Have you ever heard that country song about a woman who destroys her cheating boyfriend’s car? The man may have deserved it, but many car lovers cringed when thinking about that vehicle’s paint job.
Fortunately, whether you’re a bad guy or you’ve just had bad luck, there’s a better way to get your car looking good as new after it has suffered a paint chip or a deep scratch. In this guide to paint chip repair kits, we’ve hunted down some of the best products and deals for fixing chips and scratches in your own garage.
The Best Car Paint Chip Repair Kits
When you break it down, the most important question concerning car paint repair is: “How soon and how effectively will it let me stop thinking about my car’s paint?” Buffing out scratches and chips is not particularly entertaining, and no product gets the problem solved like Carfidant.
We’ve chosen it as our superior paint repair choice because of its ability to resolve a wide variety of issues, including scratches, scuffs, and swirls, so cleanly that it looks like they were never there. The sponge works wonderfully, making this a perfect finisher for newly applied paint.
- Universal car paint restorer
- Comes with a buffing sponge
- Paint not included
- 100-percent satisfaction guarantee
- Brand Carfidant
- Model Ultimate
- Weight 9.6 ounces
Renders painted-over chips invisible
One bottle lasts for many uses
Not a complete repair kit
Might need to be reapplied following treatment
Somewhat high price
This small touch-up pen is packed with far more features than its size and price suggest. It’s four different applicators in one, including a fine pen tip, coarse brush tip, clear coat tip, and sanding stone tip.
It also comes with small amounts of your selected paint and clear coat, so as long as you have alcohol to clean the surface in advance, this might be the only tool you need to make a medium-sized chip disappear.
- Pen-sized paint repair tool
- Includes four attachments: pen tip, coarse tip, sanding stone, and clear coat applicator
- Comes with paint and clear coat
- Brand ACDelco
- Model Touch Up Pen
- Weight 1.6 ounces
Nearly a complete chip repair kit in a single pen
Includes all necessary consumables except cleaning solution
Brush head leaves paint streaks
Clear coat sometimes leaks
Only small amounts of clear coat and paint
Langka’s paint chip repair kit includes three of its professional repair products, plus a cloth, three microbrushes, and a card for removing excess paint. The core products are Langka-brand prepaint treatment, paint sealant, and Blob Eliminator, which is basically paint thinner with a better user interface.
This kit is more expensive than some of its rivals but is still much less than you’d pay a mechanic, especially given that even inexperienced users can make chip repairs look incredibly professional just by following the instructions.
- Full paint chip repair kit
- Includes prepaint, sealant, blob remover
- Ships with cloth and brush applicators
- Brand Langka
- Model Complete
- Weight 8 ounces
Treatment, sealant, and paint remover work very well
Finished repairs look like new
Chips can be fixed quickly
Plastic card is brittle
Paint not included
Brush applicator takes some skill to use
A lot like Carfidant’s scratch remover, this treatment from well-known buffing brand Turtle Wax is great for smoothing out imperfections during the chip repair process. Instead of a complete kit, this is a two-piece product with a tube of buffing wax and a microfiber towel.
Just a small amount of Turtle Wax goes a long way toward smoothing out scratches, swirls, and the edges of painted chips. It’s a really intuitive product and is made all the more valuable for the durable protective coat it establishes over your resealed paint.
- Tube of buffing wax
- Microfiber towel included
- Removes swirls, scratches, and other imperfections
- Brand Turtle Wax
- Model Scratch Repair & Renew
- Weight 7 ounces
Sealant protects newly repaired paint
Works well on repainted medium-depth chips
Restores glossy finish
Not a complete chip repair kit
Can be hard to remove
Doesn’t remove oxidation
Color N Drive’s touch-up paint kit is one of the two most complete kits on our list. Every unit ships with color-coded paint, cleaning solution, wax, paste, brushes, towels, and a sponge. Make sure you’re buying the one with the color that matches your vehicle’s color code.
We love these kits for how easy they make it to complete a professional-looking touch-up job. The wealth of accessories makes all the difference, and it’s a good feeling to know that you’re performing every task with the tool best suited for it. The inclusion of the paint is also great.
