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Product Test: Dupli-Color Scratch Fix All-in-1

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A close encounter with a sapling near the driveway led to a dent and paint failure. Can Dupli-Color’s Scratch Fix All-in-1 system save the day? Photos by the writer.

Last fall, while backing out of my driveway, I managed to bump the passenger-side front fender on my ’62 Falcon on a sapling. I don’t recall the circumstances, I was probably avoiding a bicycle or a chicken. Regardless, the evidence is there in the form of a nice dent and some flaked-off paint. I wasn’t overly dismayed, as I had deliberately had the car finished in a way that it could collect battle scars without giving me too many gray hairs. This is, after all, a driver.

Still, I can’t abide the rust that accompanies paint failure, and I knew I needed to do something to seal off the exposed primer coat from the elements. I ran into my Friendly Local Auto Parts Store expecting to pick up one of the nail-polish-like bottles of touch-up paint I’d seen all my life. Instead, I found I had my choice of spray cans or the new Dupli-Color Scratch Fix All-in-1 system. I elected to try it out, with the idea that perhaps I could share my experiences here.

By the time I started, surface rust had started to form. Thankfully, the All-in-1 kit can deal with that.

I’m fortunate in that instead of the original Oxford Blue Poly that Ford offered for my car back in the ’60s, I had instead had the car sprayed in a modern GM color: Indigo Blue Metallic, paint code WA9792. Now oddly, while this color was pretty widespread and was used from 1993 to 2010 on a variety of GM vehicles, Dupli-Color doesn’t let you look it up by year, make, and model — instead you have to have the actual paint code, which it suggests was only available on 2010 Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC Top Kick trucks. Nevertheless, I found the appropriate kit and set out on my repairs.

The kit is self-contained except for a tool to remove compromised paint that is still attached to the vehicle. A quick trip to the medicine cabinet netted a razor blade to complete that task. I opened up the dent to the edges of the un-compromised paint, taking care not to flake off any additional paint in the process.

The second step in the process was using the abrasive tip to clean up the surface rust that had formed and make sure the touch-up paint had some “tooth” to grip.

Next, I flowed/brushed the paint into the wound, making sure to overlap the edges slightly.

The end result wasn’t the prettiest, though the paint did level out somewhat. The color match was outstanding, however. I saw no sense in agonizing over it, as the dent itself will remain in the fender. Perfectionist bodyworkers may want to select a different article at this point…

I let the paint dry, per the instructions. At this point, if one was simply dealing with a chip and not a dent too, it would be worthwhile to smooth things up with some sandpaper.

I debated whether to use the included clearcoat. My car is painted in a basecoat/clearcoat system, but the clear is flattened. That’s not an option with the Dupli-Color kit. In the end, I decided completeness of protection was the priority and slathered it on. I’m taking a kintsugi approach here, allowing repairs to become a part of the car’s story.

The end result is still distinctly visible as an injury, but now as a healed scar rather than a gaping wound. I was satisfied.

The car definitely passes the 20-footer test and now looks mended rather than neglected. I would use this product again if I could find the appropriate color for my project.