To Repaint or Polish Out a Razor blade Mark
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This is a discussion on To Repaint or Polish Out a Razor blade Mark within the Exterior & Appearance forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; A clear bra installer left a long razor blade mark on the front bumper of my new 2013 wrx. I ...

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    To Repaint or Polish Out a Razor blade Mark

    A clear bra installer left a long razor blade mark on the front bumper of my new 2013 wrx. I showed the damage to the owner and he offered to have it touched up or polished out; however, I insisted on a repaint of the entire bumper, which he agreed. Now I'm in the process of researching a good shop to do the repaint, but I'm wondering if I should even go this route.

    I am worried about the paint color matching/blending issues on the front bumper, where the color is Ice Metallic Silver. Also, with a repaint, I will have to wait 30 days before having the clear bra put on again.

    The areas circled in red is where I noticed the razor blade marks.
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    Marks front bumper below the headlights
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    Driver side where the fender and bumper meet.
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    Passenger side where the fender and bumper meet.
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    Some other images. The cut lines might difficult to see.
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    Last edited by fr_awd; 10-21-2012 at 09:39 PM. Reason: add info

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  3. #2
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    What year is your impreza? If there just going to paint the bumper and your paint is worn then you'll be able to see the difference between

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    Sammich Makin' Pwincess wrxtreme06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexanderig View Post
    What year is your impreza?
    2012-2013 i'm assuming since those were the only 2 years ice silver was available.

    if the scratch is very light, i would try to claybar/buff/polish/etc first. if that doesnt work, get it repainted.

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    Registered User mcdbrendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fr_awd View Post
    A clear bra installer left a long razor blade mark on my front bumper. I showed the damage to the owner and he offered to have it touched up or polished out; however, I insisted on a repaint, which he agreed. Now I'm in the process of researching a good shop to do the repaint, but I'm wondering if I should even go this route.

    I am worried about the paint color matching/blending issues on the front bumper, where the color is Ice Metallic Silver. Also, with a repaint, I will have to wait 30 days before having the clear bra put on again.
    A picture would be helpful. General rule of thumb is if the scratch can be felt with your finger nail, polishing is not going to help. Good touch up work followed by polishing after the paint has cured could look good, you're right to want to avoid a respray if possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcdbrendan View Post
    General rule of thumb is if the scratch can be felt with your finger nail, polishing is not going to help.
    +1. Almost the exact words I was going to use.

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    I edited my first post to include the images of the scratch marks and other stuff.

    To me it's seems the guy cut the film freehand, because the edges of the film on the bumper are not straight at all. Also, I had the front headlights covered and the edges are all wavy and uneven. I decided to peel off a corner on the headlight and noticed a 1/4" long scratch.

    Other areas like the hood and fender have nice straight cuts, but I'm still somewhat concerned that there may be hidden razor blade marks that I can't see with the film still on.

    If I go with the touch/polish route, I may just have them remove all the film at the same time to see other damage to the paint.

  8. #7
    Registered User mcdbrendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fr_awd View Post
    I edited my first post to include the images of the scratch marks and other stuff.

    To me it's seems the guy cut the film freehand, because the edges of the film on the bumper are not straight at all. Also, I had the front headlights covered and the edges are all wavy and uneven. I decided to peel off a corner on the headlight and noticed a 1/4" long scratch.

    Other areas like the hood and fender have nice straight cuts, but I'm still somewhat concerned that there may be hidden razor blade marks that I can't see with the film still on.

