Surface Damage Repairs
A clean car looks sharp at a distance but scratches, rock chips, and dull headlights can really kill the image close-up. Detailing involves some light repair work and you can fix some minor issues.
Before doing anything, go inspect the clean vehicle and look at the surface to figure out what kind of damage you have. The Surface Damage Field Guide can help determine what’s on your paint as well as what’s fixable and what’s not. For swirls and scratches that don’t catch your fingernail, see the Paint Correction section.
The Rock Chips & Deep Scratches
- Touch up paint, either OEM or a matching Dr. Colorchip kit
- IPA solution
- Small brushes
- Heat gun (optional)
- 2000 grit sandpaper
- DA polisher
- Compound and/or polish
- Appropriate polishing pads
- Make sure the vehicle (or the part you’re working on) is as clean as possible. Wash the vehicle as usual. Then gently wipe the area down with a microfiber that has been dotted with the IPA solution.
- Using a toothpick or small brush, let the paint flow into the chip. Don’t dab and smear it around, you want the paint to soak down into the chip for uniform coverage.
- If you are using the Dr. Colorchip kit, follow the directions for the Sealact stage.
- Using a heat gun, dry the fresh paint until it is hard. Without a heat gun this can take a while to dry normally.
- If you are happy with these initial results, you can skip to step 8, otherwise keep reading.
- Soak the 2000 grit sandpaper in water for at least 5 minutes. After it has soaked, lightly rub it against the chip for a more uniform appearance. This will expose any parts that need additional paint.
- If you wet sand, you must follow up with a compound or aggressive polish to remove the haze left behind from the wet sanding.
- Continue steps 2-6 until you are satisfied.
- Wax when finished.