OK so this is the kind of crap I deal with.

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kgschlosser
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OK so this is the kind of crap I deal with.

Post by kgschlosser » Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:58 am

on June 2nd of 2018 this happened to my car. When an Elk decided to run into the side of my car at full speed while I was going about 50 the road.
IMG_20180713_135250.jpg

you would think the trunk lid is outta wack in this photo but it isn't. it's the rear quarter panel that is outta wack.
IMG_20180713_135049.jpg
When the elk hit the side fo the car it spun with it's rear legs hitting the nse of the car
IMG_20180713_135212.jpg
This is the opposite side of the car from where the elk hit. you can see the bumper and the hood were pushed.
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This is inside the car between the 2 seats. There is a roll bad behind the seats under the silver cover. look at how the yellow piece meets the silver one.
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this is the other side of the car from where the elk hit. you can see the bottom of the door sticking out and the middle of the door being flush. the top of the door is recessed in. this means the top of the body was pushed over. This is what happens when an 800 to 1000 lb animal hits you going 45 mph and having 95% of that weight 3 feet off the ground.
IMG_20180713_135121.jpg
This is sitting in the drivers seat looking over the top of the windshield frame. when the elk hit it turned and hit the nose of the car with it's rear feet causing it to roll onto the top of the car. I explain below why I was not smooshed.
IMG_20180713_141956.jpg
This is one of the tires on the opposite side of where the elk hit. You see the scratches on the sidewall? they are slightly diagonal. Those scratches occurred because the elk put the car onto 2 wheels. the reason the elk didn't smoosh me when it rolled onto the top of the car is because the car dropped back onto all 4 wheels leaving the elk airborne. the elk was in the air long enough for the car to get completely out from under it before it landed on it's head / antlers. then the car that was behind me clipped the thing.
IMG_20180702_072030.jpg

This happened 2 years ago. for 2 years I have been battling the insurance company about the damages. The top has a small tear in it and the top frame is bent and also the upper windshield frame. the top of the body is pushed over to the passenger side of the car. The hood, front bumper cover drivers door and rear quarter panel need to be replaced. They quoted the damage at 4 thousand. Every single body shop I went to looked at that quote and laughed. they then said they were not willing to work on the car because it would be to much of a fight with the insurance company. I knew the car was totaled and I was told the same by more then one shop.

I told the insurance company about the inaccuracy of the quote and me having problems finding anyone to work on the thing. They told me to get an estimate and they would make adjustments. I couldn't even find a place that would estimate the damned thing.

then an idea came to me. I wondered if the insurance company could "reset" the claim so a new estimate could be made. I asked them this and the answer was they didn't know. after a few phone calls and getting bounced from person to person I finally came cross someone that was able to do just that. I then went to one of their "preferred" shops and one that didn't have an insurance company adjuster on premises and had the thing properly estimated. And would you look at that it ended up getting totaled.

This is a good thing. I have knowledge on my side and knowledge is power. worlds largest source of information at my fingertips and I used it. When the insurance company gave me the value for my car I looked over it and first thing I noticed as they had the options completely wrong for my car. the second thing was what I call "double dipping" cars have packages that can be purchased. These packages are groupings of options. well they were deducting for leather seats and then deducting for not having the premium package. well leather seats come with the premium package. my car did not have 2 options an ash tray, and the rear trunk lip/spoiler. it had every other option that was made.

I went onto the internet and located all of the options and how the packages re grouped together and what packages are available for the different trim levels. I put all of that information together. During this process I had stumbled across the production numbers for the car. The car is made by Pontiac and Pontiac went out of business in 2010. This car was made from 2006.5 to 2010.5, so only 4 years. they made 64 thousand or so in that 4 years, 16 thousand were made in 2008. of the 16 thousand there were 1024 that were painted yellow. of the 16 thousand there were 8 thousand made with the GXP trim. of those 8000 4000 had manual transmissions.

some simple math. 1024 / 16000 = about 8%
4000 * 0.08 (8%) = 350

those are rounded numbers I didn't use exact ones for the example.
so now there were only 350 of my car made. and after 12 years there may be 70% of them still on the road. so now we are down to 250.

all other colors of this car are not like that. it is only the yellow ones that are. I believe that there only being 250 of a vehicle world wide would place it into the rare category.