    If I go with the touch/polish route, I may just have them remove all the film at the same time to see other damage to the paint.
    Freehand installs are better IMO, when they are done right - this install was really poorly done. I'd bet my dinner there are marks throughout...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcdbrendan View Post
    Freehand installs are better IMO, when they are done right - this install was really poorly done. I'd bet my dinner there are marks throughout...
    Guess you are keeping your dinner, because I checked and found more marks. I just peeled back some edges of the film and saw the razor marks, where the fender and front bumper meet. There was another on the hood, but it was too light to get a good snap shot. I edited my post with additional images.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fr_awd View Post
    Guess you are keeping your dinner, because I checked and found more marks. I just peeled back some edges of the film and saw the razor marks, where the fender and front bumper meet. There was another on the hood, but it was too light to get a good snap shot. I edited my post with additional images.
    Sorry to hear. Not much you can do about it at this point besides a respray and/or a new bra at a quality shop. Your paint is light enough it could be worth touching up/ignoring, but if you're as critical as me, those lines will stand out.

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    Thanks for the advice guys. I'll try the touch up/polish route first. If it doesn't work, then I'll go do the repaint and demand compensation for diminished car value

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    I decided to stop by a few body shops to get estimates on repairing the damage.

    Shop 1: The owner seemed pretty experienced with clear bra installers leaving razor marks, because he immediately knew once I mentioned the word clear bra. Although this shop was highly recommended for paint matching, the owner commented that paint matching for this job would be an issue. His concern was that the razor marks were at the edge of a plastic bumper next to a metal fender. Therefore, he would have to blend the paint on the fender. If the marks were in some other place away from the fender, then blending wouldn't be an issue. Since it's a new car, he commented that a repaint might not be worth it.

    Shop 2: The owner said buffing out the razor marks was not an option, because of the location on the edges of the bumper close to the fender. Basically there is no room to work.They would try to address the razor marks on the edges with touch up work. If they couldn't, then they would do a full repaint. He didn't mention whether they would have to blend the paint with the fender.

    Shop 3: Lowest estimate and just said they would be able to touch the razor marks and paint matching should not be an issue. He didn't think a full repaint would be necessary.

    Shop 4: The guy said his shop does not do touch up work, so they would repaint the entire bumper. When I asked about color matching, he said that most of the exterior components on new cars don't have exact matching colors anyway. huh? Anyway he mentioned that I should try to buff out the marks first.

    Any comments on my findings?

  13. #12
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    Damn... Your installer did a really poor job of installing your clear bra. The edges don't even line up correctly (around the hood scoop) and around the ac/radiator intake didn't even have any film. They didn't have enough coverage on the side bumper vents. Also they didn't take into account adding the film on top leading edge of the hood scoop where it's very likely to get impacted by small pebbles. Some of the edges don't look like they have a clean cut as well.

    If you lived closer to me I have a shop where they do an exceptional job of installing bra and tinting for a very reasonable price. Granted they took two days to work my car (with quite a bit of extra work done). Sorry to hear the damage that they caused to your car. Maybe you should remind them that the bra's supposed to protect the paint not ruin it lol. Hope your car gets fixed soon.

    Here's some pictures of my install. (Had Photoshop sharpen the edges so that the bra can be easily seen otherwise the edge's are very hard to see.)

    Attachment 109250Attachment 109251Attachment 109252

    Quote Originally Posted by fr_awd View Post
    I decided to stop by a few body shops to get estimates on repairing the damage.

    Shop 1: The owner seemed pretty experienced with clear bra installers leaving razor marks, because he immediately knew once I mentioned the word clear bra. Although this shop was highly recommended for paint matching, the owner commented that paint matching for this job would be an issue. His concern was that the razor marks were at the edge of a plastic bumper next to a metal fender. Therefore, he would have to blend the paint on the fender. If the marks were in some other place away from the fender, then blending wouldn't be an issue. Since it's a new car, he commented that a repaint might not be worth it.

    Shop 2: The owner said buffing out the razor marks was not an option, because of the location on the edges of the bumper close to the fender. Basically there is no room to work.They would try to address the razor marks on the edges with touch up work. If they couldn't, then they would do a full repaint. He didn't mention whether they would have to blend the paint with the fender.

    Shop 3: Lowest estimate and just said they would be able to touch the razor marks and paint matching should not be an issue. He didn't think a full repaint would be necessary.

