Keeping Your Paint Pristine

Three Ways To Strip Paint From Your Auto Body Panels

If your car was in an accident and you’ve decided to tackle the repairs on your own, one of the things you’ll have to do is strip paint in the affected area. When it comes to paint removal, there’s no single approach that’s right for every situation. You’ll have to evaluate each of your choices to determine which one is the best fit for the condition that your car is in.

Doing It All By Hand

Stripping paint by hand can be a painstaking process. It requires a time commitment, so it isn’t the best option if you’re in a hurry. However, doing the work by hand does allow you to target your efforts precisely where you want to work. There’s no risk of over-spray or damaging the metal surface beneath.

To do the work by hand, you’ll need a set of sanding blocks and different sandpaper grits. Start with coarse paper, then work your way down to the fine grit to smooth things out. Sometimes, wet sanding is easier, because it removes the clear coat and the paint while keeping the dust to a minimum.

Using Liquid Paint Remover

Liquid paint removal is an efficient choice for stripping paint from auto body panels. It removes the paint without risking any damage to the underlying body panel. You just apply a liquid paint removal product using a brush, then scrape the paint off the surface with a putty knife once the paint starts to loosen up and form bubbles.

The one thing to note about liquid paint removal is that it often works in layers. That means reapplying it a few times if you’re stripping paint down to the body panel. Just keep in mind that you’ll probably want to remove the panels from the car to work on them, because any errant drips can result in bubbling paint in places you didn’t want it.

Speeding Things Up With Sandblasting

If you’re working on a large-scale project like stripping the whole car, you may want to speed things up by renting a sandblaster. The pressure behind the sandblaster will remove the paint much faster, but you’ll risk denting and other damage on the body panels. If you won’t have time to deal with the pits and dents, you’ll want a different method, but if you can fill in the surface divots and smooth things out after, you can get things done quickly.

These three methods are the most common ones for removing paint from auto body panels. If you’re not confident doing the work yourself, you can work with a local auto body repair shop like Westside Fender/Body & Refinishing to do it instead.

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Discuss These Three Subjects When You’re Talking To A Collision Repair Shop

After your vehicle has been damaged in an accident, your first priority is to deal with your insurance company. Once this necessity is completed, it’s time to start looking for an auto shop that can handle the repair work. Your insurance company will often have some recommendations of certified shops in your city, so it’s useful to call or visit each of the locations, talk to a shop employee and decide which will be best suited to handle your repair needs. Insurance companies won’t recommend shops that aren’t licensed, so you don’t have to worry about confirming this detail. Instead, make sure that you discuss the following three subjects to help you choose the best shop.

Make/Model Specialist

It’s often ideal to confirm that the mechanics at the repair shop are trained to work on your make and model of vehicle, especially if it’s somewhat uncommon. You should ask the shop representative if the mechanics have received training from the vehicle manufacturer and, if so, how recently. Leading auto manufacturers are constantly training mechanics from shops around the country to work on their vehicles properly. Knowing that the shop’s employees possess this advanced training can make you feel confident that you’re picking the right shop that will get the repair job done to your satisfaction.

Firm Timelines

Although unexpected delays can always slow down a repair job, it’s ideal to find a shop that will provide you with a clear timeline — in writing — to suggest when the job will be done. Don’t simply accept a rough prediction that it could be a few weeks, for example. Reputable shops will provide their customers with a work estimate that explains each of the elements of the job that are necessary and how long they’ll take to get finished.

Replacement Vehicle Rental

Given that your vehicle will be in the auto shop for a period of days or weeks, you’ll need an alternative method of transportation. It’s ideal to see if any of the shops that you’re considering have a vehicle-rental service in the same location. Many shops provide this benefit, which saves the customer from having to drop off his or her damaged vehicle and then arrange for a drive to a rental facility from a family member. It’s ideal to simply drop off your vehicle and browse the available rental vehicles to find out that suits your size requirements.

Click here for more on collision repair or do an online search. 

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Tips For Maintaining A Convertible Top

If you have a convertible and like to use a top every once in a while, then it’s a good idea to also do some maintenance from time to time. A bit of elbow grease here and there can lead to a much longer lifespan for your convertible top. Here are some tips to help you get started: 

Vinyl vs Fabric

The first step is to make sure you know exactly what kind of material your top is made out of. If you pick the wrong type of cleaning solution, then you could permanently ruin your top. That being said, most cleaners that are meant for convertible tops will work for both kinds of material. Just make sure to check the label for any warnings before proceeding.

