I’ve used Dr. Colorchip in the past, and it works great for very small nicks and chips, but anything bigger than 1-2mm doesn’t turn out good.
So what do you do when there is a BIG scratch?
Enter Roberts Paint Care and their deep scratch repair kit.
My wife’s car has a number of scratches and dings, ranging from scraping a wall pulling into a parking spot, being backed into, and having a good sized rock take a big chunk out of her hood.
The worst damage was definitely the rear quarter panel, which was damaged all of the way through the paint, due to a parking incident.
You can see what I mean in this picture:
We didn’t feel it was worth it to have a body shop repair it, costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars, especially given the car is used as a daily driver and will inevitably get dinged up again, but it was a bit of an eyesore and I wish it wasn’t there, as the car looks great otherwise.
Thankfully someone from Roberts Paint Care reached out to me via email and let me know there was a better way!
They’ve developed this really cool repair kit that is for larger, more serious repairs, but still something you can DIY in your garage.
It’s perfect for those jobs too big for Dr. Colorchip, but too small for a body shop, which is exactly what I needed for our family cruiser, a 2014 Ford Focus SE.
When you first get the kit, it can be a little overwhelming. There is sandpaper for one, and yes you have to sand the paint of your car which is a bit of a scary thing to do at first.
Roberts has a bunch of great videos on their site to walk you through everything, and you quickly pass “the point of no return” as you sand, prime, paint, and then clear…but fear not, it will look worse before it looks better, but ultimately it will turn out great.
You can check out the video here, but I’ll go into step-by-step written instructions below:
I’m far from an expert in paint or body repair, but I’m really impressed with how it turned out. The car looks 100X better than it did before, and this project only took an afternoon of time.
I did learn a few things along the way that would make the results better for next time, which I of course will share here for my readers. I’ve also got a few other areas on my wife’s car to clean up, so I’ll be able to apply these learnings there as well.
Without further adieu, I’ll walk you through the process step by step so you can get an idea of just how straightforward the kit is to use, and just how awesome the end result turned out!
Step 1: Unboxing the Kit & Prep
Open the kit and remove everything. The kit includes everything you need, although I wish it came with a sanding block. I picked one up on Amazon here, and recommend you get one as well if you don’t have one. Otherwise the kit is very comprehensive, including masking tape, sand paper, paint, etc. The other thing that might be useful is a mixing board for the body filler, although any flat and clean piece of plastic should do, and make sure you have something to clean the surface of any wax, oils or residue – ideally something like CarPro eraser, but any alcohol-based cleaner will do.
Before you start the project, read all of the instructions and watch the video, and make sure you have a whole day to spend on this.
You won’t be working this entire time, but you’ll lay a coat of paint, wait 15 minutes, and do it again, so it takes a solid afternoon…you also have to give the primer 8 hours to dry, so I recommend starting first thing in the AM so that you can finish late afternoon, then leave the car in the garage overnight to fully dry and cure before you take it anywhere the next day.
Last but not least, clean and dry the car thoroughly, and find a good working area (ideally a garage) that is clean and won’t get dust or other debris floating into the wet paint.
Step 2: Sanding
Use the supplied 180 grit sand paper to sand down the area that is damaged and scratched. Make sure to cover the surrounding area too so that the filler can adhere.
This part is pretty easy, but it’s definitely the most scary, as the car starts to look worse before it gets better. Fear not and power through, it will end up looking great.
Step 3: Body Filler
Mix the body filler using their instructions – you don’t need much.
Spread it in the affected area using firm pressure, working it in to be as smooth as possible. Let it dry 15-30 minutes, then you get to sand again.
When sanding, use the sanding block so you can make sure everything is level, and if the damage is deep you’ll likely go down to the bare metal at this stage:
Once you’ve got everything sanded smooth, it’s time to wipe down the entire area, as you want to minimize dust or anything that can get trapped into the paint.
Use your isopropyl alcohol (IPA) wipe again on the entire area that is taped in, and make sure the taped in area is much bigger than the area you prepped, as you want room to fade the paint together.
Step 4: Primer
Prep the area by taping off and covering anything you don’t want overspray on. I’d recommend covering your tires for this stage with a garbage bag, otherwise you might get some overspray on the sidewalls which can be removed, but is somewhat annoying to do so.
Apply 3 coats of primer spraying about 6 inches from the car, allowing 15 minutes between each coat.
Do not spray up until the tape line like I did, as that doesn’t leave any room to blend.
Instead, leave area between the end of the primer and beginning of the tape, so that you can have a smooth finish (this was my only mistake!).
Leave the car for 8 hours before sanding.
Use the sanding block with 400 grit sanding paper to get the area smooth, but do not remove all of the primer. Focus on making sure the edges are smooth, but you need adequate coverage to build the base for the paint.
Clean the area again using an IPA cleaner, and fix the masking if you need to making sure the painted area has lots of room beyond the primed area so you can blend it together.
Step 5: Base Coat
Finally, the fun part!
The car will start to look better each and every coat, and you’ll start to be really proud of yourself for tackling this job yourself. Go, you!
At about 4 inches from the surface, spray the base coat in sweeping motions. Start with a very thin coat, and then work your way up to thicker, wetter coats once you have a base established.
Allow 15 minutes per coat, and I did 4-5 coats to make sure there was enough black to cover the primer.
Spray a little beyond the primer, but not all of the way to the tape line!
Step 6: Clear Coat
The paint should be fully matched, but dull at this point. Fear not, that is what clear coat is for!
Wait 15 minutes after you last base coat to spray your first clear coat.
Apply at least 2 coats (15 minutes apart) of clear coat, although I opted for 3 or 4.
Step 7: Blending Solvent
By now, the car should look great.
The last step is the blending solvent to blend in the new paint with the old paint.
Apply the blending solvent around the edges.
If you sprayed too wide of an area, consider removing the masking for this and spraying where the tape was, as the whole point is to remove any edges. If you sprayed all of the way to the tape, you’ll create a tape line if you don’t do this right.
I was able to fix my tape line by waiting a few weeks, then using a dual-action polisher to buff out the edge to be smooth.
Wait as long as you can before driving, and then you’re all set!
Roberts recommends waiting at least a week before washing, and a month before waxing or polishing, in order to not disturb the curing process of the paint.
The paint matches incredibly well, and even the metallic flake came out well. You can see my reflection well in the picture above, and this is before any polishing to improve the shine.
It’s almost hard to believe that came out of a rattle can, but it did.
Now that I’ve learned a few tricks, I’m going to touch up a few other areas on my wifes car, then give it a good detail and ceramic coating once all of the repairs have finished curing.
A big thanks goes to Roberts Paint Care for sending me the product to try out!