I went and found every single yellow 2008 pontiac solstice gxp that was for sale currently in the US, there were only 5. I wrote down the asking prices and the mileages.
I compared each of the 5 vehicles against each other. getting the difference in price and the difference in mileage. I then divided that difference in price by the difference in mileage and got the cost per mile difference. I put that into a container and did this for all of the vehicles that were for sale. I averaged the differences per mile that I had put in that container and multiplied that by the mileage difference between my car and each of the cars that were for sale. I used the amount returned for each comparison and applied it to the asking price of that car that was for sale. That number is the offset amount. It could be a + or it could be a - what It did was adjust the asking price to make it comparable to mine. I put that adjusted price into a container. After doing that for all of the for sale vehicles I then averaged what was in the container. You know what I ended up with? The TRUE fair market value for my car. Which is not the amount they had on their valuation.

So I keyed up an e-mail with all of this wonderful information. A few days pass and I had not heard back from them.. I thought I was going to be in for a battle with them about this. If they had met me half way between their valuation and what I had come up with I would have been happy.... well a week passed, and yesterday I get a phone call from them. The guy on the phone said to me he had spent a few days going over my e-mail to them. he looked up the cars that I used. he also probably had his legal team or someone in accounting go over my equations to check the validity of them I am sure. He agreed with me about the original valuation being so horribly incorrect he wasn't even going to get a new one made (they are made by a 3rd party company). He said to me that he used my calculations on a bunch of different kinds of cars to locate some kind of an error in it. He also said he came up empty handed. I asked him if he had any questions about anything that was in the e-mail. He said not a single question. He commented on how it was written and how easy it was to understand and not allowing anything to go unanswered before the question even got asked. He only made a single change and one of the for sale vehicles were removed because it was a "special edition" car. I said that was fine and that I had known about that. my only interest was the color and trim level and not any of the options. that special edition vehicle was the one with the highest asking price. I knew that the car would probably get removed.

He told me that he used my calculations to come up with the new valuation. The old valuation was 10,500 and the new one ended up being 18,500. That is one hell of a change in the price tag. It is usually a harder fight to get the insurance companies to see things the way you do. It is always going to be a give and take. But the key thing is to never take what the first offer is. Insurance companies know that you need your car. they also know that most people only have a single vehicle. They will always drag their feet to get past the first 30 days of a total loss claim. This is usually when the rental car disappears. If you car has over a several thousand dollar value it is going to be beneficial to you to purchase a junker in order to continue the battle. Most people will settle or take the first amount because they are without a vehicle. If they have taken possession of your vehicle before the claim has been completely settled this is a good thing. But remind them they are not allowed to do anything with the car. and also that technically speaking they have committed theft because you did not authorize them to take the vehicle. But leave it sit with them. Now your feet dragging begins. each day that car sits in storage it's costing them money. about 25 bucks a day. after a single year it would cost them 9,125 dollars in storage fees. Here in Colorado there is a 2 year statute of limitations. and If I open a lawsuit just before that 2 years is up it will extend that time even further. DO NOT ever cash or deposit a check from an insurance company until that check is the full agreed upon amount. DO NOT listen to them when they tell you that cashing/depositing the check does not close the claim. This is a blatent lie. Send the check back to them and send it return receipt so they have to sign for it and you get a receipt that they got the thing. Include with the check a letter stating that you are in dispute over the amount they have valued your vehicle at and that they are responsible for your vehicle while it is in their possession. While the car is in their possession continue to pay your monthly insurance premiums. once an agreement is made they owe you back all of the money for the insurance premiums you paid from the date they took it + interest on that money as well.

