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Old 11-24-2014, 01:04 AM   #1
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Default Color sanding, paint detailing stuff

I know this isn't OR detailers domain or whatever site that is.

However I know to have members that are both DIY oriented and ---- about getting stuff right.

My midnight blue mica 01 has a bunch of rock chips in the bumper and hood and has a good little chip in the passenger door where another car opened their car door into mine.

I am considering doing my own paint chip repair by filling the chips and wet-sanding them. I am wondering if anyone here has any experience in repairing paint on Miatas? I am also interested in what paint correction compounds and pads have worked the best on our paint. Is Miata paint hard or soft? What should I do and not do? At what point would I better off getting stuff re-sprayed?

I have both a 5" and a 3" random orbital (Griots) and am building a small collection of polishes, compounds, pads, and other supplies. What other things should I be buying?
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Old 11-27-2014, 02:10 AM   #2
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Repair vs respray in my opinion is dependent on the number of chips in the bumper. If it looks like the car just came from Iraq respray, if the chips are somewhat isolated repair ( I exaggerate but you should get the idea.) I haven't done any chip repair on my Miata yet but I usually fill the chip/key scratch with bondo just enough to be below the paint surface and sand it smooth and then put paint on top of that to fill the remaining area and create a crown over that. I follow that with a light color sand to remove the crown and leave a relatively flat surface to buff. It probably wont ever be perfect but it will look better than just filling with a paint pen. Here is a tip on paint pens, they are almost always too big and will put too much paint on the surface so use a small detail paint brush.

As far as compounds go I really like Meguiars 105 cutting compound and 205 for polishing because in my experience it works faster than similar offerings from Mothers. You can actually feel the diminishing abrasives in Meguiars compared to Mothers feeling basically like elmers glue. Not that Mothers doesn't work it just takes longer in my experience.

Hard vs Soft paint you will most likely have to find out for yourself Mazda is not known for being consistent with paint hardness. Do a test spot with polisher and see if the paint responds. If not switch to a cutting compound with a slightly more aggressive pad and test again. Always try to use the least aggressive method for the correction.

Pads, I don't have much experience with multiple brands of pads I just went with what my auto teacher suggested to use. I went to and bought a set of Lake County foam cutting and polishiing pads along with some wool pads for heavy duty swirl removal. Most of the pads I have seen are color coded in how aggressive they are. Starting with most aggressive to least: wool, yellow then orange (cutting) , green then white (polishing), black then blue (finish/jeweling.) There are also microfiber cutting pads available but I don't have any experience with those.

What to do/not to do
-I recommend buying a lot of microfiber towels and using them for dedicated projects. One set for paint, one set for glass, one set for wheels/engine detailing. Fold the towel in half twice so you have 8 individual sides to use.
-Clean the orbital pads frequently when using them so you don't gunk up the pad or dry out the product on the pad and scratch the paint, and make sure the paint surface is surgically clean. Any debris on the pad or paint will create pigtails.
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:06 AM   #3
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For paint chips, if you're really fussy, use a toothpick and slowly wick the paint into the chip. This method takes a lot longer, but if you are careful, you end up with a spot not much higher than the surrounding paint, meaning much less sanding. Note that I would only use this method if the primer is intact. if it goes to bare metal, you're going to have to do a more extensive fix.

Get QUALITY paper. From a paint place, not HF or Home Depot. For the extra cost, it is worlds better. Use a decent packer block, and be gentle. Let the paper do the work; more pressure doesn't work better/faster. You shouldn't have to start with anything less than 300 grit to start, progressing to 600 and 1000. Careful sanding eliminates a huge amount of buffing/polishing work.

As to the Miata paint, I'm not certain. My car has had at least one respray, and one fender is even top coated. Varies all over the car.
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