I have a 16-year old, and if you have been there and done that, then you know what that means to your car. She is always hitting things, scraping polls, scratching rims and making my not so old car into a beater, but the cost to fix your car? Why too expensive! If you are lucky, like me, to have the nicest neighbor in the world, who can fix ANYTHING and will do it because he is like my second dad, then this article might not be for you. Instead, I want to share these easy steps on how to fix scrapes, dings and other things on your car.
Why You Should Learn to Fix Your Car
My daughter and I share a car, and although it is a pain, she is certainly not a good enough driver to have her own car, and let’s not even discuss the cost of insuring a 16-year old! Because of her driving ‘skills’ or lack thereof, the front bumper looks terrible, and the back bumper is not so great either due to scraping on walls and garages. We have replaced three tires in two weeks!
But, we aren’t here to discuss her driving skills, we are here to discuss how to fix you car and make those scrapes, dings and other things disappear. I want to preface this by saying, I am not a mechanic, and I am also not handy, and I am also not a grease monkey. What I am though is a woman who likes to learn how to do things on my own to save money and because knowledge is power.
Tools You Need
There are a ton of tools you can buy to fix your car, but we only need certain tools. If you don’t have these tools, don’t despair, they are easy to pick up at Home Depot or Lowes.
- a scraper
- sandpaper #40 and Fine
- a hose
- a hairdryer
- a soft cloth
- epoxy or filler (not the kind you put in your face),
- the paint color that matches your car which is found on the sticker inside the driver’s door
- Clean Magic Eraser
- Gloss clear coat for automobiles
- A well-ventilated area
How Much Time Do You Need
As much as it takes, and the truth is it depends on what you are doing. What takes so long is that the paint has to dry and cure and the clear coat needs to dry as well. Give yourself at least a day.
Easy Steps to Fix Scrapes, Dings, and Other Things
The first thing you need to do when looking at how to fix your car yourself is cuss a lot as you assess the damage that has been done. When you are done with that, follow these steps.
- Run your fingers over the area where you have scraped the car. If it’s a dent, you will have to call someone to get it out, but otherwise, feel around to see how deep the damage is.
- If there is paint from the item that jumped in your path, take the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and wet it thoroughly and rub it on the paint. You will be able to get most of the paint from the offending object off using this method.
- If there is paint you can’t get off, chips, pieces that are raised, which only applies to a bumper or the plastic areas, or rough spots, take the sandpaper brick that is 80 courseness and wax on and wax off. Seriously, scrub until the rest of the paint comes off and periodically, spray water where you are sanding and keep going. If you find that you get all the paint but can’t get most of the scratches flat, switch to the fine paper and sand with that. Don’t forget the water!
- Now, if the plastic has popped out the piece it fits next to, and I am not a car guru, so I don’t know technical terms, but you can put the hairdryer on it and mold it back into place using the hammer. When the plastic is heated, use the back end of the hammer and push it firmly back into place and hold for about 20 seconds. If it pops back out, try again.
- For deeper scratches that you can’t sand off, take the epoxy, which is thick and sticky when mixed, and mix it well. Wipe down the damaged area of the car with the soft cloth to get all the dust off and so you can see what you are doing and using the scraper, dip it in the epoxy and place it on the offending deep scratches. With the sharp flat end of the scraper, scrape off the excess. Repeat this process until the scratches are filled. For smaller scatches, you can use the tip of your finger and the epoxy.
- It takes the epoxy a few hours to completely dry, but when it does, take a damp cloth and wipe off the excess. What you can’t remove that way, use your #40 sander and gently sand the excess off. Wipe with a dry soft cloth when you are done.
- Take the paint that you got from the dealer and if the scraper is big, spray in big sweeping motions over the damage. Be sure you cover areas that don’t need to be painted! For those smaller areas, you can spray the paint in a cup and with a q-tip, you can dip it in the paint and dab it on tiny spots to cover those areas.
- You will need TWO coats of the paint, and the paint will dry fairly quickly. This can be done in about an hour or so. Be sure you do this in a well-ventilated area because it stinks.
- When the paint is dry, take the clear coat and spray it in large even strokes over the same area you painted. You will need THREE coats, and this takes a bit longer to dry and more importantly, you don’t want to take the car out until it is completely dried. If you do, then it won’t be shiny like the rest of the paint.
And, there you have it, my midlife friends! You have now empowered yourselves to fix scrapes, dings, and other things, and if you don’t want to fix it yourself, you can always take it to the body shop!