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Body and Paint Care

Body Care and Waxes

Touch-Up Paint Source

Paint Chip Repair

Paint Scratch Repair

Black Window Trim Renewal

Bumper and Trim Color Renewal

Painted Bumper Cover Repair

Front Spoiler Repainting

Painting Black Bumpers

Roof Rack Repainting

How to Remove Pinstripes from Paint

100K Badge Mounting

Rubber Trim Preservative

Clear Coat Failure

Painting Your Own Car

Body Care and Waxes. Hagman's or Sonax products, I prefer Hagman's. I machine-polished my car for 6 months ago and waxed it with Hagman's wax and the water still pearls. I've tested Turtle, Simoniz, Maquire and so on but Hagmans is still the best. When I worked in a Recond-garage we used Sonax but that was before Hagman's new products, here in Sweden Hagman's gets the highest test-score in all car-mags.

PURE CARNAUBA WAX! Accept no substitute. As for removing the fine scratches, try a product called "Fill n' Glaze" from 3M. Available at most automotive paint supply stores. Pricey, but good! Pink in color. WARNING: Always follow the Fill n'Glaze treatment with the above mentioned Carnauba Wax. Your paint is left unprotected without it!

Rain Dance is a decent wax, as is Mother's. I have tried all the silicone polishes and only one has seemed to perform as claimed. That's Finish 2001 by Turtle Wax.

Car Care Appearance Products. [Tip] See

Touch-Up Paint Source. For the last 5 years I have been touching up vehicles for auto dealerships. What I have done is put together a touch-up system for your car using all the tools and supplies I used at the dealerships. This is a basecoat/clearcoat system like the factory uses. I custom mix the paint for your car using your paint code so it is a great match. I can match any year vehicle. 1,000's sold----will ship anywhere. For more info go to:

For information on color codes, see the FAQ file or

Paint Chip Repair. [Inquiry:] I have a paint chip in the front of the hood. It appears to be down to the metal and about 1mm in size. What's the best way to repair this?

Chip Preparation. [Tip from Jim Powell] Use a jeweler's loupe to see the chip clearly. Take a dental pick and scrape any loose debris, rust or dirt out of the chip. A roughened surface will help the touchup paint adhere better. After the bottom and sides of the hole are cleaned and the sides are reasonably perpendicular, clean the area several times with grease and wax remover. (3M Adhesive Remover or PrepSolv). Do a final cleaning with several applications of Isopropyl alcohol.

Chip Repainting. [Tip from Cavalier Forum at Yahoo] When touching up the car and I don't have a lot of paint chips to fix, I dig out one of my dissecting needles, dip just the very tip into the paint, then touch the tip to the chip area. That is also a very accurate way to do touch up and does not use a normally hard-to-get hypo with fine needle tip. A dissecting needle is basically a largish steel needle stuck into the end of a plastic rod whose diameter is typically that of a pencil and length is about 5 inches. You can find them in hobbycraft stores that sell model paints and tools like pin drills. You can make your own substitute for a dissecting needle painting tip by using a paperclip. Straighten the paperclip out. Take a needlenose flat-faced pliers (or any pliers with a flat crushing surface) and mush the end of the paperclip down. It now looks like the end of a tiny bladed screwdriver (which is what I use for tightening screws in my glasses when desperate). Use the pliers to chomp at it until you have a reasonable tip on the end of the paperclip. That is your new recyclable painting needle.

If you don't have a hypo, you can substitute a dissecting needle. If you don't have one of those, you can substitute a homemade paperclip painting tip (and feel proud that you are related to MacGyver who invents things on the fly). If you have no paperclip, you can always take a sliver of wood. I've taken wooden doweling and sharpened it in my pencil sharpener (the small manual ones) to a tip before and used those.
Really, the hypo method is better when you have a TON of paint chips to do. If you only have ten or twenty chips, you might as well use a metal tip....

The above methods are cheaper than using an expensive artist brush (the sables can run $10 each) unless you use one of those cheap wal-mart "artist" brushes and clip most of the hairs off. [Response 2:] Airbrushing can make very good repairs. Getting an airbrush and a small hobbyist compressor (like for painting plastic models) works OK. A little practice and you can make extremely good repairs. I do it all the time. The secret is getting the build up in the chip even with the surrounding surface by several applications of paint and wet sanding/polishing level.

