HOW TO FIX AUTOMOBILE PAINT CHIPS - THE HARD WAY
I wrote the following instructions a few years ago for my book, How To Sell Your Car Fast.
Let’s face it, no matter where you drive, chips and scratches happen. Rocks and road debris can hit the hood and areas behind the wheels creating unsightly marks that turn into rust. Your kid cruises by with his/her bike in the garage and well… you know.
Whether you are fixing a scratch or chips, the task of purchasing touch up paint and other tools is the same.
Step One – Get touch-up paint
If you need to fill in stone chips along the hood or around the fender (or anywhere else you find them), you will need to get touch-up paint that exactly matches the color of your car.
Make sure you get the correct color because there are thousands of them and they look very similar until you put one on your car. Then UH OH! To be sure you get the right stuff you need the paint code. A paint code is a number assigned by the factory to the particular color paint on your car. This paint code is on a tag attached somewhere on the body of the car. Sometimes it is inside the doorjamb or in the glove box, or inside the engine compartment, or in the trunk under the carpet near the spare tire. If you can’t find it go to your auto parts store where you should find a book near the touch up paint display that shows a picture of where you’re cars paint code tag is located.
If you call the parts department of a new car dealer that sells your make of automobile and give them your VIN# (vehicle identification number), they will be able to order the paint for you even if you cannot find the paint code yourself.
At a dealer’s parts department, touch up paint is $8.50 or greater. If your car is 10 years old or more they will probably have to order the paint, so plan on waiting about a week or more to get it. Auto parts stores carry plenty of touch-up paints (usually from Dupli-Color or plastikote), and they usually carry colors for older cars. The cost is around $6.00-$7.00.
Step Two – Purchase a sanding block and paper
A small sanding block wrapped with 1500 or 2000 grit sandpaper is used to smooth out the touch-up paint after you have filled the stone chips. This is an optional step. Sanding blocks can be found at your local hardware store for about $3.50. A small block of wood will do also. Wet-or-dry sandpaper is about $2.00.
Step 3 - Fix the chips
Small nicks and chips can be repaired
by filling them in with a little touchup paint. With some work, the results can be outstanding! Be sure the temperature is above 60 and the area is clean and wax-free. Don’t ever use the brush that comes with the touch-up paint!! If you do, you can’t help but end up with large, ugly blobs of paint where you filled in the chip.
If you are hesitant about sanding, skip those steps and just put the paint into the chip. You will end up with a little bump, but it will look much better than the chip. Better yet, use this chip repair kit.
1. Get your #2 artist brush or round toothpicks, some 1500 or 2000 grit sandpaper, rubbing alcohol or a mild solution of Simple Green and small sanding block. We use wooden BBQ skewers instead of toothpicks because they are easier to handle and because they are longer and easier to dip inside the touch-up paint bottle.
A toothpick makes a good applier of touch-up paint, but we like a wooden BBQ skewer for better control
2. Clean the area around the chip with the alcohol or Simple Green (rinse if you used Simple Green).
3. Remove any rust in the chip with a pencil eraser
4. Clean the area again with the alcohol or Simple Green and rinse.
5. Shake the touch-up paint for a least a minute to be sure the paint is mixed well.
6. Dip the tip of the toothpick into the paint. Don’t get a big blob, just a little paint will do.
7. Don’t forget to check for a color match on an inconspicuous area of the car like the inside of the hood or trunk
8. Touch the tip of the toothpick to the center of the chip. The paint will run down and begin filling the chip. Let dry for an hour, then blow dry with a hair dryer for a half minute or so.
9. Repeat the previous step until the chip is filled just above the surface.
10.When the final application of paint is completely dry, sand the area with the wet sanding block (dipped in a bucket of water) in one direction only, no circles, until flat. Do not sand too much or you will sand off the clear-coat! Sand a little, wipe off and check several times. NOTE: Do not do this step unless you are experienced or are willing to spend a few hours sanding, buffing and polishing until the surface is restored to its normal shine.
11. Run your finger over the chip. If you can feel a bump it still needs work.
12. Use your scratch remover or cleaner/wax to bring back the shine (This step may take several applications). After that, go to the wax step discussed later in this book.
TIP1: Store touch up paint upside down to keep the paint from drying out.
- To learn how to touch up you car the easy way click here
Also see How to fix paint scratches