
  • Dual Action Sander/Polisher How to Remove Deep Clear Coat Scratches from Toyota Tacoma – I found a nice beginner polisher on Amazon for a reasonable price that will give you amazing results. There are a lot of professional polishers, but they cost over $150. This Black & Decker polisher got great customer reivews How to Remove Deep Clear Coat Scratches from Toyota Tacoma. Detailing places on average charge about $100 for car polishing. The polisher will pay for itself in just one use.
  • Tack Rag Video Tutorial: Do It Yourself Car Paint Repair   Part 2 – Sticky material for removing dust.
  • Respirator, Gloves, Goggles – When working with toxic products, don’t forget about personal safety.

 Car Paint Touch Up Car Paint Touch Up

Step 1: Get the Paint

First, buy all the products including the touch up paint. To get the right paint, you need to know the color code for your car, which can be found somewhere inside of your car. Finding that code can sometimes be challenging. Here is an article I wrote on where to find car paint color code. After you know the color code, order the touch up paint. For this repair you will need an aerosol spray can. While you are purchasing a touch up paint it is a good idea to get a touch up paint pen to keep in your car for repairing small scratches and chips.

Step 2: Personal Safety

Although a lot of people don’t use any protection, I do recommend using goggles, mask and gloves when working with paint products. These simple items don’t cost much, but can protect you from injuries.  It is also important to do all the spraying in a well ventilated space.

Step 3:  Preparing the Area

The key to successful paint job is a well prepared surface. You should spend 70% of your time on area preparation before spray painting and 30% on applying paint and clear coat.

Check for the rust first. If you had scratches for a while, it might have some rust. Rust can be easily remove with rust remover. Before starting the repair job, clean the area with warm water and few drops of dish soap. Follow it with prep solvent. Spray the surface with prep solvent and wipe it with clean microfiber towel. This will ensure that the area is free of oil, wax, dirt, and other contaminants.

Step 4: Masking

Mask the area using auto masking tape and old newspapers. Don’t use a duck tape, it will leave sticky residue that is hard to remove. You want to leave some space around scratches for better blending.

You can use plastic instead of newspapers. Masking will prevent overspray.

Step 5: Sanding

In this step you want to even out the surface so that when you touch it with your fingers you can’t tell where the damage ends and the paint begins. Sand it with wet/dry 600 grit sandpaper. In the video, the guy is dry sanding. I like wet sanding more. It doesn’t really matter. Do whatever works for you.

For wet sanding, soak sandpaper in cold water for 10 min. Add few drop of dish soap to make it more slippery.

Wet sand the area that might get some touch up paint and clear coat with wet/dry 1,500 grit sandpaper. Make sure to use a lot of water.

Step 6: Prep solvent

After sanding is done, clean the are with prep solvent to get rid of the dust. Spray the prep solvent and wipe it off with clean microfiber cloth.

microfiber cloth

Step 7:  Apply Primer

Primer comes in different colors. The closer the color of the primer to the color of your car, the less paint coats you will need to apply to cover it. For this repair, gray primer works best. Spray the area with primer. Don’t worry, overspray can be easily removed in the next step.

Read the instructions on the primer. Shake the can. Hold the can 15 inches away from the surface and spray in even stokes. Three coats should be enough. Allow each layer at least 10 min drying time.

Step 8: Sand Primer

Wait 30 min for the primer to dry. Then, sand it with wet/dry 600 grit sandpaper. Follow it with 1,000 grit for smooth result. In this step you can remove the primer overspray. After sanding, the surface should be smooth. Remove the dust with tack rag and dry the area.

Tip: Wrap sandpaper around a sponge to avoid fingerprints.

Step 9: Apply Touch Up Paint

Now it is time to apply the touch up paint. Test the paint in a hidden spot first to make sure the color is matching. Read instructions on the paint. For better control and even coverage, use an aerosol spray can trigger. It is a plastic trigger that easily slides on top the pray can turning it into a spray gun. They are not using it for the paint application in this video, but it does help a lot.

Tree layers of paint should be enough to cover the primer. Give each layer at least 10 min of drying time. To blend in the new paint with the old one, spray each layer a littler farther from the repair area. This method called “feathering”. If you see dust on one of the layers, you can gently remove it by using a tack rag.

Step 12: Apply Clear Coat

After paint application, the are should look dull. To add shine, we need to spray it with clear coat. Wait for 30 min for the paint to dry before applying a clear coat. Read instructions for the clear coat. Shake the can. Hold the can 10-12 inches away from the surface and spray in even strokes covering surrounding areas. 3-4 coats should be enough. Give each coat 10 min drying time.

As you can see, they are using an aerosol spray can trigger for the clear coat application. It turned a clear coat spray can into a spray gun. I recommend getting it. It really helps the coverage and only costs a few dollars. After clear coat is dry, remove the mask.

Note: Clear coat overspray, dust or orange peel, can be removed by sanding it with wet/dry 1,500 grit sandpaper.


Step 13: Rubbing Compound

Rubbing compound is used to even out imperfections and to bring out the color of the paint. Wait one day before applying rubbing compound. You can apply it by hand or a polisher. Place a small amount of compound into the application pad and rub it by using circular motion.

Step 14: Polishing Compound (Optional)

car polishPolishing your car will give it a showroom shine. It can be done by hand or Dual Action Polisher. Apply a small amount of polishing compound on to foam application pad and rub the surface until it is dry. Remove residue with clean microfiber towel.

Step 15: Wax (Optional)

Use any wax you like. Wait for on month before waxing.

If you have any questions let me know.

~Mike Davis

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