If it’s been a good summer/fall season of wheeling, your Jeep probably has a few “Colorado Pinstripes” to remember those adventures by. Most of these scratches left by passing branches only hit the clear coat, and with the right technique and a little time can be minimized or erased at the end of each season.
You will need:
A good drill
A lambswool pad
A foam pad
Medium cut compound
Basic car wax
(Assuming you already own a drill, and a basic wax, the estimated cost is under $30)
Steps to Follow
First, clean the Jeep exterior extremely well. Consider two full wash cycles. Dry Jeep and park in an area with good light, but no direct sunlight.
Then test the scratches to make sure they are only in the clear coat. Your thumbnail should be able to pass over the scratch without catching. If so, the scratch has not penetrated the clear coat.
Next, protect the areas around the scratches. You can use painters masking tape and be liberal here – more protection equals less possibility of damage and less clean up.
Work in areas around 1-2 ft squared. Apply the medium cut compound directly to the lambswool pad and work it into the surface to avoid “splashing”. Using clean, even, and smooth motions apply the cut compound to the scratch (and when you look you will probably see a ton of tiny scratches too to fix). This will take a little time to perfect. The drill has to be held a bit off-angle (not with the pad flat against the surface) to have better control. Pressure and most importantly RPM must be kept in check and blended with surrounding areas.
Once the scratches are reduced and the clear coat surface made even with the medium cut compound, wipe off the excess and switch to the polisher. Work the entire area – of varying degrees of pressure and time – to even out the polish.
Work across your Jeep in a repeatable, and methodical method. Work, for example, front to back and top to down on each section.
Starting out on the trail with your brand new Jeep can be an intimidating experience for some. Even if you are fully prepared and have the basic gear you need, the idea of getting stuck or damaging your new vehicle can make those first few trips a little more anxiety-filled than they need to be.