- Available in three sizes
- Includes wax, paste, and cleaning solution
- Tools include towels, brushes, and sponge
- Ships with paint of your car’s color
- Brand Color N Drive
- Model Touch Up Paint
- Weight Variable
Most complete chip repair kit available
Great for larger stone chips
Not all colors consistently available
Colors can take on the wrong shade as they wear
Requires follow-up treatments
Paint2Fix is not quite as extensive a repair kit as Color N Drive’s, but a couple things set it apart. It creates its paint in-house, and its color match guarantee offers peace of mind that as long as you’re ordering the right kit (the linked page is for a Toyota RAV4, but there are kits for many other models), the paint will match.
We also really like how the kit is set up with everything clearly labeled and easily within reach. We’d have preferred it to be a bit more complete, and the lack of a sealant is a disappointing oversight. In general, Paint2Fix’s products are solid options for avoiding high fees at a garage.
- Complete repair kit
- Includes paint, brush applicators, blending solution, gloves, and a sponge
- Three paint sizes: 25ml, 40ml, 75ml
- Brand Paint2Fix
- Model Touch Up Paint
- Weight 1.1 pounds
Color match guarantee
Easy to unbox and use
Works on chips and scratches
Doesn’t include a sealant
Purpose of blending solution isn’t obvious
Best Car Paint Chip Repair Kit Buying Guide
Cars aren’t painted just to make them look appealing. Coats of paint serve a vital protective purpose, keeping your car safe from corrosion, road debris, UV light damage, warping from heat differentials, and plenty of other attacks from the elements. Paint also covers the dings that naturally appear as a car is being manufactured in the factory.
That’s why it’s so upsetting when chips and scratches appear in your car’s paint. Even worse, getting even minor chips repaired can cost a minimum of $150 at your local garage. What’s the solution? Fix the paint yourself, with the help of a paint chip repair kit.
Do You Need a Paint Chip Repair Kit?
If you’ve never painted a car before or seen one painted in the factory, then trust us. It’s a lot more complicated than repainting your kitchen. Auto paint jobs are made up of base coats, clear coats, primer, and sometimes more layers, and need to be executed with the proper chemicals to protect your vehicle while minimizing environmental harm.
Paint chip repair kits are easily the best way to deal with that complexity in your own garage. They’re specially formulated to fix chips, scratches, and swirls as closely as possible to match how your car was first painted in the factory. They have other benefits too:
- Save money. Buffs and cosmetic repairs are some of the most common overcharges you’ll find at a garage. Most kits cost a third or less of what you’d pay a mechanic and can fix the problem in less time.
- Instruction and guidance. On one hand, you could just get paint from your dealership and work it out yourself. But using an established kit, with instructions and included tools, leaves much less room for error.
- Get your car back to normal. Let’s face it, paint chips are the worst. You can’t look at them without wishing they’d just go away. Paint chip repair kits are the best way to make that happen.
Popular Types of Paint Chip Repair Kits
All paint chip repair solutions aim to get your paint back to normal but go about it in different ways. One big distinction is whether or not the kit includes paint. Sometimes paint will come with it; other times, the kit gives you everything else you need except the paint itself.
No matter which you choose, don’t assume you’ll be getting the actual colored coat you need. Luckily, you can find that at your dealership or elsewhere without much hassle.
- Touch-Up Pens
Have you ever used a detergent pen to get a stain out of a shirt? This is the same idea. These applicators let you precisely direct where your touch-up paint goes. They’re better for smaller chips, scratches, or damage located on a hard-to-reach part of your car’s body.
Touch-up pens are great for precision, but using them for chip repair takes a lot longer. Basically you’re coloring with a Sharpie instead of a paintbrush. Pens also have the advantage of the paint drying and sealing more quickly, since there’s less of it.
- Touch-Up Brushes
Brushes can cover more area with paint or sealant at the cost of precision. They can look like anything from Q-tips and nail brushes to standard paintbrushes and are much better at covering up larger chips.
Brush-tip applicators sometimes come with dealer-provided paint bottles, so they’re a popular beginner choice. Note that even if your bottle comes with a brush, a chip repair kit might contain a wider, more versatile variety of brush-head applicators.
- Full Kits
The most complete solutions come in larger boxes. Full chip repair kits often come with paint included, so providers will sell them as a huge range of products for each type and color of paint an automaker might use. In other words, if you see a wall of repair kits on Amazon that all look the same, chances are they are the same except for the paint color.
