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DIY PAINT MAGIC FROM AUTOMOTIVE TOUCHUP

LET’S BE HONEST. I wasn’t expecting much. Before you get it twisted, though, I want to be clear: I wasn’t expecting much from myself. I had heard great things about AutomotiveTouchup’s products, especially its touch up bottles and pens, but I wasn’t sure I’d be up to the task of tackling a paint job on a whole fender. Especially with aerosol cans.

Oh, I know it could be done well, but certainly not by me. Rattle-canning a fresh step notch is about all I trust myself with, and that’s just because no one would see it once it was covered up. When AutomotiveTouchup contacted me to see if I’d be interested in trying out some of its touch up products, I said, “Sure.”

But then I realized that I didn’t really have anything that needed touching up. I mentioned that I had a C10 that needed a new fender and door, and it was too bad they didn’t have anything to paint large body panels. Well, I was wrong—AutomotiveTouchup does offer larger quantities of paint, in both aerosol and ready-to-spray pints, quarts and gallons. And you know what? They also offer primers, clears and even things like sandpaper, sanding blocks, tack cloths and spray guns! This was news to me, so I arranged to have some of the company’s aerosol products and prep materials delivered to give it a go. A few days later, I got a big box o’ stuff in the mail, including paint that was a perfect match for my C10’s original Russet Metallic brown.

To say I was nervous to take on this job was an understatement. Painting something that would actually be seen on my truck was completely foreign to me, as I’ve always just had professionals handle my painting needs. Things were about to get interesting, for sure.

I decided to start by painting just the fender, as I didn’t trust myself to do the door quite yet. Surprisingly enough, it turned out great! Now, it wasn’t perfect, but that’s on me for doing this in less than optimal conditions. Painting outdoors with a slight wind and humidity was not an ideal situation, but I figured it was as “real world” as it gets and represented what many of us have to work with when working out of a home garage. Except in this case, the garage was full of stuff I didn’t want to risk getting paint on.

All of this being said, this was way easier than I thought it was going to be, and I’ve shot my fair share of stories in body shops. Every item I received from AutomotiveTouchup had detailed instructions on the package or can, so all I had to do was follow each step and I was good to go. In fact, it looks so good that now I’m going to have to polish the rest of the truck’s faded finish to match.

Follow along as I get some color on the new fender, and check out AutomotiveTouchup if you need to fi x some minor paint damage—or even paint your whole truck!

Source: Automotive Touchup – https://www.automotivetouchup.com/

I started by wiping off the dust that had accumulated on the fender from having it in storage for a few weeks. A lump of damp paper towels did the trick.

AutomotiveTouchup sells packs of wet/dry sandpaper in a handy assortment that comes with every grit needed to get the job done. I also picked up a sanding block from them to help avoid finger grooves when sanding.

The directions specified to use the sandpaper wet, so I kept plenty of water handy and got to work with 180-grit, and then 320-grit, making sure to keep the sandpaper and fender soaked at all times.

Although I used the sanding block for most of the large, flat surfaces, I sanded curves and harder to reach areas without it, in order to not miss anything.

Once I was done sanding, I rinsed off the fender with water a few times and dried it off.

Because of all the wet-sanding, there was plenty of water hidden in the nooks and crannies of the fender, so I also used an air gun to blast it all out.

Another invaluable item I picked up from AutomotiveTouchup was a few of these lint-free paint prep surface wipes, which I used to clean the fender after sanding, but prior to applying any chemicals. This is one of those details you don’t want to miss, as it will greatly improve your odds of getting good results by removing any oil, grease or wax that may be present on the panel.

Yet another neat product, this aerosol trigger is easy on the fingers and makes you feel like a pro. Your index fingers will thank you, as this AutomotiveTouchup version is nicer than the ones I’ve used on occasion from other suppliers.

It was finally time to lay down some primer, and I made sure to spray in an even left-to-right pattern, overlapping each pass. The instructions specified to wait 5-10 minutes between coats. I ended up spraying four coats, repositioning the fender at one point for better coverage.

After waiting 30 minutes from the final primer coat, I used 600- grit to knock down the primer to a smoother finish. I then rinsed off the fender again and allowed it to dry.

Not bad so far, eh? My nervousness was quickly dwindling, as this was looking a whole lot better than I expected.

I was ready to start spraying the base coat. As the instructions say, the metallic paint had to be sprayed with light coats to avoid going too dark. I began by spraying the hard edges to make sure I wouldn’t end up sanding through the color later on.

Patience was a must here. Because of the metallic color, it didn’t appear as though I was getting enough coverage early on, but a few coats later things started to shape up. Again, 5-10 minutes between coats, slow and steady.

I waited another 30 minutes before applying the clear coat, waiting 15 minutes between each wet coat for a total of five coats.

Once the final coat was dry, I stowed the fender in the garage and allowed it to cure overnight.

Time to shine! The following morning, I wet-sanded the fender with 1,500-grit, being careful to not sand through the bodylines.

The final step involved using rubbing compound to further bring out the gloss in the clear.

What do you think? I’ll be polishing the fender with more rubbing compound, and eventually wax, once the paint has fully cured. I still can’t believe I spray bombed a fender, and it’s even harder to believe still that it turned out this nice!

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