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Repair paint damage to show car’s true colors

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published July 31, 2018

METRO DETROIT — Summer is often the time of year when a vehicle’s colors shine their brightest, but it also can bring more attention to scratched and chipped paint. However, experts in auto detailing or repair say options exist to restore a paint job.

Ralph Harris, assistant manager at Motor City AutoSpa in Royal Oak,  blamed chips and scratches on a couple of common causes. One is car washes that use abrasive brushes, whether automatic or by hand. The other cause is stones and loose asphalt on the road.

“Especially with our potholes, people fling up rocks next to you, scratching that paint. It happens a lot,” he said.

Harris said his business can fix paint chips and scratches with touch-up paint that is supplied through an in-house paint mixing system.

“We basically get the paint code off the vehicle and it breaks down the paint code numbers,” he said. “Each color has a number. ... It gives us blue, black, gray — whatever we need.” 

Harris said one way to prevent scratches from occurring in the first place is to apply XPEL paint protection film on the vehicle’s body, especially on a new vehicle. He said his company makes sure any surface paint scratches are polished away before the film is applied. 

“With XPEL, it’s always the best time to do it,” he said. “Starting in the spring and all throughout the summer is typically when you get that done.”

Over at the Fox Automotive Group in Rochester Hills, Alex from the body shop said small paint scratches can be addressed with rubbing compound, adding that he didn’t recommend anything heavy grit.

“But you’d want to pick up some polish with that so you can kind of shine it up afterward,” he said.

Larger scratches require actually repairing the panel, he said. 

“Basically, the panel would have to be sanded down, filled and primed, painted and clear-coated over,” he said. 

Find out more about Motor City AutoSpa in Royal Oak by visiting or by calling (248) 288-6772. For Fox Automotive Group in Rochester Hills, visit or call (248) 656-0400.