Having a minor scratch in your otherwise perfect paint job can be more than just a little irritating. There is help however. Though larger and deeper scratches may require a trip to a professional garage or detailing center, smaller scratches and chips can be dealt with by a DIY weekend warrior. Try to remember that the paint finish on a car is sprayed on very thin but also very hard, so you have two things to fight against at the same time. Automotive paint jobs are hard and difficult to work with, mold, and sand. They are also thin, so any mistake or overly aggressive approach or sanding will be disastrous. Here are a few homemade solutions to dealing with a scratch on your cars exterior.
Filler and Buffing – The traditional method of store bought fillers followed by a little buffing is still one of the easiest ways to deal with a paint scratch. However, it does cost money, because all of the scratch fillers and compounds do cost quite a bit. Also, you tend to have to buy a large amount, which doesn’t make economic sense when you just want to fix one tiny scratch.
Shoe Polish – Old-fashioned shoe polish is a great homemade recipe for fixing scratches in your car’s exterior. It serves primarily the same function as store bought filler, but it is cheaper, comes in small quantities, and has more than one purpose. After using the shoe polish, you still have to let it dry completely and then sand and buff out the rough spots. You may also have to use a paint pen or do a little touch up also.
Chalk Dust – Believe it or not, chalk dust mixed with a little water can be used as a homemade rubbing compound. I have had great success using this cheap substitute on several paint scratches in the past, and I can’t complain. It requires the additional step of sanding and buffing (and possibly painting), but it works wonders.
Toothpaste – Toothpaste is also a decent substitute for rubbing compound, but I do not think it is as good as chalk dust with water. The toothpaste will harden, but it takes longer and is hard to determine the hardness level without touching it first and possibly smearing it all over.
Try any one of these suggestions and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised at the results. Some will work better than others, but you will just have to experiment until you find the technique you like best.