If they say your car is totaled but it is still safe to operate then DO NOT let them take it. continue to operate the vehicle until an agreement has been made. This removes an immediate need to get a new car. This works in your favor as well. Call them every single day if possible. each minute they are dealing with your claim is more money they are spending. if they do not answer then leave one message an hour until they call. Drive then completely crazy. Every single insurance company has the "how to rip off the customer" handbook. It is bonkers how identical the process is between the different insurance companies. Remember everything they are telling you is scripted. It is pre written. They have a response to every question you can think of. Get them off script. this is going to make them trip over themselves. This is the single easiest way to do this. On that first phone call they are going to tell you verbally that they might record the phone conversation so they can use it in training or some other such bullshit. well... guess what.. they ARE recording the conversation it is not a they "may" record it. and the purpose for the recording is to use against you should the case end up in court. After they give you that spiel you then say to them "I want to inform you that i may record this phone conversation as well." you say this to them because now their head is going to be concentrating on not fucking up and guess what they will do. they will fuck up. Act like you are going to be a lay down. ask questions. say to them that you have not had to go through this process before and ask what is involved. Get that first valuation. read it 30 times if necessary. analyze every single thing on it. A lot of time they will list 4, 5, 10 comparison cars, look for special punctuation like footnotes and *'s most times there will be no definitions for these things on the valuation. More times then not those footnotes will state things like this vehicles was not used in the actual comparison and is here for informational purposes only. or they will state things like, the asking price of this vehicle has been reduced by 700.00 dollars due to "haggling" over the price that can be done at a dealership to get a lower price.

This is a biggie.. NO insurance company has the right to reduce the price of the valuation because of the condition of your car. This is the reason why. The cars they use in the comparison and not new cars, and there for are not in perfect condition. The asking price for those cars are set by the seller taking into consideration the condition of that vehicle. just like if you sold your car you would base the price for it on the condition of it. so taking the value they came up with which takes into consideration the condition of the selling vehicles and then reducing that price further making it out to be that the condition of the car that is being sold is in new condition and your is not (obviously) is that "double dipping" It is actually fraudulent in most states in the US is not all of them, and I am pretty sure it would also be consider the same in other countries as well.

Alwys remember that an insurance company has 2 responsibilities to you. the first is they have to return your car back to the same condition it was in before the accident. PERIOD. if they are not able to do this they are obligated to give you the sum of money it would take for you to go and purchase the exact same vehicle with the same mileage. and in a lot of states in the US that includes all applicable sale tax, registration fees, dealer document fees and destination/delivery charges.

Read up on the laws where you are before engaging in any communications with them. Keep the amount of information shared over the phone to a minimum. get as much done using e-mail as you can. this is a paper trail instead of a he said she said thing. Scower over every single thing they send to you keeping in mind the laws. the more laws they break the better leverage you have. and the e-mails are the proof. push comes to shove when you are getting tired of dealing with them you then drop the "lay down" routine and open up the knowledge faucet. Do not send an e-mail to them without reading over it 1/2 a dozen times first. do not send short one sentence e-mails. write books and make sure you leave no questions to be asked by them. cover every single base you can possibly think of. First it takes up a huge amount of their time to read the thing second is they aren't going to remember what they had read at the beginning of the thing. e-mails are a way for you to put all of your information out there without having them cut you off or try to answer your question right away. when they answer any questions you have sent they will not answer all of them. they are going leave things out. hammer them over and over again with the same questions.

If you do not get a response to an e-mail or a message in 48 hours call the 1800 claims number and speak with a supervisor and request a new claims handler. Do this only if the one you got is seasoned and you can't get to trip up and make mistakes. Those kinds of handlers will usually ignore your repeated requests to get questions answered. Insurance companies are not allowed to do this. keep a log of every single date and time you attempt to contact them and the content of any messages left. also log when you do and also the content of the conversation. write down the conversation while you are having it if needed.


OK So the story ends like this. NEVER try to get something more then you have the right to. If possible provide them with the information needed to make a better assessment. Give them a valid reason to use your information and that reason has to be done in a manner that leave them with no objections and no questions. remove the possibility of them arguing something before that argument can even take place. Be polite. never swear or yell at them. after the "lay down" phase be forceful in tone. show that you are not happy. But also make it clear to them that the reason your are not happy is not about the car, it is them insulting your intelligence with the valuation and the low ball quote.

