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Scratch Repair Question


Hi Kevin,
I found your blog very useful… I bought a new car last week and unfortunately scratched it on a pole in the apt parking garage. The scratch, some a little deep, are just above the rear right wheel. A little bit, 1/4 inch, extends into the door/bumber. I went to several auto body shops and their estimate range from about $300 to $1000. The one that I’ve been recommended is about $750 and I’m leaning towards that since they seem to do good job. Am I being over charged? I feel if I go to the $300 one I’ll get a crappy job. The mgr explained the big job is the painting and blending it into the rest of the car. When they paint it, would it be noticeable after several yrs when the color starts fading?

Since the car is fairly new, the paints should age about the same, so years from now when the paint starts fading, you should not see a difference. I would go with the shop you trust, it is not an easy job matching the paint. While computers make it easier to match the paint, there is still a human making the final judgement. Even the weather conditions can effect the final color, so going with someone you trust is very important. Without seeing the damage, I can not say if you are being overcharged, but it sounds about right for a scratch that big.

Posted: 18th August 2006  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Body

Fixing Rust Spots Without Chemicals


I have a 2000 Toyota Corolla and it’s started to get little tiny rust spots. I’ve read you post about removing rust but I wanted to know if that applies to my situation also. I’ve been told that I can just remove the rust with a flat head screwdriver and then use touch-up paint. Is that process acceptable? Any other suggestions that don’t involve chemicals?




I would not use a screwdriver. You can tape off the area around the rust spot, go 1/4″ past the rust and sand the area with some sandpaper. You can then prime and paint to keep the rust from coming back. Any auto parts store should have touchup paint and primer for your car. It’s best to take care of it ASAP so the rust does not spread.  Additional rust tips can be found here.


Posted: 22nd June 2006  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Body

Scratches after washing your car


Hi Kevin,

Your web site is fabulous – I googled “car washing” and your site was in the top three that came up. I have just spent 40 minutes reading through your various pages – great information.

Here is my question. I have a 2005 Fire Red Mustang, that just got its first wash after a few months of winter driving (I know, very bad to wait so long!). It is a lovely spring day in Vancouver and so I washed all the grime off my car. Some of the black tar like grime was very stubborn, and so I used the abrasive side of one of those two sided dish washing sponges to give them a good scrub. Not so clever as I discovered after I dried the car, now I can see whitish scuff like hazing in the paint where I did this.

I am hoping that all I did was scrub off the wax. I intend to leave the car in the garage over night to completely dry, and then wax it tomorrow – do you think this will remove those nasty scrub marks?

I hope I haven’t ruined my paint.

Thanks for your help.




You probably scratched the clear coat, which can be fixed. I would take it to a body shop and have them look at it, as it’s not an easy job for the beginner. They will probably use a cutting compound to smooth out the scratches, and then polish it to bring back the shine. I would not tackle the job yourself, as you may break through to the base color, then the only way to get the shine back, would be to respray the clear coat.

Good Luck,


Posted: 5th May 2006  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Body, Car Care

How not to get ripped off by your auto body shop.

I had a visitor contact me the other day to have me look at a repair bill.
She wanted me to review the charges and make sure she was not being ripped off.
It got me thinking about ways to make sure you are getting the best deal on
body work.

Here are a few tips to help you out when looking at an auto body repair estimate…

1. Check labor rates between shops. Body work should be around $30 – $60 per
hour depending on your location and the shop.

2. Most body shops use a computerized quoting system which uses standard rates
to complete jobs. This can be good or bad. Usually these numbers are inflated
to protect the shop from losing money on the job. If you find a shop that does
not use a computerized quotation system, be cautious. Get competetive quotes
from other shops and make sure the shop stands by their quote if it goes over

3. Ask to see the parts which were replaced. Just like taking your car to a
mechanic, make sure they are actually replacing the parts on the quote, and
make sure they were truely damaged and needed to be replaced.

4. Ask questions ! A body shop quote can be very confusing, a good auto body
shop will spend the time to go over the quote and answer your questions. If
they do not, run away and find another shop.

5. When getting your car back from having body work done, inspect the car before
leaving the auto body shop. Inspect the paint work carefully and try to view
it under different light situations. A paint job which looks great in the bright
sunlight can look totally different in the shade or at night. I have had this
happen to me once, and ended up taking the car back to have it repainted.

Good Luck,

Kevin Schappell

Posted: 20th April 2006  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Body

Hard water and water spots when washing your car

Kevin I, like you, have a need to wash in the most careful way. I use towels, and dry same, in the household dryer with out any smell good agent. Each is washed with no souap, in warm water after each use. My 2003 SSR black, needs 6 to 8 towels after each wash. Question ? we are in a hard water system, have you heard of any method ie filters to run the rinse system thru to clean the water of lime, metals and or other factor which do cause water stains? Automobile dealers have systems to treat the water, but these systems cost many bucks. Looking for a treatment system at the wash point hose ..



John you are in luck, check out the Mr. Clean Auto Dry Car Wash system.

You can find it at most auto parts stores if you don’t want to buy online.

Happy Washing,

Kevin Schappell

Posted: 7th April 2006  |  Author: Kevin Schappell  |  Category: Body

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