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Someone Just Scratched Your New Car Now What

You've just exited the store and are striding confidently towards your new car when you notice something isn't right -- the paint is SCRATCHED! You look around, hoping to see the culprit, vainly wishing they were still around so you could vent your rage. Then, you walk up to the scratch hoping it will "rub-off". Alas, that doesn't work either.

What do you do next -- get out the touch-up paint? Often times, your dealer will give you a bottle of touch-up paint with your new car, but this is NOT the time to use it. Touch-up paint is a bad idea 90% of the time. Don't get me wrong - if you have a big, deep scratch, touch-up paint is probably appropriate. But I don't recommend that an average person uses it. First of all, it's very hard to apply correctly unless you're experienced. Second of all, it's usually overkill.

There are other methods of reducing the appearance of a scratch that are easy and relatively cheap. Most scratches can be fixed with a process called "wet-sanding". Wet sanding is done by a professional, and it involves moving paint and clear coat molecules around to reduce the appearance of a scratch.

It works on light scratches, but deep scratches are another matter. How do you know if you have a deep scratch? Can you feel it with your fingernail? Is bare metal showing? Is the scratch longer than 10"? If you can answer any of these questions with a yes, go to the local body shop. Make sure to get a written guarantee and a few quotes -- repairing a deep or big scratch can cost anywhere from $50 to $1000 dollars, so check around. If you have a scratch that isn't deep, you're in luck.

These light scratches can usually be repaired by a body shop for a token amount of money -- $20-$40 in most cases. As before, make sure the shop has a written guarantee. With all repairs, nothing works 100%.

There's a good chance that the local body shop will remove most of the scratch, but often times a small scratch remains. Relax. You're probably the only one that sees it because you know where to look. You can be happy that it looks a lot better than it did before.

Author Jason Lancaster, a car business veteran, created You'll find accurate advice on new car warranty tips and auto touch up paint.

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