This is a great statement to give if you are getting no where with them after several months of banging heads. This statement tugs at the heart strings of even the most stubborn handler.

"I am not sure how you are able to do your job knowing that you are not giving the people the things they have the right to. when you take advantage and low ball people like you are think about that single mom that needs to get to work in order to feed her 2 children. Now you low ball her and she ends up having to take from her own pocket to make up the difference in order to get dependable transportation to and from work. That money she had to use from her own pocket was for the kids school clothes that needed to be purchased, or maybe that tutor that one of the kids needed. I am not sure how you can sleep at night knowing that these are the things that are taking place because of actions like this."

That statement is 100% truthful in every single way.
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Re: OK so this is the kind of crap I deal with.

Post by kgschlosser » Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:07 am

OK so last thing.. This is directed at the people that like to drive around in a powered dumpster. and you people know who you are.. CLEAN the car before you bring it to get looked at. If it takes you anything less then 2 8 hour days to clean the car it's not clean. Bring it to the self wash and power spray the dirt in the door jams and the trunk and also under the hood. clean the suspension off by sticking the thing between the spokes on the wheels. Dirty Headliner no problem, soft bristle finger nail brush some paper towel (blue ones are the best to use) and Spray Way glass cleaner. found in Walmart. use that combination to clean every single surface in the car. There is not a single surface in a vehicle that can be "stained" the dirt in a car is there because it is stuck to something. and that something is usually you. it's the oils from your skin. What breaks down oils? alcohol does and Spray Way is alcohol based. when using the brush on fabric surfaces like the headliner be gentle. and always go in small circles with little pressure. You are only trying to loosen the dirt a little so the Spray Way can get in there and dissolve the glue holding the dirt (your body oils) never use the paper towel to wipe fabric surfaces. Blot only. It is actually best to use a diaper or a maxi pad and blot with that. it is far more absorbent then just about every material made. we do not want to smear smudge and push the crap in further. it needs to get "sucked" out. I will usually use a large bowl full of hot water with a little dawn in it before using the spray way. Do not be afraid to get shit wet. Best to disconnect the battery first. one so you do not kill it with the door being open. second if you get moisture into something electronic you want to not cook anything. This would be rare to have happen because most of the electronics in a vehicle are completely waterproof, usually IP66 rated. but better not to find out that something isn't. I know that most times the radio does not have this done to it.

It is OK to put a lot of water on the floor of the car to get the carpet clean. the carpet in a car has a rubber back on it and it should hold water like a swimming pool. If it has a hole in it then make sure you pull the carpet back for things to dry. Dog in the car.. is the hair impossible to get out of the carpet?? NOPE!!! pumice stone. use it like a brush across the carpet. you can "sweep" the hairs into a pile where they can then be vacuumed up or picked up. Scratches in the plastic parts of the car?? looks like shit yes?? go get one of those little torches from the gas station. one that puts out a decent flame. use it on the scratch moving fast over it several times. you only want to heat the plastic up not melt it. use your finger to get rid of the white from the scratch. you cannot remove the scratch but of you get rid of the white the scratch will disappear. DO NOT DO THIS ON GLOSSY PLASTIC SURFACES! On glossy surfaces you can usually use 2000 grit emery cloth (found at auto parts store) and you sand that area do not be too aggressive and do it a little at a time you do not want to sand through the glossy finish. That sanded area is going to be all hazy and white, It's ok this is normal. once you have sanded it good you then use 100% Carnuba wax on it let it dry. buff it off with a microfiber towel you may have to apply several coats of the wax. If there is still some haze left then go and get a metal polishing cloth buffing wheel attachment for a drill, they are commonly called a rouge wheel the kit is going to include sticks of rouge. put the rough on the wheel. this is done while the wheel is in motion. you can then use the wheel on the area using light pressure. It it always smart to practice this whole process on a spot that is made of the same material in a not so noticeable area of the car first.

