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Paint Chip Repair - Fix Your Paint

You Can't Show It Off And Rub It With A Diaper Until You Learn How to Fix Paint Chips - We Show You How

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Once the paint is properly filled in, Santini suggests 1,500-grit wet sandpaper wrapped around a short length of paint stick to sand the small bubble down smooth. Work slowly here to remove only the material necessary. Finish this off by buffing the area with a fine polish and you're done.

The Paint-Chip Challenge
The paint chips in the leading edge of the hood of our Santini-flamed El Camino all occurred in the white portion of the flame job, but all three seemed to have different hues. Santini tried the paint dab trick, but even custom-mixing the paint didn't work. Several attempts at dabbing paint only made the repair look worse than the original chips. "I knew this was going to happen," Santini said. "We're gonna have to spray these out." We acted grateful.

The difference was worth the effort. Santini quickly filled in the offending chips with a filler, lightly scuffed a larger area around the chip, then masked the flames and the hood trim. With a small HVLP detail gun, he used the same paint mix that he had used to dab the chips, and instantly the flaws disappeared. He followed that up with a clear that had to sit for several days before it could be lightly rubbed out and buffed. It was literally that easy. Even before the repair was rubbed out, we could not tell that there had been an ugly chip there. So chips are not the end of the world, even for a flamed cruiser like ours. Oh, and just for the record, Santini is the man.

The Clear Advantage
After spending the better part of the day watching Santini fix those nasty chips in the leading edge of the hood on our El Camino, it occurred to us that maybe there's a way to prevent these problems from occurring again. Our El Camino is like driving a barn door through the wind, and it seems like every bouncing projectile and rock aims right for the leading edge of the hood. Then we remembered hearing something about a clear plastic mask you can apply over existing paint that protects it from rocks and other abusive projectiles.

3M offers a product called ClearMask that is just that-a very thin plastic mask that adheres like a large see-through decal. The ClearMask decal can be purchased as a kit for '00-up year cars, or you can buy a 10-foot-long by 2-inch-wide strip for $18.50. The plastic is a total of 0.008 inch thick and will protect your paint from all those nasty little heat-seeking Bouncing Betties that are always attacking your paint. We also priced a custom kit for an '02 Camaro that would cover the leading edge of the hood, both front fenders, and the mirrors for a mere $68.75, with upgrades that could total $97.02. It might be worth looking into if you're ready to try something new.

SOURCES
Santini USA Paint & Body
Westminster
CA
3M
888-364-3577
www.3M.com
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