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Detailing / Equipment

The steps of a paint touch up

February 28, 2013
KEYWORDS buff / paint / profit / repair / wetsanding
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Ever had a customer bring you their scratched car and ask, “I can’t pay you to make it PERFECT, but can I pay you to just make it look BETTER?”  

Here’s a little trick for making this type of customer happy and pocketing a quick profit. I used to do this at my repair shop in Beaverton, OR, where we called it the Ultimate Touch Up.

First, if you’re going to attempt an Ultimate Touch Up, make sure it meets the following criteria:

  1. The car’s paint color is not light metallic. No silver, no gold, no light blue, no light green.
  2. The damage is not to a horizontal surface. Only touch up vertical surfaces, including doors, fenders and quarter panels.

Here’s how to execute the Ultimate Touch Up, step by step:

  1. Mix an ounce of the car’s paint with .25 ounce of catalyzed clear. Stir.
  2. Apply to the scratch with a thick brush. Be sure to fill above the surface of the scratch.
  3. Cure for 10 minutes with an infrared lamp.
  4. Spray with water to cool and solidify paint.
  5. Wrap 1000 grit sandpaper around a solid, flat surface. A firm foam sanding block or a credit card work well.
  6. Wetsand in an “X” pattern until the touch up paint is level with the panel.  Be careful not to “dig in” with your fingers and burn the clear.
  7. Wetsand by hand the entire area with 1500 grit sandpaper.
  8. Remove paint scratches with electric polisher: Compound and wool pad.
  9. Polish with foam pad.

In 60 minutes, you have a flat, hard-to-see repair that the customer can live with. We never had an unhappy customer who chose the Ultimate Touch Up.





Apply paint with brush and cure

Apply paint with brush and cure


Wetsand with 1000 and 2000 grit

Wetsand with 1000 and 2000 grit


Compound and polish

Compound and polish

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