I used to clean cars like this for a job. I would charge about 700-800 to do an interior, I charged this because I would remove the entire interior to the car only leaving the dashboard and headliner. I would scrub each piece individually, I would dismantle the seats cleaning the skins and plastics separately. The carpet would come out as well and it would get a nice boiling water bath and scrubbed using dawn and one of those rubber mitts used to brush a dog the one with the large rubber spikes on it.

If the car had cloth seats I would take the cushions for the seats and saturate them with boiling water. then lay them down on the ground (after i sweep and clean an area) lay a piece of ply wood on top and drive a car on top of it. this squeezes most of the water out. The cloth skins can be put in a washing machine NOT in the dryer! air dry only.

doing the paint on the car involves special tools so I am not going to get into that portion of it. just get it as clean as possible and put some wax on the thing as well.

Clean cars are worth more money.

If you have any questions about how to clean something in a car ask away. There is a pretty good chance I will be able to tell you how.
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Re: OK so this is the kind of crap I deal with.

Post by steve@rpad » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:01 pm

So I have a car that has painted exterior door handles. There is a scratch, fairly deep. I have a touch up pen from dealership to match my supposedly exclusive colour. Anyways, you think I could layer the paint to fill in the deep scratch? Do you think that would look ok in the end or does that require skill and experience? In other words, do u think the Rookie here would f it up?
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Re: OK so this is the kind of crap I deal with.

Post by kgschlosser » Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:26 am

well that depends.

First is I would have to see the scratch and also feel it. Need to know how wide it is. deep is not so much of an issue as many believe. It is one of the things that will dictate if it can be buffed. But the width of the scratch is really important was well if it is to deep to buf out. You can heat the scratch with a heat gun (being super careful not to burn the paint) and using a 100% cotton towel (NO SYNTHETIC FIBERS THEY WILL MELT) you can massage the scratch closed or at least closer together. If you get minor surface scratches in the area do not fret it's no big deal.

What I have found works really really well is 1000 to 1500 watts of halogen lamps pretty close to the spoth with the damage. Halogen lamps generate a fairly large amount of UV which will penetrate and help to soften the paint some and you will not risk burning it.

If you can manage to get the thing all the way closed you are going to use a good paint sealent on it as a last step. This will keep the water out of it.

If you cannot get it all the way closed then you are going to need to buid out the scratch with touch up paint. This is going to take a super steady hand. make sure you are able to brace your hand wrist and arm on something like a small table anything that you can set next to the car that will be a good working height.

You do not want to use the brush that comes with the touch up paint, it's to big. You will want to go to an artists supply and pick up a brush that looks like it only has a couple of hairs. If the scratch is more vertical then horizontal that will work in your favor. If not and it closer to being horizontal then you are going to have to be really really careful. Automotive paints are super thin. They run extremely easily. so any time the scratch is on the side of the care it raises the difficulty level. if the scratch is vertical it lowers it some because you can start at the top and stay at the top. the paint will move it's way down easily enough.

The trick when using touch up paint is to fill the scratch. On a flat surface like a hood or trunk this is easier to do because it can be done in less applications because you can put more paint in with less chance of it running. on a door you are going to have to apply it probably 10-12 times to fill the scratch. The name of the game is don't overflow the scratch or have the paint run out of the scratch. If you do happen to overflow it you are going to want to pick up some 3000 grit and some 5000 grit emery cloth (automotive paint sand paper) I personally like the emery cloth because it is denim backed and doesn't fall apart when it gets wet. You will be using water when you sand you need to keep on wetting as you are sanding. hairspray bottles work perfect for this. be really easy when sanding you do not want to sand through the paint and also make sure the surface is completely clean. one little grain of sand and it's gonna get fucked up pretty bad.

Most people have this wild idea that a cars factory paint has a clear coat. on most vehicles the paint used is a single step paint. Or what I call and paint and bake. when a car is painted at the factory if is completely bare only metal. So after they paint it they have the ability to bake the thing at wicked high temperatures because there is no interior or plastics that can melt. This high heat is what causes the paint to get shiny. an auto body shop is not able to do this because the car is assembled. so they will use a clear coat to get it to kind of match the original. One of the side effects of the banking process if the orange peel effect. You really do not want to have to sand it because of an overflow the sanding process is going to remove this orange peel look from that area and you will end up having to sand a much larger area trying to blend it. It a pain in the ass actually because it is time consuming. so my suggestion is to be really really careful.

