Do your worst -- it'll still look great

Ransom Riggs

Self-healing paint jobs: sounds like something straight from the fantasy worlds of Philip K. Dick or Knight Rider. Thanks to new innovations by Nissan, however, unscratchable paint maybe soon be coming to a car dealership near you. And this isn't one of those inventions that sounds future-tastic until you describe how it actually works. In fact, that's the cool part. According to the Times,

"Nissan's Scratch Guard Coat, made of a dense, highly elastic, urethane-based resin, behaves more like wet glue than dry paint: when nicked, it first absorbs the blow, then slowly flows back together to fill in the gap. The healing process is hurried along by the heat of the sun or, more expediently, warm water. Depending on the severity of the scratch, the surface will return to its original state overnight or by the end of a week."

So what's the catch? Well, the technology isn't perfect -- because the paint only goes so deep. Vandals intent on keying your car can still do so, if they push down hard enough to cut through the Scratch Guard and into the layers beneath. And if you run over the mailbox, I'm pretty sure Scratch Guard won't heal the dents in your fender. (Now that would be an innovation worthy of Knight Rider.) Still, it's a brave new world. Of car paint jobs.