February 22, 2014
Prepping A Car for Finishing
Body Shop Business published a great article about car refinishing a few years back. The mindset that car refinishing is easy seems to be spreading throughout the industry. But there are no shortcuts to perfect paint jobs, and thorough prep work is essential to a lasting, quality repair.
No Scuff ’n Shoot Here
by Nathan Tarr
Many times I’ve observed a refinish tech pull a job into the paint shop, pull out a DA and go to town on the car. And I cringe every time I see it. Why? Because they’ve violated what I consider the golden rule of prep work: Always work with a clean surface.
Technicians generally don’t have to deal with customers, so we usually don’t have a personal connection with the cars we’re working on. As a result, it’s pretty easy to become thoughtless with other people’s property. But as professionals, we all need to treat these cars in a professional way. Before you go slopping up a customer’s interior, close the windows and cover up any openings that allow dust and sanding goop to go where it doesn’t belong. It’s also a good habit to protect the panels next to the ones you’re sanding with masking tape instead of relying on your extreme skill with sandpaper. The extra time you spend protecting the customer’s car will be nothing compared to the time it’ll take you to fix an extra panel you damaged after zoning out.
The car is clean and protected, but you’re still not ready to get on with this “scuff and shoot” just yet. Now is a good time to check over the body technician’s work. I make sure the repair looks right and is finished in the appropriate grit. Most primers are made to fill 180 grit scratches, so an 80 grit repair is unacceptable in my mind. Yes, my primer will fill the coarser grits, but only for the time being. In most shops, it isn’t standard operating procedure to take care of primer shrinkage three months after the car is delivered to the customer. Now is the time to give the body tech a second chance to finish his repair…