How to Properly Apply Car Touch Up Paint

January 27, 2012

Repairing paint chips and scratches is fairly easy with the use of car touch up paint. That being said there are several techniques, hints and tips that you may find useful in order to ensure you improve the look of you car while repairing it. Touch up paint can be found in a variety of places including auto parts stores, auto dealers and dozens of places on the internet. It comes in several forms, such as small bottles that you must dip into, spray paint and car paint pens that you just color onto your car like a marker. If you are nervous about applying paint you can test this process out on a hidden area of your vehicle to make sure you have the technique down before moving on to more obvious areas of the car. Here’s how you do it.

Step One: Get the Right Color

Before rushing headlong into the process of repairing a paint chip or scratch you should consult your local dealership to ensure you know exactly what color and shade of paint you need. There are dozens of shades of black and white and every color in between. Each specific dealership uses their own specific formulas and colors and Ford’s red will not be Chrysler’s red.

Step Two: Find all the Scratches and Scuffs

Next go over your entire car and determine what areas need to be repaired. This is best done after the vehicle has been washed and completely dried. You may be shocked to discover just how many areas will need to be painted or repaired.

Step Three: Prep Work

Prior to painting any portion of your exterior you will need to do a bit of prep work to ensure that the finish looks good and lasts a long time. If you haven’t washed your car you should do so now. Make sure the vehicle is completely clean and dry before moving on. With the car washed you can now begin to sand the problem areas. You can buy special sandpaper designed for automobiles and should use that when performing this step. Carefully sand the area you will be painting, making sure you don’t do more than you have too. For small areas you can buy a specially designed sandpaper holder that holds the sandpaper, allowing you to sand extremely small areas, this is called a “nick sander”.

Step Four: Begin the Finish

Apply a layer of clear coat. This is a base (similar to a primer) that you can purchase at the time you buy your paint. It is designed as a base to the paint. This step is more important for larger repairs than small nicks and scratches. When doing this step you should follow the directions on the bottle or can on how to apply to this clear coat, as each one may vary from the others, sometimes drastically so.

Step Five: Paint

Begin to apply the paint, per the instructions on the pen, bottle or spray can. This step should be fairly simple and quick. If you are using a spray can it is always best to use smooth, straight and even spray patterns in a back and forth motion overlapping the spray as you move. It may take multiple coats, no matter what method you are using. If this is the case be patient and allow the paint to thoroughly dry prior to applying second, and subsequent, coats of paint.

Step Six: Wax

Once the paint is finally dry apply a thin coat of wax and buff the vehicle and you should be finished.


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