Although everyone assumes that the life of an automotive writer is all glamor and glitz – red carpets, champagne, interviews – it’s far more mundane, really. Take the chore that I am about to relate to you. It’s about as mundane as can get, yet it affects the value of your vehicle to a great degree.
Here’s the background: About six weeks ago during a family shopping trip, this very strange driver decided that she could pull an end run around my car as I backed up. Well, what do you suspect happened? If you think she rammed my rear quarter, you’re right! It wasn’t hard enough to cause damage to the panel itself, but it did bung up the bumper (and wouldn’t you know it, she blamed me for having the gall to back up – I guess the rules of the road have changed so that now everyone else is responsible, except the responsible party-but we’re getting off topic).
One thing you have to know is that I hate bunged up bumpers and fortunately the damage was more scuffing than anything else, so I decided that rather than let my local dealer charge me an arm and a leg and my first-born (dealer would be getting the worst of the trade and we couldn’t have that), I decided to fix it up myself. I’ve been doing this sort of thing with cars for about 40 years, so it’s actually a piece of cake.
To fix a bumper scrape – as long as there’s no paint cracking, also known as spidering – or metal scrape for that matter take the following steps:
1. Look either at the sticker in the glovebox or on the door for the paint code. In our case, it was a for a Chevrolet (www.chevrolet.com)
2. Obtain a tube of the proper color touch-up from your dealer (It won’t be inexpensive; a small-sized tube costs about $20 with tax included, but you can use it either as a roller pen or brush as it has both heads built in.
Note: Avoid paint such as Krylon which, while it is a great paint for large rusted areas, really isn’t made for car use and it’s tough to match the colors.
3. Clean the area to be touched-up thoroughly using a mild car-cleaning soap and water.
4. Dry the area thoroughly.
5. Take the tube of touch-up paint and shake it thoroughly. Touch-up paint usually contains a ball-bearing that acts as the mixer. You can tell if it is if the ball moves freely and makes a great deal of racket as you shake the tube.
6. Carefully remove the top cover and, using the ball-pen-type head, run in a small bead of paint and this should handle a crease.
7. If the crease is larger and involves more real-estate then choose the paint brush tip and, after ensuring that the area is clean, smoothly apply a small layer of touch-up, being sure to fill in the area as neatly as possible.
8. If needed, wait until the area is thoroughly dry and repeat the process and you are done.
Two words of caution: 1. always make sure the crease is slight and 2. Be sure to use the right color touch-up paint.
(Source: author’s experience)