Paint chips look ugly and can ruin all the efforts you have put towards maintaining your car. Besides spoiling the looks, they also increase the possibility for rust formation.

But don’t blame yourself too much for it because it happens to everyone! It can happen due to a bumper scrape, when your car has been egged by another driver, when a few small gravel and rock pieces from the roadside hit your car or for just due to any small minor accidents.

You might wonder why should you even fix paint chips on your car, especially when the car is eventually going to rust. But, these paint chips affect the looks of your car and may even accelerate the rusting process. Though the salt content used for laying roads has reduced drastically over the years and the quality of paint has improved greatly, still there is a possibility of rust. That said, the process of rusting increases greatly if you live close to the coast. The salty air corrodes your car quicker, so fixing even the smallest of paint chips can help to extend the life of your car.

Fixing paint chips on your car is most essential if you plan to resell your car at the end of your mortgage.

Now that you know the importance of fixing paint chips on your car, let’s see how you can do it. Please note that this process is for fresh paint chips that haven’t started to rust yet. If you have rusted areas on your hand, the fixing processing is more elaborate.

Process of Fixing Paint Chips

  • Clean the chips

The first step is to clean the paint chips thoroughly, so you can start working on them. Clean it with some soap and water and dry it gently with a soft cotton cloth.

If there are any ragged edges around the paint chip, consider using some automotive polishing component over the paint chips to soften them. This should take only a few minutes. Make sure you don’t over rub the edges and the paint chipped areas, as this can create a mess around it.

  • Clean with alcohol

Next, buy some denatured alcohol. Put a few drops on a cotton cloth and gently wipe down the affected area. Make sure never to flood the entire place with alcohol. Just a few wipes with a soft cloth should do the job for you. This alcohol will remove any existing grime or dirt from the chipped area.

  • Touch-up paints

Once the area is cleaned thoroughly, you can touch up that area with paints. Most auto parts store will have touch-up paints, and you can even buy them online. Look for paints that are designed for your car make and model, and pick the factory color of your car.

This factory color will be in the form of a code, so if you’re not sure, look for it on your vehicle identification plate. This plate will be located either under the hood near the radiator shield or on the jamb of driver’s door.  Look through the car manual to see where this identification will be present in your car make and model. Another option is to call your car dealer to know this identification.

Once you identify the number, buy a paint of the same color. It is a good idea to buy it from the same dealer from whom you bought your car because dealers will tend to carry paints of the models and colors of cars they sell. Along with this paint, also make sure to get a small can of auto primer.

You can even look for spray paints of the same color and gently spray it in that area.

Once you have everything you want, gently pour a little bit of the paint, preferably using a spray and spread it using a simple artist’s brush. Allow it to dry and put another coat of paint if you need. Once all your paint has dried, apply an auto primer for a shiny finish.

After finishing this touch-up work, your car is all set to use again. But here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind, so your car paint lasts for a long time.

Do’s and Don’ts

These tips should give a long life to your car paint and can make your car look like new for many years.

  • Sanding down

There are a few articles on the Internet that ask you to sand down your car paint before applying touch up paint. This is never a good idea for many reasons.

The first reason is you need the edges of the paint chips in place because that is what will hold the new touch-up paint in place. It kind of acts like a bucket that will keep the paint together. If the surface is too smooth because of your sanding process, the touch-up paint will not sit because this paint is too thin by itself.

Another reason to avoid sanding is that it can damage the paint around the chipped area, which in turn, means you’ll have to fix even those places that had no damage!

In addition, sanding is a fine process that should be left to professionals with years of experience in this line of work.

  • Taping

Another commonly suggested practice is taping, and this is also not recommended. In this practice, the damaged area is taped down with painters tape and the enclosed area is filled with paints. After completing the painting job, the tape is peeled out.

The painted place looks different and it is somewhat a ridiculous idea to do it this way. First off, the touch-up paint is too thick to be held down by tapes, so any difference in paint depth stands out. This makes the entire place look patchy and uneven. In fact, if you try this method, the painted area will look obvious. You’ll expose the area that you wanted to cover!

  • Touch-up kits

Today, it is common to find dealers selling touch-up kits to fix paint chips on your car. You don’t really need this entire kit because all that you really need is just the touch-up paint. Also, the clear coat touch-up paint that comes as a part of these kits are not very effective.

This is because clear coats are thick, and it is not easy to paint them with a brush. The best way to do them is with the help of a sprayer, but then you don’t need a clear coat paint for small areas. It makes sense to go for this option if you want to paint large parts of your car’s exterior. Otherwise, it may be too much for small areas.

  • Scrub pads

Some people and even sites recommend using a kitchen scrubber pad to remove the clean something in your car’s exterior, typically, bird poop. This is the worst thing you can ever do because when you scratch dried poop, you will only get more scratch marks on your car paint. It really won’t help in any way. Likewise, scratching off dirt with your fingernails is also not acceptable for the same reason.

Remember, your car paint is sensitive and scratches easily. So, avoid using anything that is abrasive like your scrubber pad, fingernails or just about anything sharp. It is sure to ruin your car’s paint and that too, across an extensive area. You may end up spending way more time and money than you had planned.

If you had done either of these in the past, never make an attempt to fix them by yourself. This is because the bird poop or any other item on your surface will be long gone, but the fingernail and scrub scratches will be visible. You cannot touch them up with a paint.

The best way to fix these scratches is by using fine sandpaper and wet spray, but again, leave this job to professionals.

  • Bird poop

As soon as you see a bird poop on your car, the first thing you’ll do is get it off. It’s a natural instinct for every car owner, and that’s good too!

The earlier you get the bird poop off your exterior, the lesser impact it will have on your paint surface. It is best to take it out when wet because when it dries, the acid in the poop combines with your car paint to leave permanent marks on the surface.

It is best you try to get them off within a day at the most.

Take Care of Your Paint

Finally, understand that your car paint is extremely sensitive, even for some of the smallest actions you do such as placing your grocery bags on the trunk while searching for your key. What happens is that all of this causes mild scratches on the surface. Though they are not visible right away, outside temperatures, dust, and dirt will make them eventually visible.

So, keep these aspects in mind while fixing your car paint.

Related Post: Best Car Body Fillers


  1. How to Repair Car Paint Chips – wikiHow
  2. How to Repair Chips in Your Car’s Paint Job – ThoughtCo


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