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A car that's been hit by acid rain comes into your shop. Now what?

December 04, 2013
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This is the first in a five-part series covering the repair process involved with acid rain and chemical etching. This first part covers the equipment needed.

An automobile comes to your detail business with chemical etch marks. They could be water spots, pits or pin holes in the finish. How do you begin the repair process? Unless you can tell with certainty that the etching has eaten through the clear coat (discussed in Part I), you should try to make the repair rather than recommend a repaint.

I do not endorse any one repair process because most on the market will do a good job when used according to the supplier’s instructions. If you are trying to determine which process to purchase, call the supplier and request a demonstration.

For any chemical etch repair, you should follow the product manufacturer’s specific instructions. But I would recommend you definitely have the following:

  • A digital paint thickness gauge;
  • A buffer having the proper speed range for use with the specific repair products;
  • Wool cuttings pads;
  • Foam polishing pads;
  • An assortment of micro-fine grade sandpapers for sanding;
  • A semi-rigid sanding pad for use with the micro-fine sandpaper;
  • Aggressive compound;
  • Micro-fine compound;
  • Swirl remover/polish; and
  • Wax or sealant for protection.

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