Chip Repair Buffing. The Langka product works well to buff the bubble of new paint down to the level of surrounding paint for an invisible repair. Buy it at IPD for about US$20.

Paint Scratch Repair. [Tip from Steve Ringlee] It's getting cold out here in subtropical Iowa, so I thought it opportune to do the last detailing of the season and repair the paint scratches in my 944, the result of careless nitwits in the supermarket parking lots. I had read somewhere about using a hypodermic syringe to lay in a thin bead of paint right in the scratch. After getting my flu shot I just asked the doc for the needle, explaining that I needed it for my car. He was a little skeptical, but knowing me to be the straight arrow I am he said "OK, you didn't get it from me" and I was on my way.

The touchup paint from Volvo is really for filling chips, so it has to be thinned with lacquer thinner to work with this technique. I mixed a small quantity to a watery consistency in a small bottle, then sucked it up into the needle. Make sure you mix it well, else the metallic particles will settle out. Use denatured alcohol to clean the paint of wax, silicones, etc. Then practice on a hard surface to get the flow right: too much pressure on the syringe and it comes out too quickly. Lay in a very small bead of paint right in the crack with gentle pressure on the syringe.

My first attempt resulted in too much paint in the crack, which I left on the car until it dried. Then I used very fine auto wet sandpaper (more than 600 grit!) to sand it flush with the surface, and oversprayed with a little clear coat. This in turn required more sanding and polishing until it was smooth. Not the best, but it was OK.

My second scratch filling went better and I just filled the crack with enough paint to cover it without requiring sanding or clearcoating. I then emptied the paint back into the bottle and used a brush to fill in a larger ding. The thinned paint works vastly better than the stock touchup paint and I will follow this technique in the future. Clean the syringe with lacquer thinner and keep it for your next scratch or maybe one rousing bash with the local druggies. Some of our local high school crew would, I am sure, inject the paint just to see what would happen.

Black Window Trim Renewal. [Tip] Repainting the trim really improves the look of an old Brick and I've found it's as durable as the original trim finish. The trim around the windows is actually polished/painted stainless steel. If you have just a chip in the paint less than 3/8" or so, use Dupli-color touch up paint in the bottle #sf-104 flat black. Prep/clean the chip with mineral spirits, then denatured alcohol, and apply the paint in light coats to build. When dry after a day or so, carefully level if necessary with a small piece of 800 wet/dry paper, then polish and wax to blend. If you need to restore the window trims, try repainting them with SEM Trim Black, an aerosol paint you can find at body and paint supply shops. On my trim I've not had a lot of peeling or chipping ... just wear. I clean the trim with Prep-all degreaser (also available at auto paint supply stores) then lightly sand the trim with a 1200 grit wet/dry sand paper. You may have to do more agressive sanding if the surface has a lot of peeling-you may also need to prime the trim after heavy sanding.Then clean it with Pre-pall one last time... mask the windows, doors and roof (using masking tape and panels of newspaper.) Give the trim at least two light top coats of Trim Black. Wait for the paint to become tacky, at least one hour, and remove the masking. [Editor] This works well for faded windshield wiper arms, too. In my case, I used Duplicolor Trim Black.

Bumper and Trim Color Renewal. [Inquiry] My black bumpers are looking grey and washed out. What can I use to restore them?

Wax Remover. [Rob Bareiss] First try wax removers, sometimes called a prep solvent, which is used for detailing a car or preparing it for new paint. One professional product is called "PrepSol" but you can also use bug and tar removers. Apply it to a rag, not the car. Should work like a charm to remove graying wax on black bumpers and trim.