    Shop 4: The guy said his shop does not do touch up work, so they would repaint the entire bumper. When I asked about color matching, he said that most of the exterior components on new cars don't have exact matching colors anyway. huh? Anyway he mentioned that I should try to buff out the marks first.

    Any comments on my findings?
    Regarding repainting I've heard that lighter metalic colors is probably the most painful color to match. Especially painting plastic and metal parts. The metal flakes in the paint statically reacts with the plastic parts so the flakes reorient themselves slightly different from the metal parts. This will cause a very slight difference in the shade of color once the paint has dried. Obviously the factory does the best job of avoiding this as I believe they statically discharge the plastic parts before painting.
    Last edited by KHP; 10-31-2012 at 02:29 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fr_awd View Post

    Shop 4: The guy said his shop does not do touch up work, so they would repaint the entire bumper. When I asked about color matching, he said that most of the exterior components on new cars don't have exact matching colors anyway. huh? Anyway he mentioned that I should try to buff out the marks first.

    Any comments on my findings?
    If you look at the factory paint on your bumper covers and compare them to your fenders and quarter panels, there is a slight color differential. I think this is probably what Shop #4 was saying. A repainted front bumper may actually match the rest of the car better than the factory paint does.
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    The clear bra installer had an experienced touch-up/repair person come out and look at the razor marks on my bumper. He had the same concerns regarding a repaint and recommended against it or even touch-up work. His reason is that many body shops won't use a flex additive in the paint mixture, so as time goes by the paint will start to crack from the plastic bumper flexing. Also, there is an issue with paint color blending as others have mentioned and that it's best tp keep the factory paint. Also, the touch-up work will require some blending of the paint due to the location of the damage. His recommendation was to possibly leave it alone or he could try wet sanding and polish.

    I stopped by Premier Protective Films in Fremont to get a consultation on the current film install and the possibility of them redoing the install. Greg looked over the existing film and commented on a few things that I was concerned with.

    -The radiator intake on the driver side could have used more coverage, but it is in an area that is difficult to completely cover due to possible lifting issues. Some bumpers with complicated curvatures will have some exposed areas, which can be covered with separate patches of film, but his shop typically won't do that.

    -For the 2 side vents, the other installer possibly did it that way to avoid having a visible relief cut. Also, there is an available template for the side vents, so it didn't really make sense to him on why the other installer attempted a custom cut for that area.

    -Under the hood, there should not have been any lifting or bubbles there.

    -For the razor blade scratches on the edges of the bumper near the fender, he said it could be a mask line but it was tough to tell. When I got a home, I took a more closer look and it really seems like a mask line or some feature to give the bumper a more textured look. The line sits so close to the edge of the film that thought it was razor mark. Last week, I had several people from body shops look at that area and they all thought it was razor mark. Well it's good to know that it isn't damage to the bumper, but the other marks between the licence plate and black mesh grill are indeed razor marks.

    In the end, I'm going to have it wet sanded and the original shop is going to redo the install. The owner said he will do the job himself. The original install was from one of his new guys, who I honestly think should not have been doing installations at all.

    I must have wasted hours on this matter and gas to drive to different shops for consultations on the damage. I should have gone with premier in the first place, so this is what I get for trying to save $150.
    Last edited by fr_awd; 11-06-2012 at 11:16 PM. Reason: edit due to confusing info

  16. #15
    Moderator T0rque's Avatar
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    Get your car fixed, period. A good body shop will NOT paint one panel, the car has adjacent panels that must be blended. It is simple and will look great when done correctly. Spend time and choose carefully but get the car fixed. The detailer is obviously an idiot and hasnt delt with any actual body shops. A body shop that warranties there work for life would definitely fix a bumper if it were to ever flake, I am willing to bet the cost of the paint job it wont.

    GET YOUR CAR FIXED. The installer is trying to dodge the work by asking someones opinion that shouldnt even speak. Asking a detailer if your car should be repainted is like asking your dentist why your **** is dripping green.


    Lead Wrench @ WTF Tuning, LLC

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