You may not have noticed before, or maybe you have, but most cars have a decent stock of ugly little scratches under the door handles. I think it's the result of rubbing your finger nails over it every time you grab the handle, it could be some sort of alien activity during the night, or maybe it's the kangaroo activity over here and other parts of the world don't have this problem, I'm really not sure.
In this instructable I'll show you how to get that section of paint looking brand new again. I have a white Volkswagen Transporter, I'll demonstrate on that. It takes no more than 5 minutes per handle once the car is clean, and does not require a PhD in car detailing (if there is such a thing?), it actually requires very little skill, basically if you are able to wipe water spots off a mirror you will be able to manage this.
This is my first instructable so please let me know if I've screwed anything up.
It's really annoying me now, can someone in a country without kangaroos please check if their car has these scratches and let me know?
Step 1: Wash Your Car
Wash the entire car and park in the shade. This is very important because you need to ensure that there are no little bits of dirt and grit on the car, these will cause more scratches than you already have. The bit about parking in the shade is because you want the metal panels to be cool to touch, if they are hot the polish will bake on before it has a chance to do anything, and you will be left with polish stuck to the paint which is quite hard to wash off.
Step 2: Gather Materials
Materials. I use a cheap polish from Bunnings (hardware chain store here in Australia), most polishes do a similar job, experiment with the cheaper ones before going out and paying big money for a Meguiars or Turtle brand name. You will save big bucks in the long run. Other than a bottle of liquid polish (or a tin of cream polish), you just need a clean soft rag for applying the polish (I use old Bonds cotton singy), and a clean microfiber towel for wiping it off.
For those reading this in countries other than Australia, a singy is a singlet, which dictionary.com tells me may also be known as a man's undershirt or jersey, I have heard them referred to in the UK as vests.... How different our cultures are.
Step 3: Apply the Polish
This is where the fun begins, it is really easy too. Simply put a little bit of polish onto the rag and start to rub it into the section where the scratches are. People talk about circular motions with polish, it really isn't that technical, just don't rub back and forth on the same spot for too long with too much pressure, heat is the enemy here, same thing as parking in the shade. If it gets too hot the polish sticks like sh!t to a blanket.
It is very simple, the scratches will disappear as you rub the polish in, and as the polish dries it will leave a white powdery residue, this is normal.
In the last picture on this step you will see a little bit of residue above the handle, it is hard to see on a white car, but will show up on a darker colour.
Step 4: Remove Residue
This is the last step, and is no harder than the rest. Grab the microfiber towel and wipe off the polish residue once it has dried. It is very powdery and will just wipe off very easily
Step 5: Admire Your Handiwork
That's it! The scratches are gone! Go and find a very cold beer, crack it, take a swig, stand back and look how shiny the paint is under the door handle, then invite a couple of mates around to check it out. Don't thank me, just make sure you have a few more beers in the fridge if you go down this track.
You will be pleased to know that the same process and materials can be used to polish any painted part of your car (I did my whole car after this). Any small scratches that aren't through the clear coat can be fixed with polish, deeper ones may need a few applications, if they are very deep you may need to sand them, but have a real good think about how bad it actually looks before sanding because that is a long process to bring the shine back after sanding.
Thanks for reading, I trust you enjoyed the i'ble. Now go out and get polishing!