Common tools in full chip repair kits are applicators, buffer sponges, cloths, prepaint, paint sealant, excess paint remover, cleaning solution, wax, and paste. You can find the right one for your paint job using your vehicle’s OEM color code.
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Features to Look for in Paint Chip Repair Kits
When buying a paint chip repair kit, start by assessing exactly what you need. Have you done anything like this before? Does the damage seem surface level, or is it all the way down to the metal? What’s your budget, and will you save more money by buying the paint separately or having it bundled with the kit?
Check every product against the following three criteria:
- User Friendly
Clear and concise instructions are vital when it comes to user friendliness. Paint chip repair isn’t the kind of job everyone is used to doing, and while it’s not overly complicated, it does require precision.
Do not buy a product that doesn’t come with clear, manufacturer-provided instructions. If not physically included, step-by-step instructions should at least be readily available online. If you have to get subjective opinions on YouTube, look for a different kit.
Also examine the tools themselves, which should be intuitive and comfortable to use at home.
The last thing you want is a cloth that’s too thin, a sponge that’s falling apart, or sealant that leaks everywhere when you open the bottle.
This refers to safety for yourself, others, and the environment. While auto paint has made great strides in chemical safety over the years, it’s still important to use it in a well-ventilated area, keep it out of reach of children and pets, and dispose of it properly without just pouring it down the sink or toilet.
Enamels and urethanes are the proper chemicals for car paints and do not pollute. There are a lot of different types of paint based on these two resins, so check the label to make sure the kit you’re buying is derived from one of the two.
Car paint repair jobs can range from buffing out unsightly swirls to filling in whole chipped-away regions with metal appearing underneath. Each scale requires different tools. While some scratches can be covered up in a few minutes with one bottle of paint and a pen, others require layers of treatment to whole sections of your car.
Generally, the larger the tools, the bigger an area a repair kit is prepared to treat. Pens and brushes are for scratches and minor chips; large sponges and cloths are for major chips.
If your vehicle has accumulated years of paint damage, it’s possible that a repair kit won’t be enough and you’ll just have to get the whole panel replaced. Fix your paint damage before it gets to this point.
Tips for Buying and Using Paint Chip Repair Kits
The first step in finding the right paint chip repair kit is to determine your car’s factory paint code. These are three to six characters long and will always be listed somewhere on the car. The three most common places to find them are next to the VIN in the corner of the windshield, in the glove compartment, or on the driver-side door jamb.
Once you’ve procured your chosen kit and the proper paint, remember the proper order for applying materials: Apply the prepaint, primer, paint, and clear coat. Between each application, let the coat dry, and then soak a piece of sandpaper in soapy water and gently wet sand the layer.
- If you can’t find your paint code in any of the usual places, look up your car’s info online.
- The prepaint materials that come with a kit remove grit and moisture that might stop the paint from sealing properly.
- You don’t always need paint to fix a smaller scratch. Sometimes just buffing with wax will do the trick.
Best Paint Chip Repair Kits FAQs
A common question we get about paint chip repair is: What’s enough for the level of damage? The general rule is that the deeper the chip or scratch, the more ingredients and tools you’ll need to cover it up. We can’t stress this enough: Fix chips and scratches when you first see them, or they’ll get deeper and take more work to repair. See some other frequently asked questions below.
Q: Where can I find my car’s paint code?
Check the glove box, driver-side door jamb, and windshield. If it’s not in any of these three places, look up your model and year online.
Q: What’s the proper order to apply paint layers?
After cleaning and drying the chip, apply primer, touch-up paint, and then clear coat. Let each layer dry, and then wet-sand it before applying the next layer.
Q: How can I remove excess paint from the repair process?
If repairing a chip leaves blobs on your car, paint thinner is the best way to get them off. We recommend applying it after it’s dried rather than trying to wipe wet paint away.
Our Top Pick
We’ve selected the Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover as our top pick for paint chip repairs. While it’s not a complete kit and doesn’t include paint, it’s easily the best-performing finisher, making it a forgiving choice for drivers who’ve never done paint repair. Once you find the right paint for your car, Carfidant will make your fix invisible.