Greetings All,

Iíve been reading these boards for about a year now and Iíve intended to make this post for months. First, I want to thank everyone for the knowledge they share on these boards. Itís invaluable and Iím very grateful to all of you. Until I found Autogeek, I never took care of my cars properly. I rarely cleaned my cars and when I did it was the automatic car wash. I knew I wasnít taking good care, but I had no idea where to even begin so it was easier to do nothing. Iíve learned so much from (and spent so much $$$ on) this site already, so I wanted to give back and share my experience with touch up repair on my 2014 Maxima bumper.

Background...I bought this car back in July 2014. About a week after taking it home, I accidently backed into an old metal post on the side of country road. The post had 2 sharp edges that dug into my bumper and carved it up pretty nasty.

Here is the pic of the damage:

After I assessed the damage, I was bummed...for about a day. My wife was saying I should just go through insurance and get it fixed properly. I decided against it because I wanted to attempt a touch up, something I had always wanted to learn to do better. After doing a search, I came across this thread (which was also the first time I found Autogeek): by Richy

This is such amazing work by Richy that impresses me even more after attempting a touch up on my own. I used Richyís thread as a framework for my attempted repair. Spoiler alert, my repair didnít come out nearly as well. But in fairness, I was realistic with my goals and was going for a 10 foot repair, just to give perspective.

Attempt #1 - Wet Sanding

I bought touch up paint from the Nissan dealer. First I cut/sanded any frayed plastic in the scratches and then cleaned the area with isopropyl alcohol. Then I filled in the scratches with layers of touch up. Some parts of the scratches were deep, so I applied several layers, but I made the mistake of applying too much touch up. My thinking was I could always wet sand it down, but it was still way too much. Here is a pic before wetsanding:

I spent hours wet sanding, partially due it being my first time and attempting to be cautious and partially due to me applying a crap load of touch up paint. I used 2000, 2500, and 3000 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I started using strips of sandpaper wrapped around a rubber eraser. I then tried using a 2000 grit Meguairs Sanding Block because I had seen it mentioned so many times. But I wasnít comfortable using the sanding block and Iím pretty sure I went through the clear in a very small spot. After that I went back to my original sanding method with the eraser and felt comfortable again. Anyway, here was the result after wetsanding:

Um, yeah. So the touch paint basically turned silver instead of remaining grey. I tried to polish it to see if it would darken, but no luck. I still donít know exactly what caused the color change, so maybe a knowledgeable person here can chime in and let me know. Maybe something with the metallic flake? I was kicking myself for not trying to wet sand the touch up on a test panel first. I would have caught the color change. Regardless, I was bummed. The wetsanding did make the surface flush with the rest of the bumper and I would have loved to the see outcome if the color matched. I think it would have been a pretty good repair.

Attempt #2 - Langka

Despite the outcome, I learned a lot from the first attempted repair and had fun doing it. I wanted another attempt to fix, but I didnít want to wet sand anymore around that area. As I was reading more on Autogeek, I came across information on Langka Blob Eliminator. I purchased and used Langka to clean out all the touch up paint I previously applied. I also purchased additional touch up paint through Automotive Touchup, thinking maybe the dealer touchup paint was responsible for the lightening after wet sanding. This time I also mixed in some clear coat with the touch up paint, although Iím not sure if it made a difference. I really enjoyed working with Langka. I made several attempts at adding touch up and then leveling with Langka. I probably made 3 attempts before I found an approach that achieved an acceptable fix. For me, it was using the swiping method where I filled the scratch with touch up and then leveled it immediately with the Langka card. Then I removed the touch up that was smeared across the factory paint using Langka.

Here are the end results.

From about 6 feet, depending on the angle, you have tough time spotting the repair. But on the flip side, to be fair, from 10 feet away at the right angle you can spot the repair easily. Trust me, itís not a 100% unnoticeable fix as some of these pics look, but good enough that I donít notice it each time I pass the car.

1 foot away, straight on:

Right on top of the repair:

But from certain angles, even close up, you can have a tough time spotting the repair.

Overall, Iím happy with how it turned out, especially for a daily driver. I donít know if the repair will fail over time, but I figure I can always do it over again with Langka and more touch up paint or get the bumper repainted. For now though, the repair met my expectations and Iím happy with it.

Some lessons learned from the experience:
1. As others have mentioned with these types of repairs, you should fill up the scratch with touch up only slightly above the surrounding area. I used too much paint before my wet sanding attempt.
2. Feather sand (is that the right term?) the sides of the scratch before adding touch up paint so there is not a hard line between the touch up paint and original paint. The hard line was noticeable when I tried the wet sanding approach. I did sand the hard lines when I used Langka and it made a big difference in the end result.
3. Work with what you are comfortable using. I wasnít comfortable using the unigrit sanding block and I went through the clear quickly using it. I was very comfortable sanding with the strips on an eraser. I should have stuck with that.
4. Most important. Practice your ENTIRE touch up process on a test panel or piece of metal, wood, etc. If I had done this I would have caught my color match mistake in Attempt 1.