How to Use a Car Paint Pen for a Professional Fix

January 27, 2012

If you need to repair your car’s paint job, you might think about getting a car paint pen. These are good tools for repairing minor scratches and tend to be easier for a beginner to use than a lot of other paint repair equipment. You need to understand the limitations of the device and use it properly to get the best effect, though.

The Right Tool for the Right Job

Understand that car paint pens are not intended for big repairs. They can do car paint touch up. You can use them to repair a car paint chip. If the scratch is half the size of a dime or larger, though, you’ll need to go with another option. So, evaluate the size of the scratch properly before purchasing your pen.

Get the Right Pen

You will want to get the pen that matches your paint color exactly. Different companies achieve this through different types of charts, but in general, if you have the year, make, model and color of your vehicle they should be able to match the color. You will also need to buy a clear coat pen for best results. If the paint is completely gone to bare metal you’ll need a primer pen, as well.

Clean the Area

Before you begin painting you need to clean the area, particularly removing any grease. A detergent can do this job, but you might want to get a wax and grease remover. Get it good and clean because any residue can cause problems with the final result.

Apply the Paint

The car paint pen essentially works like a marker. Depress the pen somewhere other than on the vehicle to start the flow of paint and then use it on the scratch. If the scratch is down to bare metal, then you will need to apply the primer first. You will also need to sand that primer coat smooth. When painting with the actual paint, several thin coats are preferred to one thick coat. Be sure to allow the paint to properly dry between coats. Before you apply the clear coat, make sure the base coat is smooth. A rubbing compound can be used to smooth it out, if necessary.


After the clear coat has dried you can use a rubbing compound to get a smooth finish on the paint job. Once you've done that, it would be a good idea to clean the whole car and polish it. That way the whole surface should have a relatively even finish.

Using paint pens for small scratches or to repair a car paint chip is a good option. Using the proper technique you can get results that will rival a more expensive professional repair. The learning curve isn't extremely steep and if you do all the necessary steps it will give you great results. Remember, though, that paint pens are not recommended for large dings on your car's finish. You'll have to use a different technique to properly repair those.

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