How to Remove the Tape Line for Auto Paint

Written by teri olcott
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A new paint job can greatly improve the look of a car or truck. When areas of the vehicle are masked off to prevent paint from getting on certain surfaces, a raised tape line can result when the masking material is removed. This tape line is the result of the new layer of paint which has dried at the edge of the tape. To blend in the new paint and remove the tape line, you will need to colour sand and buff the line.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1,200-, 1,500- and 2,000-grit sandpaper
  • Automotive sanding pad
  • Spray bottle
  • Polishing compound
  • Automotive paint buffer
  • Shop rag

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  1. 1

    Make sure the area around the tape line is clean. Dirt on the paint will scratch the paint when sanding it.

  2. 2

    Soak a piece of 1,200-grit sandpaper in clean water. Place the sandpaper on an automotive paint sanding pad. Colour sand the area along the tape line. Use gentle pressure and sand in one direction. Do not sand in circles. If the paper beings to dry, spray the area with water from a spray bottle. As the tape line begins to disappear, switch to 1,500-grit sandpaper. Use your fingers to feel the raised area of the tape line. Once the line is gone, do a final sanding using 2,000-grit sandpaper.

  3. 3

    Place a small amount of polishing compound onto a clean shop rag and apply it to the sanded area. Turn the automotive buffer on its lowest setting and lightly buff the sanded area. Use a circular motion to remove any sanding marks.

  4. 4

    Put a clean pad on the buffer and rebuff the area to remove the polishing compound.

  5. 5

    Use a clean, dry shop rag and wipe down the polished area. This will remove any residual polishing compound from the paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Pressing too hard on a paint buffer can damage the vehicle's paint.

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