Here at 100 Autosavant Plaza, we often get offers of product samples to evaluate. We don’t always accept these offers, but when we feel that there may be an opportunity to solve a problem we’re facing, we do say yes.
In the case of ScratchPro, my wife’s 2008 Sienna had a few scuffs that I wanted to deal with when I was offered a sample of ScratchPro in early 2011, so I requested a product sample. A few days later, it arrived. And since April 2011, I have not touched the package. It has rested on a forgotten corner of a shelf in my garage. The scratches were still on my wife’s van, but as the van ages (we just hit the five year mark earlier this month), minor scratches bother me less and less.
Then, today, I got home from work and my wife told me the bad news. She had been in a very, very minor collision today that was purely a bumper-to-bumper scrape. Fortunately, no sheetmetal bent at all, but there were some seriously ugly marks on the van’s bumper. Right away, I remembered the ScratchPro package collecting dust in my garage. Time for a test!
As you can mostly see from this “before” photo, most of what was on the bumper was just paint transfer. Fortunately, aside from a deeper scratch that actually removed red paint, the damage itself to our vehicle was very minor.
ScratchPro is very simple to use. In the kit, you’ll find three syringes with color-coded substances inside them (red, yellow, and gray), three applicator pads whose colors match the syringes, a foam semi-ball with a Velcro-like surface on one side to use when buffing the scratch, and plastic packaging trays to keep the pads separate from one another. (That’s only important if you will be saving some of the ScratchPro materials to use another time.)
You begin by cleaning the surfaces that need repair. Because it’s 45 degrees outside and dark, and because I’m lazy, I used a sample of water-free car wash to clean the damaged spots. You’re supposed to clean the damaged spots four times during the process – before the repair, and after each of the three steps.
After getting the road grime off of the van (which, prior to the scratch, was the van’s biggest cosmetic problem), I liberally applied the red diamond buffing compound onto the corresponding red buffing pad, then rubbing off the scratch in a circular motion. This part was actually fun, because the results were immediately apparent. It also pulled off all of the paint the transferred onto the bumper. Really, the only issue with this part of the process was that the other vehicle’s paint that was removed seemed to clog the semi-coarse surface of the buffing pad. You can see in the photo to the right, which I snapped around the middle of the process, that it has already started to change from red to black.
I was very happy at this stage because almost everything came off other than the deepest scratch, where the scratch had completely removed the red paint. It’s always satisfying to see immediate results, and it required very little elbow grease.
Next, I cleaned the areas of the van that I had just compounded in order to remove all of the diamond compound from the paint, or else the paint could be scratched during the next steps. The instructions also allow you to use touch-up paint between the compounding and the next step, but I chose not to at this stage.
After cleaning the compound residue from the paint, the next step is to basically repeat what you had just done in the previous step, except with the yellow buffing compound and yellow applicator pad. The only diference is that you have to expand the area that you’re buffing by a bit so that the buffing can be feathered into the non-damaged paint sections.
I cleaned the paint again (for the third time) and put the grey ScratchPro polishing compound onto the gray buffing pad. Its application was exactly the same as with the yellow and red pads and compounds, except that you have to further broaden the area that you’re working on (to feather in with the undamaged paint sections). Also, as you go from the scratch removal, to the buffing, to the polishing steps, it becomes more and more difficult to see obvious progress.
The poor van still very much needs a thorough bath, and scratch removal without using touch-up paint does have its limitations, but in general, I was very pleased with the results from ScratchPro. My wife was pleased with the results, and my two young sons – one of whom just had to be sure that I knew about mommy’s mishap – thought that I had completely, thoroughly fixed the damage. Maybe not the toughest critic, but a critic nonetheless.
You can buy ScratchPro for yourself for $29.99 . It’s not cheap, but hey, it has diamonds in it, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a body shop would be.
ScratchPro provided a sample kit for review.