Paint Respray. [Response: Chris Herbst] In my experience, there is no substitute for spraying the trim with the proper trim paint. The extra expense for trim paint is not a bad stretch when you consider it lasts longer. You can use the stuff for bumpers, trim, whatever. I've been using a SEM product (Superior Restoration Products) in the shop recently. It is easy to work with and does a good job. If you want to paint bumpers, buy the chemical that lets you etch into the material, and holds paint better. It gives a great finish and the end result is BLACK bumpers (or gray, whatever you want or have) that stay exactly the way you want them to stay, for quite a long time. I have also used flat black paint (good quality is a little better) for some trim painting. The thing I've found with that is, if you don't prep the surface appropriately, it gives bad fish eyes and can start to chip badly in a few years. After a lot of miles with front end trim painted, I can say that the trim paint is a good extra investment. [Tip from Bryan] Duplicolor makes a spray bumper re-coat:

Treatments. [Paul Ramdial] I've had great success "painting" my front bunper with.......Kiwi black leather scoff cover! Available at your favorite grocery store for under 5 bucks. It degrades much slower than Back to Black. I remove the foam applicator and use a one inch fine bristle paint brush . Prepare surface by washing thoroughly, then clean with alcohol. After car washes I do not use armor all and similar protectants as this sort of suppresses the next application. [Response: DZ] I've tried the products IPD sells (Forever Black-longer lasting & Black Again-temporary)and they are not worth the effort. [Sean Coron] Spirit Dye for leather works great and is far less expensive than Forever Black. Follow up with a conditioner such as paste wax.

Painted Bumper Cover Repair. [Inquiry:] My 1997 960 with the plastic body color bumper has a dent in it. Short of replacing the bumper($700), is ther any thing I can do to repair it ? Is there a filler or body putty that would fill in the dent? [Response: Leon Tong] The following procedure is described in the Volvo factory manual on paintwork repairs:

A small ridge may appear in the bumper cover following a low-speed collision. This can be repaired by heating the cover and pressing the material Heat bumper cover with a hot-air gun to soften the damaged area. The bumper cover is sufficiently soft when light pressure with a wooden spatula produces a small mark in the plastic. A suitable distance between the hot air gun and bumper is 12 cm. The distance can vary depending on the type of gun. Start with a greater distance and reduce if required. It may be difficult to heat large areas. Divide the work into sections. Note! paintwork will be damaged by excessive temperature. Work carefully and be aware of changes in the paintwork caused by excessive temperature. Place a wet blanket over the heated area and press out the damage with a wooden block. Keep pressure applied until the bumper has cooled (about 2 min). Use compressed air to accelerate cooling. Repeat procedure until the damage has been completely repaired. Some areas of the bumper may require repeated treatment." Now, I haven't tried this myself, so I can't vouch for it. And since you've got a dent, you'd be working from the inside. But it seems like it's worth a shot if the alternative is patching and re-spraying.

Front Spoiler Repainting . [Inquiry:] My (white) '89 740 still has excellent paint but the front spoiler could use fixing. Has many nicks and scratches and would look a lot better if repainted. Has anyone painted this piece with any luck?

[Response: Nathaniel] The front spoiler is a breeze to paint. But before I continue with the process let's talk about the paint itself.
The paint is nothing special . . . use the same paint that is used for the car.

[Important Tip from JohnB] You DO need to add a flexible additive to both the primer and the color/clear coat paints. Also, get your viscosity right, fisheye additive in high humidity, etc., etc. The reason the old stuff cracked off is cuz it wasn't flexible enough to take the movement in the spoiler. Any automotive paint supply shop should be able to sell you a can of the additive

[Nathaniel's Comments Continued:] A good recommendation is to use PPG. What your going to need to be armed with is the color code # for your car. You'll find this code # on a little plate inside your engine compartment (I'm going to avoid telling you where it's located because it varies from year-to-year). Just look around at the various plates containing important information about your car and you'll find it. Mine is located above the passenger side headlight cluster. It's cleary notated "color code". Use this # to ensure that the paint color matches the rest of the car. If worst comes to worst contact your local Volvo parts dealer and they will be able to tell you the color code. It's on your car though and will be a 3 digit #.

Once you have this # look in your yellow pages for any shops that specialize in auto body paints and supplies. These places are not AutoZone, NAPA, etc. The most that you're going to get from those places is a spray can of white that resembles the car color and, in the end, will look like s*$t. Because the spoiler is such a big part of the front end of the 740 your probably going to want it to look just as nice as the rest of the car. Given that, get yourself a pint of base coat white and the necessary mixtures that will make up your clear coat. This may sound daunting but it's not hard.

