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How To: Repair Car Paint Scratches with Preval

auto automotive how to paint

Protect the value of your vehicle with good prep and the Preval Sprayer or vFan System

The more you drive, park and wash your car, the more inevitable paint scratches and chips become. If you own a new vehicle and want to keep it pristine, or hope to sell your car and want to touch up the exterior before putting it on the market, touch-up sticks and other repair kits just don’t look good, and they definitely aren't durable.

At-home repairs of chips and scratches to your car's paint can be a challenge, but a lasting, good-looking repair is relatively simple when you use the right prep, matched paint and Preval products.    

Here’s how you can achieve professional paint repair results in your garage or shop with just sandpaper, solvents, a little paint and a Preval Sprayer or vFan Portable Airbrush System.


  • Scratches and chips expose your car's metal body to oxidation (a.k.a. rust). The sooner you fix them, the better off your car body will be.   
  • Always take proper safety precautions when spraying paint. This includes hand, eye and breathing protection. Ensure that the area you spray in  has plenty of ventilation and that there are no open flames, sparks or other heat sources nearby that might ignite the fumes. 
  • Avoid painting in direct sunlight or excessively cool temperatures.   
  • When spraying with metallic paints, be sure to keep the material very well-shaken and mixed. This will distribute the metal paint flakes evenly and ensure a better paint match. 
  • For a durable, long-lasting scratch repair, preparation and clean surfaces are key.  


  • Solvent-resistant gloves 
  • Eye protection 
  • Respirator or paint mask 
  • Preval vFan, or  
  • Preval Sprayer 
  • Solvent-resistant masking tape 
  • Masking paper 
  • Sandpaper or sanding pads with grits #400 to #800, and wet/dry #1500 & #4000 
  • Filler putty or body filler (for deep scratches) 
  • Mineral spirits and/or dish soap 
  • Matching paint color 
    • A car's Color Code may be posted inside a door jamb or under the hood
  • Polisher and polishing compound 


  1. Put on protective gloves.
  2. Wipe down repair area with mineral spirits or dish soap solution to remove any wax, dirt or oils present to ensure good paint adhesion.
  3. If the scratch is deep, lightly sand with a fine grit paper to smooth the edges.
  4. If rust is present in the scratch, continue sanding until it is removed. 
  5. Again, wipe area with mineral spirits to thoroughly remove dirt, oils and sanding dust.
  6. For deep scratches, apply a small amount of filler putty. Let dry for 2 minutes, then sand evenly. You may also wipe away the excess using a sponge, rag and paint leveler. When complete, clean the area again.  
  7. Mask off a few inches to each side of the scratch, leaving the scratch itself and all sanded areas exposed. 


  1. Fill the bottle of the Preval Sprayer with the matching paint color.
  2. Lightly spray the sanded area, using smooth, even passes, until good coverage is achieved.
  3. Be careful not to build up too much paint, as this will leave edges at the tape.
  4. Remove masking tape and paper.
  5. Allow paint to dry at least 24 hours.
  6. Lightly wet sand the new paint and immediately surrounding existing paint to eliminate any paint ridges and overspray.
  7. Polish area by hand or with a polisher and polishing compound to remove sanding scratches and restore luster. 
  8. Apply auto wax to protect the finish.   

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