How to touch up your ve­hi­cle’s ex­te­rior

The Calvert Recorder - Southern Maryland Automotive Trends - - News -

Warm weather is syn­ony­mous with many things, in­clud­ing sum­mer va­ca­tions. But for auto en­thu­si­asts, spring, sum­mer and even early fall would not be the same with­out road trips. Road trips of­ten in­still a spirit of re­ju­ve­na­tion in driv­ers and their pas­sen­gers, and there’s no rea­son that spirit can­not be ap­plied to ve­hi­cles as well.

Ve­hi­cle touchups were once a realm re­served specif­i­cally for me­chan­ics or the most ar­dent auto en­thu­si­asts. But nowa­days even week­end war­riors can ad­dress the mi­nor dings, chips and scratches on their ve­hi­cles, sav­ing them both time and money.

• Crack the color code. One of the fears novices com­monly have when touch­ing up their ve­hi­cles is that they won’t find the ex­act match with re­gard to their ve­hi­cle’s ex­te­rior color. The key to the per­fect color match is con­tained in the ve­hi­cle’s color code, which can be found some­where on the ve­hi­cle— most of­ten on the in­side of the driver’s side door. Con­sult your owner’s man­ual or call the ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer if you can­not find the color code on your ve­hi­cle.

Once you find the code, you can then or­der your color. Em­ploy­ing the most ex­ten­sive li­brary of OEM col­ors in the in­dus­try, Au­to­mo­tive-Touchup makes it as sim­ple as ever for driv­ers to cre­ate and or­der the ex­act col­ors to touch up their ve­hi­cles’ ex­te­ri­ors. Paints are cre­ated per or­der dur­ing a sim­ple, three-step on­line or­der­ing process us­ing a ve­hi­cle’s spe­cific color code, make, model and year, and or­ders are shipped di­rectly to con­sumers, sav­ing them from mak­ing a trip to the of­ten-in­tim­i­dat­ing au­to­mo­tive sup­ply store. The re­sult is driv­ers rest easy with the knowl­edge that they aren’t or­der­ing and sub­se­quently ap­ply­ing the in­cor­rect color to their car or truck.

• Use the right ap­pli­ca­tion tool. Dings, chips and cracks come in many shapes and sizes, and the ap­pro­pri­ate touchup tool will de­pend on the type and size of the blem­ish. Small chips and nicks and thin scratches are best ad­dressed with pens, while you might need a small bot­tle of clearcoat to ad­dress slightly larger ar­eas. Use an aerosol spray can to ad­dress ar­eas that have ex­pe­ri­enced ex­ten­sive dam­age.

When ap­ply­ing the paint, use sev­eral light coats rather than one heavy coat. Driv­ers con­cerned about their ap­pli­ca­tion abil­i­ties can visit the Au­to­mo­tive-Touchup web­site to ac­cess a li­brary of ed­u­ca­tional videos that il­lus­trate how to use the var­i­ous ap­pli­ca­tion tools. Vis­i­tors to the web­site also can speak di­rectly with a team of ad­vi­sors who can walk them through their projects.

• Rec­og­nize that prac­tice makes per­fect. Even if you are con­fi­dent you pur­chased the right paint, it’s still best to prac­tice us­ing your touchup paint prior to ap­ply­ing it to your ve­hi­cle. Use a glossy sheet of pa­per or metal can as a prac­tice sur­face, and then hold that prac­tice sur­face up next to your ve­hi­cle to con­firm your choice and calm any lin­ger­ing nerves you may have about the color match.

• Paint in the right con­di­tions. Be­fore ap­ply­ing any paint, thor­oughly clean the af­fected ar­eas. A sim­ple for­mula of dish soap and wa­ter should do the trick, but be sure to al­low the area to dry com­pletely be­fore con­tin­u­ing. When us­ing aerosol cans, the ideal tem­per­a­ture to spray is be­tween 70° and 80°F and hu­mid­ity should be 50 per­cent or less. Never spray primer, paint or clearcoat in di­rect sun­light.

• Al­low the paint time to dry. Dry­ing times vary depend­ing on the tem­per­a­ture. Paints may take longer to dry when tem­per­a­tures are below 70°F than they will when the weather is warmer. Once the ap­pli­ca­tion pro- cess is com­plete, do not wax the ve­hi­cle for 30 days.

Few ve­hi­cles make it through road trip sea­son with­out a scratch or two, and now driv­ers can quickly and af­ford­ably ad­dress those chips and nicks on their own in a mat­ter of min­utes.

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