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Avoid the auto shop with these home repair kits

Face it. Your car isn’t getting any younger. You may not want to spend a fortune on a facelift, but what if you could give her a little nip and tuck for a fraction of the cost? Today’s DIY auto repair kits make it easy.

young with car

The company that brought us Post-it Notes and ScotchGard has taken its knowledge of abrasives, adhesives and films and developed a line of car care products that lets even those of us with no automotive skills tackle car repair projects with confidence. Each 3M Auto kit costs significantly less than taking your car to the repair shop, includes step-by-step instructions and can be done in your driveway. Here are some of our favorites:

Problem: Chipped, scratched or cracked windshield

Solution: 3M™ Windshield Repair Kit ($14)

This one-component windshield repair system will minimize the appearance of existing windshield damage and prevent it from further cracking. The 3M Windshield repair kit is specifically designed to minimize the appearance of small bull’s-eyes, spiderweb cracks and star damage.

How-to video:

Problem: Broken headlight or taillight

Solution: 3M™ High Strength Lens Repair Films ($10)

If you’d prefer not to replace an entire broken taillight, signal light or other damaged automotive lens, this kit delivers a semi-permanent solution. Simply cut out a “patch” of flexible film (red, amber or clear), peel off the adhesive backing, and stick it on the light, creating an immediate weatherproof and airtight seal. (If you can apply a sticker or label, you can ace this repair!)

Problem: Dented or rusted car body panels

Solution: Bondo Small Dent Repair Kit

Chances are you’ve either seen or taken on an indoor spackling and drywall project yourself. Pretty straightforward, right? Guess what. Repairing your car with Bondo Body Filler is basically the same process. Afraid to spackle your car? Don’t be. Bondo’s 4-step body repair process (prepare, repair, fill and finish) was specifically designed to eliminate the fear factor – and high costs – so you can take on auto bodywork like a pro.

How-to video:

Problem: Minor paint scratches

Solution: 3M Scratch and Scuff Removal Kit ($26 for drill version, $19 for no tools version)

Each kit includes step-by-step instructions and all the products you need to sand, buff and polish out minor scratches. Kits come in two versions: one that requires a standard household drill to mount sanding and buffing pads, and a “no tools” version for those of us who don’t want to get anywhere near our car’s paint with a power tool.

How-to video:

Quick Tip:

Want to protect your car from paint chips and scratches? Try 3M Paint Defender Spray Film. It sprays on, then dries to a protective film, giving your car instant protection from rocks, bugs, road debris and more.

More car care tips

How to take care of your car
7 Car care tips for women
How to properly wash your car

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