Practice makes perfect. Go to home depot and buy a piece of sheet metal (HVAC isle) then head on over to the paint section and go to where the spray paints are. Typically on the bottom shelf or on one of the top ones where you can't reach there will be cans of appliance epoxy spray paint they usually have black and white but sometimes they have tan. if you have a darker colored car then get the white or tan. if you have light color car get the black..

Paint the metal with the spray paint. several coats. This stuff takes a while to dry so be patient. If you spray it with the metal laying flat you can put the stuff on really thick and will only have to do the single coat. It will take 24 hours to dry. Then remlicate the scratch on the painted metal. get as close to the depth and width as you can. use some clamps and clamp the metal to something so the scratch will be in the same orientation and hight from the ground as what is on your car.. Now start practicing. You can do every single step I mentioned above. You have to use the epoxy paint if you are going to practice the heating and massaging process.

If you have to sand it is going to turn that area white. This is more noticible on dark cars. Do not worry! it's no big deal. You are going to use 100% carnuba wax at the end. pick up a rouge wheel for your drill when the wax drys use the rouge wheel to buff it out. make sure you keep that drill moving. and i do not mean the wheel turning you do not want to stay in one spot you have to move the whole thing around the area. use a medium speed for spinning the wheel.

Practice Practice Practice! Look at it this way. The way I look at it is even if you try it practicing and you are not able to get it done good enough youare only out the 5 bucks for the tin and the 8 bucks for the paint and another 2-3 for the rouge wheel. You still walk away with an education. so you have lost nothing by trying. because if you do not think that you can do it and you do not even try then you will have to pay someone to do it. and if you try and fail you have the education and you have to pay someone to do it. Even going that route you end up on top.

I may have photos somewhere of a truck I worked on. It was black and it was scratched all to hell. The owner took it to several body shops and he was told the truck needed to be repainted. He heard about my work from a friend of a friend of a friend kind of a thing. I looked at the truck and said I won't be able to get 100% of them out but it will look a whole lot better when I am done. I told him that if he doesn't like it afterwards then he doesn't have to pay me. Mind you there were thousands of scratches on this truck. and being black paint they stand out bright white. 4 days working on the truck. I never used any touch up paint. I got every single scratch out except for one and the one ended up being about the thickness of a hair and about 4 inches long. You had to know where it was to even see the thing. The guy was completely floored. I charged him 1000 to do the job and he was more then happy to pay it.

He took the truck to a few of the places that said it was impossible to to get the scratched out to show them how wrong they were. Time and patience. I have gotten dents out of cars that body shops said couldn't be gotten out. and I got the dents out right back to where the body was originally and no bondo or paint. hard to tell there was even a dent there. and dent is kind of the wrong work. more like a crinkle.
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Re: OK so this is the kind of crap I deal with.

Post by kgschlosser » Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:28 am

I am going to fix some scratches I have in the front of my washing machine tomorrow. I will take before and after pictures to show what can be done. It is really amazing!
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Re: OK so this is the kind of crap I deal with.

Post by kgschlosser » Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:29 am

I forgot to ask.. Is the handle metal or plastic?

And scrap the touch up pen and get a bottle of touch up paint instead.
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Re: OK so this is the kind of crap I deal with.

Post by steve@rpad » Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:28 am

Its a metal handle. acura.
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Re: OK so this is the kind of crap I deal with.

Post by kgschlosser » Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:14 pm

ok then you should be fine with the above. just take your time with it. You will actually be suprised how easy it is. it's simply time consuming because it is going to be your first time doing this.

Can you take a photo of the scratch for me?? I will tell you if it is something you want to try and tackle yourself. Usually on a first time scratch you either practice on a shit car (usually one of the first cars you get) or take a look in one of the door jams you might find a scratch on one of them that you can learn on. some place that is not so visible.
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