Last year we bit the bullet and got a “previously owned” vehicle to replace the lemon Buick, may it R.I.P. It’s a Subaru Forester with hail damage, which made it immensely cheaper than we would have otherwise been able to afford. The hail damage did not puncture the paint, but did make little dents and a couple of little clear coat cracks.
There was, however, a large scratch on the left rear fender and bumper (it’s all one piece), and we didn’t want rust or too many more comments. No problem to repair, right? A quick quote from B-Street Collision (where I have had great service after “not my fault” bumps), revealed that body damage to a Subaru is not cheaply repaired. $3,800 not cheaply.
What to do, what to do?
After a couple weeks or so of researching, questioning
our my abilities, and visiting local auto stores, I found the solution: Automotive Touchup online. They not only provide the most awesome products, but they give you fool fail proof, step-by-step instructions, and suggest the additional products you’ll need when you put items in your cart! It’s okay to ignore those, if you have your own (I had the fine grit sandpaper and the primer/filler already).
To get the correct color match, you plug in your vehicle specifics, and if it’s factory paint, they do the rest. My unusual color paint was a perfect match! I was able to “airbrush” the ending of my paint repair and not have to do the entire bumper. That part of the vehicle looks incredible. Much more affordable (under $60)! And easy-peasy to do! Just make sure the temperature is right, and you do it in a dust-free environment that also has ventilation. Give it time and don’t rush.
I chose a rare non-windy Nebraska day, opened the opposite garage door a couple of inches, and the side walk-through door on the other side of the vehicle several inches, and had the storage attic steps open so the electric fan would pull out fumes. (This does not pull into the living areas.) I hung a dropcloth 4″ off the floor to allow air, but not dust, to flow below where I painted.
First, you block off the area to be painted. I used newspaper, blue painter’s tape, and a few drop cloths to protect both the floor and the parts of the vehicle (including wheels) I didn’t want coated. Over protect those areas, and use the panel boundaries as your guides, so you paint the entire panels. Then, wipe, dry, sand. Fill in gouges with primer and let dry. Wipe, dry, sand, wipe, dry, sand, wipe, dry. Really dry. Let dry some more. Then shake, shake, shake…. Dust off the lint again. And very lightly spray just one coat (you do not want drips or sags). Let dry 15 minutes without getting dust on it. After three similar very light coats, let dry at least an hour, then clear coat it. Et voila! Give it a couple days to cure before buffing or washing.
The clear coat spray also went on the hail damaged areas where it looked like the factory coat had split, to prevent rusting. And, of course, since we got the Subaru there have been parking lot dings and a minor user error on the driver door. As soon as the weather becomes a little more predictable (meaning tornado season is over and the air conditioner has been prepped), I’ll be addressing those areas again.
It’s not professional unless a professional does it, but I can tell you this amateur did a pretty professional-looking job. Spray auto paint! Who knew?!
BTW, I haven’t been compensated for this review. I just tell it like it is. These products worked for me, and they could work for you, too, especially if you’re on a squeaky tight budget.