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How to Remove the Tape Line for Auto Paint

Updated April 17, 2017

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.

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

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

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

  6. Warning

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

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Things You'll Need

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

About the Author

Teri Olcott

Residing in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, Teri Olcott began her writing career in 1992 as a small-town newspaper reporter. In 1998, Olcott entered the technical writing field. Her articles have appeared in “Radiant Press” magazine and “Epoch” magazine. Olcott holds an Associate of Science in radiologic technology from SUNY Binghamton.

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