Do you have paint chips on your car? Those tiny stones landing on your hood, fenders, and roof when traveling at high speed do minor cosmetic damage, build up over time, and can ruin your vehicle’s aesthetics. Fortunately, it’s easy to handle this problem. Follow this guide on how to repair paint chips on a car and restore its cosmetic appeal.
How to Repair Paint Chips on a Car
Understanding Catalyzed Paint
Manufacturers use catalyzed paint when spraying your vehicle on the production line. They mix the color at the factory with a specialized hardener to increase its service life and chip resistance. Touch-up paint isn’t catalyzed and is much softer.
Using the bottle of touch-up paint on your car means the new paint will age differently and heat faster than the surrounding catalyzed paint when polishing and buffing the vehicle.
The older your vehicle is, the harder it is to match the touch-up paint to the car’s current color. The paint job fades over time, and even if you have a bottle of touch-up paint from a prior repair job, it might not match the current paintwork on the vehicle, standing out from the original paint job.
It’s even more challenging to match metallic paintwork. The aluminum in metallic paints changes the look of the color, making it harder to match. Paint typically darkens as it dries, so you won’t see if it matches until it dries and cures.
Single Stage Versus Clear Coat
It’s important to note that single-stage paint and clear coat have different looks. To determine the type of paint on your car, carefully use 2,000-grit water paper (sandpaper used in wet sanding applications) to an out-of-view area on the vehicle, such as the inside of the truck.
Wet the water paper and lightly sand the area. If the paint residue turns a milky color, it’s a clear coat. If you notice the residue is a paint color, it’s single-stage.
Prep the Repair Area
Start with washing and drying the car with soap and water. If the chip is all the way to the bare metal, apply a spot of primer to the repair area to give the touch-up paint something to adhere to. If it only penetrated as far as the primer layer, gently scuff the area using some 2,000-grit water paper pulled over a Q-tip.
We recommend you use a fine artist’s paintbrush, available online from a stationary retailer, to apply a small amount of paint. Applying a small amount fills the chip effectively without running. Ensure you give it sufficient time to cure, usually 48 hours. We recommend letting the paint cure in the shade, and out of direct sunlight.
How to Repair Paint Chips on a Car – Final Tip
Finish the job by polishing and buffing the car. Pay special attention to the repaired area. The heat of an electric buffing machine can heat non-catalyzed paint, discoloring it quickly. We recommend hand compounding and polishing on air-dried repairs to avoid discoloration.
Additional Information: Do Car Washes Damage Paint?
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