Cleaning Away Dirt

The first thing you want to do is a cursory cleaning to remove the dirt. If you have one on hand, you can use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove a good deal of the dirt. If you have a particularly powerful vacuum, then make sure that the settings are turned on fairly low so that you don’t damage the top.

If you are willing to get a bit messier, then a jet of clean water will help remove a lot of dirt from your top. If the dirt is not budging, then a dedicated convertible top cleaner is a good choice. Try not to use household cleaning products unless you are absolutely sure that they are safe, since their chemicals can really do a number on your top.

Grease and Tough Messes

If your problem is a bit bigger than grease, then you might want to go straight to a dedicated cleaner. One of the big problems with grease is that it can actually lead to the growth of mildew by providing a warm, wet environment. Getting that grease off of your top should be a top priority if you want to completely prevent the growth of mildew.

Warding Against the Future

There are many different sprays and protective layers that you can buy to protect your top. Coating your top with one of these methods every couple of weeks is a great way to minimize the amount of damage that you will have to deal with in the future. Applying a coat today can end up meaning a lot less time spent cleaning over the next few weeks, months, and even years. For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from Fred’s Auto Interiors.

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Fuel Tank Lid Covered With Rust? Repair It With These Steps

If rust covers the lid over your fuel tank, take steps to repair it now. A rusty gas tank lid effects the performance of your car’s engine, transmission and other critical parts if rust particles spread into the car’s fuel lines and tank. To prevent these issues, here are simple steps you can follow to repair your vehicle’s fuel tank lid now.   

Get Your Supplies

You’ll need to purchase or gather a few supplies to repair your rusted fuel tank lid:

  • 3 large cleaning cloths in chamois or cotton to avoid damaging the frame during the cleaning.
  • 1 large piece of sandpaper, which you can cut into small pieces later.
  • 1 large bottle of rust remover that comes with a small nozzle or cap you can use to squeeze or wet your cleaning cloths with easily.

Once you have all three supplies, park the car beneath an uncovered carport or shady tree to keep down the smell of gas fumes as you work on the gas tank’s lid. Heat from the sun or an enclosed garage can mix with the car’s gasoline fumes and make them smell worse.

You also need plenty of fresh air circulating around the car to keep down the effects of carbon monoxide, which is a strong and powerful invisible gas. Even if you don’t have the car’s engine on during the tank repairs, the fumes can still harm you if you inhale them.

Remove the Rust

Use scissors to cut your sandpaper into about four equal pieces, then follow the directions below:

  1. Use one piece of sandpaper to remove the rust from over the gas tank lid, then discard or exchange it for a new piece as needed. Don’t apply too much pressure on the gas tank lid with the sandpaper, or you can create holes in it. Instead, use small light circles to get rid of the top layer rust.
  2. Squirt a generous amount of rust remover on one of your cloths, then apply it directly to the rusted areas. If the rust remover irritates your hands, wear vinyl gloves to protect them.
  3. Use large circular motions with your cloth to wipe away the rust. The rust should begin to fade away during this step.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 until the rust completely disappears. Replace the soiled cloths with clean cloths to avoid smearing rust over the tank’s lid as you clean it.

Allow the cleaned gas tank lid to dry for about 30 minutes to one hour. Apply a clear coat or sealer over the lid, then cover it with a color that closely matches your car’s paint.

If you need additional help with removing the rust from your fuel tank lid, contact an auto body repair shop, such as High Point Body & Paint, for services. 

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What If It Can’t Be Fixed: Getting The Most Money For Your Totaled Car

If your car is totaled in an accident and you have an insurance plan that will pay you for the value of your car, you might be disappointed with the amount of money that you are able to get. This can be frustrating because you might need the money to purchase another car so that you can easily get to work and to other activities. Car insurance companies are going to have a different idea with regards to what a fair market-price of your car is. Here are some steps that you can take in order to make sure that you get the most money for your totaled car as possible.

1. Know the Value of the Car

Before you ask your insurance company for the money to cover your totaled vehicle, you want to make sure that you know what the vehicle is worth yourself. This will allow you to go into a negotiation feeling confident that you are asking for the correct price. You will want to use an online appraisal site that will allow you to determine the worth of your car, such as the Kelley Blue Book

2. Prove Your Car Was in Excellent Condition

If your car was in excellent condition or any other level of condition that is on the higher end of the scale that your insurance company uses, you are going to want to make sure that you are able to prove it. First, gather all of your maintenance records from the past five to ten years of the vehicle. These will show that you put the money and work into your vehicle and that it was maintained to a standard that is better than average.