[Tip from Brain Oliver] Here in Ottawa I can get spray cans custom mixed to match the colour code of the car. Very good paint and very easy to use, and no, it's not a big automotive department store that does this, it's a car paint store. Try "automobile body shop - equipment and supplies" in your yellow pages and choose one with hours that suggest they welcome the retail do-it-yourself customer.

[Nathaniel Continued] Once you talk to the boys at PPG you'll understand what I'm saying; they'll give you everything you need and will be able to answer your questions. [Editors Note: PPG is one brand, but you can find others including DuPont, Sikkens etc.]
No need for a fancy sprayer either. You should be able to purchase, at the paint store, a sprayer that has a glass bottle with measuring marks on it that also contains a canister of propellent. Once together, this spray painter works just like a spray can. The only difference is that you measure and mix the contents according to PPG's standards and blow on the paint. Once done painting, clean out the bottle and use the same glass bottle to mix the clear coat. BTW, buy a couple canisters of propellent

As far as prepping the spoiler . . . no need to pull it off the bumper. Just mask off the the spoiler from the rest of the bumper and car, clean the surfaces to be painted. Once clean sand to rough the surface, clean again, sand with a finer grit paper to smooth out any major imperfections, and clean again. Prime with a light colored primer, atleast 2 coats, and allow to dry

Blow on 2-3 coats of base paint then follow up with 2-3 coats of clear coat. Allow to cure, about 24 hours, before washing. Once the paint job is dry you will be able to drive the car. Total cost? Should run you no more than $60. Time involved? No more than 5 hours. Incidentally, you will not use all the paint you buy. Be sure to save what is left over for future touch-ups on the spoiler, the paint is not cheap.

Best of luck, it's not a tough job. Done correctly it'll add new life to the front end of your 740. But remember, the spoiler is plastic and is therefore flexible. The next curb you come against is likely to stress the paint job thereby creating cracks which will lead to future touch-ups. So watch out!!

Painting Black Bumpers. [Inquiry] Has anyone had any luck painting the bumpers on a 90 or newer-style black bumper? I saw a 740 with color-keyed bumpers the same color as my car and it looked awesome.

[Response: Ringlee/Herbst] It's done regularly. Diligent degreasing and dewaxing using commercial solvents and cleaners (3M makes a range of good products) is essential. Use abrasive cleanser (e.g., Comet) with a green kitchen scrub pad until the oxidized rubber stops coming off. Fill all the dings in using JB weld. Then use the wax & grease remover on the bumper. Spray the bumper with a can of plastic bumper prep: it's like a midcoat for paint on plastic bumpers, and helps to offset the effects of oils from the plastic working their way out and flaking the paint. Be prepared, it's not a cheap can... expect $30 or so for it, no kidding. Use a flex additive pre-mixed in the paint to keep it from cracking on the flexible bumper. Use good quality products and for a project like this, shop at an actual body supply/paint shop. That's where spending a few extra dollars for the materials pays off tenfold in having to re-do it in three months. And three months after that. And so on. When you have the color keyed paint mixed, specify that it is for a bumper and they'll mix it differently. To make the match correct you have to clearcoat it unless it's a flat color that is basecoat-only. Either that or make sure you specify single stage paint.

[Scott Cook] I painted my front bumper and found it much easier than I had thought, and the results looked much better than I had thought they would. I used DupliColor bumper paint, flat black, and their Adhesion Promoter (primer) that helps the paint stick better. Back in mid-March I painted a small patch on the front bumper with the DupliColor stuff to see how it would look and how it would hold up. Very good looks and no sign of fading, peeling, fish-eyeing, etc. It even withstood love-bug season here in Florida, with the attendant vigorous scrubbing, etc. daily at times. Masking took me more than 5 minutes, about 15 to 20 or so. On my 1991 745T, I took out the grille, and the trim panels under/inboard of the headlights. With that stuff off of the car you can easily mask off the stuff you want to keep clean and still paint far enough back that the paint covers the bumper all the way under the trim and grille when you replace them. If you are going to be thorough and paint the narrow back "end" of the bumper, where the bumper ends at the front bottom of the front wheel well, mask off the tire and wheel and, in any case, mask the wheel well at least half way back, just in case you have a spasm or something while you are spraying. Mask up well over the "top" of the areas you have masked. In other words, wrap the paper up over the top of the fenders and front of the car into the engine compartment. Position the paper and crease/fold/tape it so that you can spray to the very back edge of the bumper, under the headlights, turn/marker lights, and fenders. I chose to mask off the egg-crate grille under the bumper because it is originally a semi-glossy black on my car and was in good condition. Wanted to preserve the contrast. Wash, scrub and let the bumper **thoroughly** dry. Make sure everything around it is bone dry too. Water drops on wet paint will look awful. Pre-clean/prep with bug and tar remover, according to directions on the Adhesion Promoter can. And make sure you don't get trapped in a closed space with the fumes from that stuff. After inhaling too much Adhesion Promoter, I left the garage side door open while spraying paint and the variable breeze had no effect on the application of the paint.

