Scratches and dings

I have some small scratches and dings (on my car). I applied paint and shiny finish stuff from the dealership on them and it doesn’t look good! Can I fix them myself? I have a sander and can use a spray can.

There are probably a million books offering advice on do-it-yourself body work and painting. I suggest reading one and deciding whether or not this is something you want to do.

Usually when doing paint touch-up repair, it requires what is called Wet Color Sanding. After the paint has dried, you go over the repair by hand with a very fine grit sandpaper that’s been soaked in water to level the paint repair. And then the repair is rubbed out with a rubbing compound with an electric buffer, and then finished off with a polishing compound. The same thing is done after the clear coat is applied and dried. Afterwhich, a coat of wax is applied.


I get a bad feeling when you say “I have a sander”. Getting the chip sanded down even with the surrounding paint is the easy part. Next you’ll have to prime, wet sand, then apply finish coats. These repairs often don’t come out looking good (mine didn’t). If it were me, I’d google ‘paint chip repair’, there are a number of options, like I’d try something like that first, instead of the sanding/refinishing route.

It might look worse after you attempt this. I am sure you can use a spray can but the problem is spray cans do not contain the correct color. For each color there are also variations which is the correct color but a slightly different shade, and this is from the factory. It is not a defect, it is just the way it is.
If you would go to a car lot and study colors you can notice maybe a red car that has a slightly blue hue in it. Or maybe a yellow car with a green hue. This can be noticed a little easier when looking at rear bumper covers where they meet the quarter panels.
Your ability is not in question, what you have to work with is. Spray cans are for bird houses and items like that. What I am saying is you will not get the correct color match and when a car is spotted with incorrect marks it will look “patched” up and it will look worse than if you had not touched it.