Car Repair: Covering a Big Scratch

So, this is a thing that happened:

I don’t want to waste space or time ranting about the circumstances that led to this, but the end result is this: the car’s metal is exposed and needs to be covered before it explodes into a torrent of rust.

First, we visited a couple of body shops. They’d have to basically rebuild this section of the car.  The car is 11 years old and not worth this.  We also can’t afford it.

Thinking maybe we should attempt something DIY-ish, we next went to O’Reilly’s Auto Repair.  They had an overwhelming array of car body clays, potions, waxes, creams, etc, but their guys were convinced the car was going to rust no matter what we did and so missed an opportunity to sell us tons of car potions that (apparently) don’t work.

Finally, we went to the Ford dealer, where their guy told us to paint on a few coats from a little can of Ford paint (which I happen to already own) and then wax it.  SOLD!

Step 1: We scrubbed the hell out of the car. December in 40 degree weather is the best time to wash your car.  The icy water and frigid air make you work very fast.  We scrubbed until we were certain we had scrubbed off all the wax we so lovingly applied in October.

Step 2: We dried the car and pulled it into the garage. The car needs to be somewhat warm for this (the Internet seems to recommend 75 degrees, but that’s not gonna happen in December.)

Step 3:  Using a hair dryer, I warmed the area to paint.

Step 4:  I applied the first coat of touch up paint to the wound. This stuff is like thick nail polish and easy enough to apply (there’s a brush attached to the cap). No real technique here, since the angle is so awkward and the paint so goopy.  I tried my best to make the coat thin and even.

Step 5: Wait 2 hours dry time

Step 6: Apply second coat

Step 7: Wait 2 hours

Step 8: Apply third coat

Step 9: Dry for 20 hours. We were supposed to wait 24, but this would have to be close enough if we were going to wax it and still get to the grocery store before Sunday night ended.

Step 10: Wax the car (in the cold!)

Here’s our “after”:

This car doesn’t need to win any beauty pageants, but it does need to last a few more years.  Since we just applied this, I don’t know how it will work out.  It could chip off the moment the car hits 50 mph.  It could rust underneath the paint.  Rain could wash it off.

I’ll update when we know which it is!

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