So, you have a few scratches on the body of your vehicle and you're thinking of re-painting to increase the value and the cosmetic appeal of your car or truck. Although dings and dents accumulate easily on a vehicle, they can be expensive to repair. Luckily, you can do a good portion of the job at home by using relatively inexpensive materials. You can prepare the surface of your car for paint by using glazing and spot putty. This is designed to smooth the surface of your car so that when it is painted, the imperfections are no longer visible.
Things You'll Need
- Glazing and spot putty
- 120 grit sandpaper
- 320 grit sandpaper
- Electric sander/hand sanding block
- Putty knife
- Spray-on auto-body finishing primer
- Drop cloth
- Clean rags
Select the glazing and putty compound you will use. You can find compounds at your local auto parts store. Some putties, or fillers, are sold separately from the glazing compound; however, there are some brands that combine the two for easier use. Look for two-part, or catalyzed, glazing putty. Two-part glazing putty is already combined with a hardener and will therefore not absorb any other products you are working with. This will prevent the compound from swelling from absorption and then shrinking as it dries.
Once you have selected a glazing putty, you must prepare your area. Be sure that your glazing compound, rags and putty knife are available. Arrange the sanding material and spray-on primer in an organized fashion around your work area. Spread a drop cloth below your work area, particularly if you are working outside; all of the materials you are using are toxic to the environment and you should take care to protect the area from these toxins.
Prepare the surface you will be working on. Using 120 grit sandpaper and a hand sander block (or, if you doubt the strength of your arms and the area you are sanding is particularly rough, an electric hand held sander) completely smooth the area. Use a cloth to wipe away the paint and metal dust. Rinse off the area with water and dry thoroughly. Spray on two coats of primer. Allow primer to dry. Do not attempt to use the glazing putty until the surface is completely dry.
Squeeze a small amount of the glazing putty onto a putty knife and smooth into the area. Spread the glazing putty through the dent or scratch, smoothing the surface as you go. Allow the glazing putty to dry. If you are using a two-part (catalyzed) glazing putty, this should not take longer than an hour. If you are using one-part, it can take up to a day.
Using a fine grit sandpaper (320 or up) sand the area once again, taking care to keep the sandpaper level and pressure applied equally. You do not want to apply more pressure to one area over another as this can result in a scratch or dent in the glazing putty itself. Wipe the area with a damp cloth. When the area is dry, apply two coats of spray primer.
Tips & Warnings
- You may want to use a face mask as you sand the surface.
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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