Repairing Paint Chips

The repair procedure of a scratch and chip are pretty much the same. A scratch is actually a chip that is moving in one direction. Although both can be repaired, the scratch takes more time than a chip to blend in with the new paint.

Items you will need:

• Touchup or colour matched paint
• Compatible primer – I like Wurth Rustop primer
• Organic cleaner – P21S Total Auto Wash or Wurth Citrus Degreaser
• Solvent – Rubbing Alcohol or Prepsol or Enamel Reducer
• 3M Imperial Hand Glaze
• Sanding Block 2000 grit
• Car wash
• 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper
• Round undyed wooden toothpicks
• Large lightweight cardboard boxes (large shoe box or bigger)
• Several 100% cotton towels
• New Pencils with unused erasers
• Rubber glue
• Several heavy clean plastic cups
• Roll of quality paint masking tape

If you are new to paint chip repairing, we recommend you start with areas of the car which is not so visible. Try different solvents on the paint, apply it a little to a piece of cloth and rub the seam. If any colour latches on to the cloth; it means the solvent is unsafe and you may want to switch to another one. If no colour sticks to the cloth, then the solvent is safe to use.

1. At least 24 hours before you want to start, use the rubber glue to attach small 600 grit sandpaper circles (the diameter of the eraser) onto several new pencils. The eraser must be unused and flat on top.

2. Wash the car with a quality car wash and dry thoroughly.

3. There are two types of paint chips. The most annoying one is the paint chip which exposes the metal beneath the paint while the other does not go so deep. If some rust is found on the metal it needs to be taken care of by a pencil eraser. If you are uncomfortable with this step then move to step 5. The roughed up area should be kept as small as possible to allow the old paint to grab around the perimeter and not cause scratches.

4. Now follow step 3 for the next chip or chips. You can manage to deal with 10-20 chips if time permits.

5. Once all the selected chips are dealt with, one should consider applying a little amount of alcohol or enamel reducer to each chip to remove any dust or grease/oils. Let it dry, it will not take much longer because of the volatility of the substance.

6. If the primer is unharmed and sanding does not damage the paint, then skip the next step and go directly to step 9.

7. Check that the chip is clean and so is the surrounding area. If in any case they are not, use alcohol or enamel reducer to clean it. Dip the point of a wooden toothpick into the primer to get a thin coating on the first 1-2 mm of the toothpick. If there is a blob on the end, gently scrape it back into the cup. Place the tip of the toothpick against the centre of the chip and allow capillary action to literally flow a thin coat of the primer into the depression of the chip. Move onto the next prepared chip. If you have finished priming all your prepared chips before two hours are up, cover with a box, taped down with masking tape and go have a beer. The key is to allow the first coat of primer to dry at least two hours. Dispose of your cup and start with a fresh cup and toothpick. Apply another thin coat of primer to each repair that needs a primer. Priming is completed when no metal is visible and the level of the primer is below the level of the surrounding paint. This is important! Cover and allow drying for two hours or until dry.

8. Once all the selected chips are dealt with, one should consider applying a little amount of alcohol or enamel reducer to each chip to remove any dust or grease/oils. Let it dry, it will not take much longer because of the volatility of the substance.

9. Shake the bottle properly if you are using touch up. In case you opted for colour-matched paint then mix thoroughly and pour a small quantity into a plastic cup.

10. Submerge a toothpick in the paint in such a way that you get a thin coat on the initial 1-2 mm of the toothpick. If a blob appears, remove it by gently scraping it back into the bottle. Just place the toothpick at the centre and then let capillary action do the trick. Do this for every chip, the technique is not to waste any paint. There will always be an urge to apply more paint, try to ignore that feeling.

11. Let it dry off for 2 hours covering it with the paint box and repeat 8-12 times until the depression is filled with paint. Be careful as the first 2-3 coats will not totally cover the primer, do not get frustrated you have many coats to go.

12. The application process is finished after the new paint bulges slightly upward and covers the rough area with a sleek coat of new paint. Let the paint dry for at the last week.

13. After a week of drying off, the paint will look like a mound on a flat plane. The aim is to remove the mound and attain a flat plane on the paint. Using the finesse block is much more helpful than sandpaper or polish on a rag.

14. Soak the Finesse block in clean water for at least 24 hours before using. Add a drop of a car wash on the chip repairs so that they are lubricated. Start to gently plane the mound and once done clean the area with lots of water to give it its finished look.

15. Apply wax or glaze with the help of soft cloth or applicator pad. Try to work in one direction and do not go in circles in order to avoid swirl marks.