When it comes do-it-yourself work on personal vehicles, most people lack either the money, knowledge or time. But many diehard car fans who work their nine-to-five jobs during the weekoften become weekend warrior DIY guys and gals.
Technological advances in the inner workings of vehicles, changes made in the last two decades or so, have led to much more complicated mechanical and electrical repair under the hood. But vehicle body work has not changed very much through the years. That’s especially true when it comes to customizing your vehicle’s body, touching up the paint job, or fixing scratches, dents, and dings.
For the simple fixes and small jobs, you don’t need a lot of sophisticated equipment.
Let’s say you want to do large panel repair involving paint refinishing, using a paint refinishing kit. It’s pretty simple. For anyone who knows even a little bit about cars – or who knows how to access a good how-to video or manual, the task can be done by a DIYer. Take a look at the basic steps involved (for more detailed information, consult a training video or manual – especially before attempting this repair as a DIYer):
This job requires some sanding work, so be sure to weargoggles and a face shield. For maximum safety, goggles and face shields should always be worn when sanding or grinding is being done. Another good idea, when appropriate, is to apply masking tape strips to headlight lenses, sharp contours and plastic parts on the bumper for protection.
- Start with refining the scratch by sanding the surface, making sure to take out sags and nibs. A DA (Dual Action) sanding tool is recommended.Then, do some scratch refinement and texture matching, using your DA sander and an interface pad.
- Next comes the buffing. Buff to completely remove the scratch you just refined by sanding. This is also known as “compounding.” For larger areas, use a machine polisher for the buffing. Be careful not to do too much buffing, though.
NOTE – Keep in mind the differences between a buffing machine and a polishing machine: A buffing machine uses a rotary motion to spin the buffing pad quickly. A single-action buffer can leave swirl marks on the panel. A polishing machine operates with a dual action, and generally does not leave swirl marks.
Make sure the pad is either flat or angled at about five degrees to the surface on flat body surfaces. However, you should tilt the pad when you need to get into or match a curved spot on the surface of the panel.
Buff in passes, like you would paint in passes. By moving the buffer back and forth in long passes, it’s easier to see how much paint thickness you are removing. It is a common mistake to go right through the paint if you are using a machine to do the compounding. That usually happens when the person is trying to make the paint shine a lot. But, if you keep your eyes on the job at hand, you should be able to see when you’ve buffed enough.
Also, use caution when buffing close to the panel’s edge because the buffing pad can get snagged on sharp edges. That messes up the paint job or damages trim pieces on the vehicle.
- Then, you remove swirl marks (if there are any) by doing “machine glazing” using your buffer. This part involves using a compound substance to bring out a full gloss or shine to the surface of the paint. Then machine glaze, applying medium pressure on the auto panel with the tool to remove the swirl markings.
NOTE– You can reduce the amount of swirl marks from the start by avoiding worn buffing pads and coarse products.
- If there are no swirl marks, move on to the next step, which is polishing. This is done by applying light pressure. The suggested buffer speed for this step is 1800 RPMs.
- Paint protection is addressed in this step. Put on the finishing glaze, and then go over the area once with the DA after you’ve put a glazing pad on the tool. Make once pass with the DA, doing one panel at a time.
- Immediately wipe the area clean, using a detailing cloth.
BONUS TIPSfor machine glazing:
- Use products from the same manufacturer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, especially if you’re a new auto body repair DIYer.
- Apply moderate amounts of the product.
- Keep the pad flat and keep it directly over the panel on which you are working.
For the DIYers who either are new to body work and who want some guidance, or would like to brush up on their techniques, useful information is out there. Just be careful that you are getting your training manuals and tools from credible and reliable sources – sources which know all about auto body repair and refinements.
There are some very good, easy-to-follow training videos to which can help get you started. For example, you can get user-friendly training videos and manuals from a highly knowledgeable and reliable source, by visiting: https://www.autobodytoolmart.com/training-videos-and-manuals-c-580.aspx