Next, gather your receipts for anything that you have recently bought for your car. If you have recently installed a new radio or new leather on the seats, get the receipts to show that you made these improvements.

Finally, have pictures on hand of your car that prove that its aesthetic condition was spectacular. If you won any awards for your car or received any other signs of public attention, these are very helpful.

3. Let the Insurance Company Know Where You Are Planning to Purchase Your Car

Insurance companies will sometimes work off of a general price range that used cars fall in specific areas. For exapmle, used cars are slightly cheaper in Cleveland than they are in Akron. If you live in between the two cities but are planning on purchasing your car in Akron because you found one that works perfectly for you, make sure that you tell this to the insurance company because they will sometimes be more willing to give you more money if you are shopping in an area that is slightly more expensive.

For more information, talk to an auto collision repair facility to make sure that your car is truly beyond repair.

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How To Fix A Rust Spot On Your Car

Rust will eat away at a car’s body and will continue to spread throughout the body of the car until it is dealt with. You need to act quickly to prevent rust from destroy the structural integrity of the auto body. Once rust has started to show you will need to remove it and paint the area. You can save a few dollars by doing the work yourself and by following this simple list of instructions that will teach you how to fix a rust spot on an auto body.

1 – The first step is to scrape off the rusted area using sandpaper and the electric grinder. Begin by taking the sandpaper and removing all the rough edges and chips of rust before you take the electric sander to the area. The electric sander should grind the area down to the metal of the car.

2 – Once the area has been sanded down to the metal, take the bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge and clear the dirt and debris on the area. This will clear the area of any contaminants that are stuck to the area before you apply the paint to it. This will allow the paint to adhere better to the area after it is applied.

3 – Take painters tape and tape off the area surrounding the rusted area to ensure that you are not painting over areas that do not need to be painted. This will also prevent drops of paint from spreading throughout the rest of the body of the car.

4 – With the area taped off, you can begin to apply a coat of primer paint to the area using a small rolling paint brush. Make sure when you apply the primer that the paint is applied consistent in all areas and that there are not one area with a higher concentration of paint than another. 

5 – With the primer paint dried, you are not safe to apply the final coat of paint to the area. Take a coat of paint that matches the rest of the auto body and apply it to the area using a new roller brush. Make sure the paint is completely covers the area, then let it dry and apply another coat of paint on top of that.

6 – Let the area dry for a full day and then remove the painters tape from the area to complete the job.

If you do not have the time to fix a rust spot then you can take it into an auto body shop like Clint’s Body Shop & Rental Cars that specializes in rust removal and repair.

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Painting Lettering On Your Vehicle’s Body

If you have decided to give your vehicle a new paint job, and you wish to incorporate a bit of advertising right on the vehicle, hiring an auto paint specialist may be best if you wish to have a professional-looking job as a result. If you are handy with painting tools and have a bit of artistic flair, you may be able to undertake the project on your own. Here are some instructions to follow when deciding to paint lettering on your vehicle to be used for advertisement purposes. 

Select The Best Lettering

When picking out lettering for advertising on a vehicle, using larger rather than smaller will work best in attracting attention. People only have a few seconds to read wording when they are moving in a vehicle, so it is best to keep words short and letters large enough to be seen. A good rule of thumb is to use lettering that is larger than three or four inches in height for the best visibility.

When selecting lettering color, you will want a contrasting color from the base color of your vehicle. If you have a dark vehicle, stick with white or light pastel colored letters. If your vehicle is light, black lettering will work best. Stay away from scrolled or flowery writing, as this is difficult to read, especially when the vehicle is in motion.

Prepare The Vehicle

After you had selected stencils to use for your lettering, you will need to place them on your vehicle in the pattern you select. Many people opt to place wording on the doors and hood of the vehicle, either in a straight line or by making slightly curved words to draw attention a bit more. Tape each letter stencil to the vehicle using painter’s tape. Make sure you have enough room between each letter and measure the space between each stencil to make sure the letters will at a uniform distance apart. Have a friend take a look at the placement of the stencils to help you decide if they look level and pleasing to read.

Paint The Lettering

Purchase enamel paint to make your lettering. Add a silicone compound to the enamel to add thickness to the consistency of the paint. This will allow the lettering to be placed without fear that the paint will smear or fade, as it will be thicker than traditional paint when it dries. Use a small paintbrush to dab the color into the open area of each stencil and allow to dry for several hours before putting on a second coat. Let the letters dry for a full day before removing the stencils from the vehicle. Add a coating of car wax to brighten the colors and enjoy your vehicle’s new display! For further assistance, contact a local auto body shop.

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