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Scratching the Surface

E

very time you take your car for a spin, you are inadvertently exposing it to unavoidable abuse. It might bottom out over a pothole you miss seeing in time, or be pummeled by gravel as you swerve onto a road suddenly under construction, or be scratched by sand as you cruise by a construction site. Even parking presents its hazards — another car passing too close in traffic can scratch your car, or some neighborhood kids might decide to demonstrate the latest dance steps on your car roof. So, that perfect paint job you admired as you drove out of the dealer’s lot may not last as long as your salesperson led you to expect.

Of course, you can take preventive measures, as long as you don’t mind extreme inconvenience. You can always drive around with a canvas cover over your car — just remember to cut opening for the windows and doors. Or, you could pay thousands of dollars for a monthly space in a parking garage, and the two spaces on either side of your car. As a last resort, you might be able to hire four escort cars to surround your prized vehicle whenever you have to risk driving.

O.K, so none of these suggestions is even remotely practical. You’re just going to have to face reality. Your car is a delicate and vulnerable machine without any appropriate armor. Over time, it will be scratched, dented, and nicked. The only recourse you have is the way in which you deal with these assaults and how creative a cosmetic surgeon you are.

 

Numerous products and tools can aid you in your quest for automotive beauty. Go to most hardware stores or automotive specialty stores and you’ll find polishes, waxes, touch-up paint, and rubbing compounds. They all have things they do well and limitations. For instance, polishes and rubbing compounds can buff out the nicks and scratches on the surface, but take a lot of elbow grease and cover a very tiny damaged area. Touch-up paints appear at first to be easy as finger-painting, but when you actually try to apply it, you find that the scratches inevitably still show up, and often the color is not quite a match. What you can do is go to a shop that knows how to mix a touch-up paint to an exact match, and they may even give you some expert advise on the correct way to apply it. If you find the right product and the right information, you may be able to avoid a costly trip to the body shop to have your entire car repainted.

All these solutions, used correctly, will work as long as the damage is minor or your car is only affected by the normal erosion of a few years of driving. The real problem is when you are in a car accident or the damage to your car is more extreme than light scratches. If this is the case, you can consider other options.

 

You’ve had a car accident. After your heart stops pounding and you thank your lucky stars you’re still alive, you get around to examining your car — and what you see is almost enough to put you in the hospital! Now’s the time to face up to certain facts. You will need to take your vehicle to a professional body shop, and it will probably cost you enough money to make it hurt. But remember: it’s your CAR.

Find a body shop with a solid reputation for exceptional work and honest, fair prices. This may take some time and research, but it will be well worth it. Try to go to their shop and view some of their work if possible, and talk to their technicians; don’t worry if you think some of your questions might sound silly. Remember: YOU are the CUSTOMER.

Then turn your baby over to their loving care. While your car is in ‘surgery,” take comfort in the fact that you have done everything in your power to do. And when the call comes in that your car is ready for you to pick-up, you will rejoice to be reunited with a car as sleek as shiny as the day you drove it out of the dealer’s lot.

 

Also see:

Your Car's Exterior

It's a Dangerous World Out There without a Proper Car Cover -learn the pros/cons of the different car covers on the market.

Selecting the Right Tires for Your Car -get the scoop on selecting the proper tires.

Are Drive-Through Car Washes Safe For Your Car? -Get a professional job or do-it-yourself?  Find out here.

A Bucket, Soapy Water & Elbow Grease-Cleaning The Exterior -great how-to tips for getting rid of the grime on your auto.

 

 

This webpage is brought to you for general information purposes only and there are no warranties as to accuracy, completeness, or results obtained from any information posted on this or any linked website.


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