A few years ago you might have sent your car it to a professional even for the smallest problem. But these days, with YouTube and the internet, there are easily accessible tools to help you avoid unnecessary costs. Use these self-help videos explaining certain areas of car maintenance. These are generally quite useful and could prevent a visit to the mechanic.

A big way you can save money on car maintenance is to fix up the scratches on your car yourself. You’ll l need a panel beater for the dents and bumps, but you can definitely make do with fixing up some smaller scratches at home. Here’s how.

First, you’ll need Automotive Touch-Up Paint. Getting this step right is the most important of all. You simply can’t get the color wrong. If you do, your backyard job will look like exactly that – a backyard job. Go to a shop that mixes the paint exactly the right color for you car.

While you’re at the store, pick up a small painter’s brush. A number 2 should be roughly the correct size. When you get home, make sure the paint matches your car perfectly by applying a small amount to an area that’s not very visible like above the wheel. Otherwise, you might end up driving a “work of art”, but not in a good way!

If the paint matches, you’re ready to start prepping the car. Make sure that the scratched area is clean, as you want to avoid sealing any dirt inside your newly painted area. It’s also important to let the area dry completely. To be safe, leave it in the sun for a couple of minutes, just in case.

To remove any leftover greasiness, spray a bit of degreaser onto a rag and apply it to the scratched area. Now look at the scratch closely and check for any loose edges of paint that’s still sticking to the side of the scratch and remove it. Use a piece of light sandpaper to smooth down the scratch completely. Be careful not to scratch the car on a different spot now.

Clean the area once more with denatured alcohol and apply primer if there’s a metal area exposed. This will prevent the new paint from peeling off and protect the metal. Be sure to use a small amount of primer so that it doesn’t overflow. Leave this area for at least three hours so that it can dry properly.

Now it’s time to apply your paint. Be sure to read the instructions on the bottle and be careful to apply only a small bit of paint. Apply it as smoothly as possible and don’t fidget with the wet paint too much. Leave it to dry for another three hours before applying another layer. Repeat this process until the scratch is completely covered up. The paint will fill up the scratch until it’s level with the car and almost completely invisible. Once you’ve achieved this, leave to dry for 24 hours.

Finally, sand down the paint with a very fine piece of sandpaper. Your car will be looking as good as new and you can use that money to take your family out for dinner.

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