The other morning I decided to head out for an early session at the gym.
My Suzuki Swift Sport was parked in the garage, and my wife’s Subaru Legacy was out on the driveway. Not wanting to wake everyone up with the loud noise of the garage door opening, I opted to take her Legacy out instead (also saving me the hassle of swapping cars over).
As I was getting into the car, I noticed some considerate citizen had put a nice big swipe down the side of the Legacy:
Nothing starts your morning off better than discovering a bunch of new scrapes and paint transfer on the side of your car.
I asked my wife, who informed me she had parked the car on a very narrow street near her work where you have to parallel park; the damage had all the signs of someone having tried a parallel parking manoeuvre, and having misjudged their approach somewhat.
Now the Legacy – being an older model, and having seen more action than a GoPro attached to a professional skydiver, is not worth particularly much.
It’s a great car (probably the best car I’ve ever purchased when you take a holistic view of performance, economy, practicality and reliability – read more here in my Legacy review) but there’s not much point in blowing an insurance excess on a car that isn’t worth much, nor did I fancy the thought of paying hundreds of dollars for a cash repair. As you’d expect, the at-fault party never bothered to stop and leave any information for insurance purposes.
I decided to have a go at seeing what I could achieve with a basic DIY repair job. I didn’t want to spend too long and exert too much effort, but I figured a decent polish/cutting compound would be able to make some improvement.
As luck would have it, a family member had just purchased some “RE-PO” cream polish by CRC, and when I saw them later that day and mentioned the damage they suggested I give it a try.
CRC RE-PO cream polish is a cheap product. It costs around $15-20 NZD, depending on where you’re buying it. However, I think my family member got it even cheaper on a clearance special. It’s great value and you get a generous 250 gram tin, which should last ages.
I’m not going to bore you with too many more details. Instead, I’ll show you some before and after pictures of the panel in question. I didn’t even bother with any prep work (as I was in a hurry) and simply hand applied using a foam applicator and buffed off with a clean microfibre towel. I believe you could use a DA/orbital for a more effective finish, but “ain’t nobody got time for that”.
The results speak for themselves:
Although there are some imperfections left by the accident that won’t be fixable with any polish or cutting compound (if you look at where the yellow cloth is in the reflection off the car’s bodywork, you can see some rippling by the wheel arch) I’m genuinely impressed with the finished product.
From a distance, you simply cannot tell there has been any damage (unless you line your eye down the panel work where you can see some slight dents/ripples) – the paint looks good.
I also tried it on the doorhandles of the car, which are riddled with scratches. Once again, CRC RE-PO cream polish did a superb job here.
For such an inexpensive product – especially compared to some of the “name brands” like Meguiars and Chemical Guys – I couldn’t be more impressed.
The only thing I don’t like is that it has a strong odour. It has a horrible solvent smell; truly nasty stuff. I made the mistake of washing the buffing towel in my washing machine afterwards, and the machine drum still stinks like the polish several wash cycles later. I wouldn’t want to use this in a non-ventilated area.