There is a lot of advice out there about how to touch up the paint on your car. Some of the best advice, however, defines when it’s better to get a professional paint job.

The DIY trend and YouTube “how to” video craze have made many car owners think they can fix every problem on their own. Sometimes, this isn’t a great idea. In a lot of cases, car painting is one job that is best to have done professionally.

This article answers two burning questions: Why do some try to fix their car paint at home? When is it better to have the car painted by an auto body shop?

Why Some Car Owners Try Brush Touching

Cracked, flaking, scratched or faded paint is always unsightly. Some car owners want a quick fix to make the vehicle look better. Others don’t want to file an insurance claim for paint damage that is unrelated to a collision. Still, others think they will save money with a DIY solution.

Brush touching supplies and paint touch-up kits are widely available online, as well as automotive and hardware stores. They can cost anywhere from $20 to $3,500 depending on the types of painting equipment included in the kit. For very small scratches, these may prove to be a quick, cost-effective way to fix the paint. If applied well, the scratch will no longer be visible from a distance.

Up close, however, you are likely to notice a difference in the thickness, color or finish of the paint. This is because a repair kit does not match the number of layers, quality or exact color of the paint used by the manufacturer or body shop.

When is it better to have the car painted by an auto body shop?

It may be tempting to try to touch up your car paint by yourself, but there are some good reasons why smart car owners prefer to take their car to a professional. If you are deciding between purchasing a DIY paint repair kit and having the car painted by an auto body shop, keep reading.

…When You Want the Best Results

For an older car model that you plan to sell in the near future, touching up the paint at home is a valid option. For newer vehicles and primary vehicles, a touch-up kit won’t deliver the results that you expect. The car paint used by professionals is high quality. The color and tint are precisely matched to your make and model. Auto body shops are able to apply the paint so that the finish matches your car perfectly and it restores that ‘new car’ look.

…When Extensive Paint Work Is Needed

Touch-up kits are not intended to be used to fix sizable areas of paint damage. The amount of material provided in the kit and the time required to apply it would make it challenging to obtain good results.

Auto body shops have special equipment for vehicle painting which makes the job more efficient and effective. When the damage is extensive, there is also a high probability that there is other damage under the surface – to the car’s body, components or chassis. DIYers risk letting this more serious damage go unnoticed. When you take the car to a professional, technicians will verify the safety of the vehicle, check the extent of the damage, and make the repairs needed.

…When the Solution Must Be Cost-Effective

Surprisingly, brush touching may not be the least expensive option. Depending on the equipment and amount of paint needed to finish the job, you may end up spending more by trying to fix the paint damage yourself. It’s unlikely that you will ever use the material that you’ve purchased again in the future. Plus, if your DIY effort fails, it may cost even more to have the paint job fixed by a professional.

…When You Want to Preserve the Value of the Vehicle

It’s not recommended to use a touch-up kit on a collector car or vehicle that will be put up for sale at some point. The authentic value and resale value of the car decreases by applying a low-quality product. By painting the car yourself, you may even cause further damage.

A good paint job can actually boost the resale value when it comes time to sell the vehicle. Professional paint adds value by protecting the auto body components from gravel and debris and helping to prevent corrosion and rust. Auto body technicians have the training and experience needed to perform seamless spot painting and full-body application that will safeguard the car for years to come.

…When the Work Needs to be Guaranteed

Only a reliable auto body specialist can provide car owners with a guarantee for the paint job.

Badell’s Collision guarantees the quality and workmanship of all of our auto paint work for life. For more information about our car paint and repair services, contact our shop in either Aston or Malvern Pennsylvania. You can also request a quote online.

How Do Professionals Repair Scratches?  

To repair a scratch on your car, the professional auto body repair techs will go through the following step-by-step process.  

You can also watch along in this ‘how to’ video. 

  1. The vehicle should be prepped by sectioning off the area of the car where the scratch is located. A large enough area should be included in the repair surface for best results to ensure a smooth finish. Our technicians thoroughly clean the vehicle and use masking tape to section off the panel that needs paint repairs. To protect other body panels and components that aren’t part of the repair, the tech will use a thicker electrical tape or duct tape. 
  2. Then, the paint technician will sand the area down to the car’s body using an abrasive, 220-grit sanding disk. Working in lines that run evenly along the body panel and with careful back-and-forth motions, the technician will remove both the clear coat and base coat where the scratch is located. The goal is to remove the scratched paint and make an even surface for the paint repair.  
  3. Next, the technician will switch to a finer sanding disk, usually a 320-grit disk, in order to remove and smooth out the sanded area. We don’t want to leave a step between the repair spot and the pre-existing paint job. So, that often means that the technician will need to sand all the way to the edge of the body panel. 
  4. Then, the auto body technician will use a flexible abrasive cloth or sanding sponge, like a ScotchBrite Pad, to prep the entire car body panel for painting. Here the objective is to roughen up the clear coat on the panel to ensure a smooth, solid adhesion for the new paint without creating further scratches or damage. The technician does the sanding by hand where the body grooves would be difficult for a sander, then uses a very fine sanding disk, like a P600 with a fresh cushion disk, to lightly power over the flat areas of the body panel. Again, this job is done in long strokes and a back-and-forth motion along the lines of the car body. 
  5. After that, the tech will usually switch to an even finer sanding disk and lightly go over the entire panel again. Touching the panel helps to understand if any rough or uneven spots need more sanding.  
  6. Once the sanding is finished, the tape can be removed from around the edges of the panel that will be repainted. 
  7. Next, the technician will clear the dust from the car’s surface using a compressor and then wash it down with water and microfiber cloth. Then, dry it thoroughly.  
  8. We want to give the border between the patch area and the rest of the panel one more pass with the 320-grit sanding disk. 
  9. Then, the dusting, washing, and drying process must be repeated. This time, the auto body tech will dry down the surface using a microfiber cloth and an air compressor to clear any dust remnants from the car’s surface. 
  10. Now comes the painting prep. Using clean masking tape, the technician sections off the patch area within the panel that is being repainted. A nylon tarp is used to cover the rest of the vehicle, and the hole is carefully cut around the patch area. Then, this is taped in place as well.  
  11. Then, the technician will cover the repaired scratch with a primer coat and use an infrared paint-curing lamp. The heat from the infrared light significantly reduces the amount of time required for air-drying and reduces the risk of airborne dust and particles ruining the smooth finish. It also ensures better adhesion of the paint layers and a high gloss finish.  
  12. Next, the technician will cut the nylon tarp and remove the masking tape around the patch. And panel will be prepped for some light sanding. 
  13. Using a fine sanding tool, the technician will buff the paint patch to prepare it for solid adhesion of the next coat. Using increasingly finer sanding disks, the technician carefully sands in steps outward from the patch.  
  14. Then, the dusting, washing, and drying process is repeated again. And the entire panel area is prepped for painting with tape around the panel section and nylon over the rest of the car.  
  15. The panel is ready to be painted with a base coat and top coat and cured completely! 

Related article: Why High-Quality Auto Body Paint Matters. 

At Badell’s Collision, in Aston and Malvern, we guarantee you’ll be satisfied with our scratch and dent repair work. In fact, we offer a lifetime warranty on all of our repair services. 

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