[Garry Mawhinney] I kept all the trim on the car and just spent a lot of time with masking tape and newspapers. After careful prep work, I used a can of SEM Plastic/Leather Prep (part number 38353) then follow up with SEM Trim Paint (Charcoal Metallic part number 39033). They are both less than $10 per can at my local auto body supply shop. The difference is amazing and the key is prep work.

Roof Rack Repainting. [Inquiry] My black roof rack's paint has begun to peel. I'm looking for suggestions as to what paint I ought to use for repainting it. [Response: Chris Herbst] I'd just cover the roof and paint it with black epoxy paint (matte finish). That's what I use to match trim pieces. It gives a fantastic finish and lasts for a long time. In fact, only stone hits will really peel that stuff off, if you prep the surface right (all contaminants gone). Once it starts peeling, you're looking at more than a one-time repair. You'll probably be touching up once a year.

How to Remove Pinstripes from Paint. [Inquiry:] Can any one recommend the safe way to remove pinstriping from the side of my 760 GLE? [Response:] I've done this twice.
1. go to a detail shop (they'll use some type of a "turpentine" substance to remove it.
2. go to an industrial paint supply store and get a special pad that fits on the end of a drill. You can "blast it off" safely--never tried this.
3. buy some 3M Adhesive Remover and plastic "razor" blades; soak the tape and scape it off.
4. use a blow drier to heat it up and it'll peel off a lot easier.
5. use cleaner wax to get rid of any excess residue.

Depending on the age of the paint and the stripe, you might find a paint line where the tape was.

100K Badge Mounting. [Inquiry:] I sent off and just received my 100,000 mile badge from Volvo. It's a very nice looking badge with sticky tape for mounting it. My question is, where are these normally mounted, and how well do they stay when you mount them? My first thought is to mount it outside so that it's visible to drivers of lesser vehicles, but I don't know how well it would stay. If you've mounted one before please let me know where and how well it worked.

[Response:] I've got a 100 and 200K badge that I mounted to the grille of the car in the upper left hand corner (looking at the front of the car). Clean the grill with Windex or rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt/contaminants. Stick the badge squarely on the on firmly. I've had mine for a number of years and they're still solidly stuck, even through torrential southern thunderstorms and heat to a Northwest winter.

Rubber Trim Preservative. [Tip from Zee] For good rubber reconditioning (not mere cosmetic gloss) check into:
"Trim Re-Nu" by Auto Tech 1-800-545-8624
Silicone-free. Requires sun to activate it! Then it blocks UV damage. About $12-20 for a 8oz. bottle. Will treat two cars, because you use it sparingly. Should do great for under-hood rubber, too! Ask around at wholesale paint suppliers to the autobody trade. [Editor:] Try also 303 Aerospace Preservative at If you live in a cold area subject to freezing, try treating your door gaskets with silicone spray to keep them lubricated.

Clear Coat Failure. [Editor] Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that a variety of1980s/90s Volvos in 240/740/940 models with either grey or silver paint suffer from failures of the clear top coats. There is no remedy other than sanding and repainting.

Painting Your Own Car. [Editor] As with many things, preparation is 90% of the job: successive sanding and repair is labor intensive but yields a much better end result. Consider doing all this work yourself, then having a paint shop do the final spraying. For further information, visit:

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