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Stone Chips? Fix Chipped Paint Immediately

  • Tips/Guides-Tips/Guides

The paint on your car serves a much higher purpose than simple aesthetic appeal. It’s the first line of defense against the metal body rusting. Common causes that contribute to paint chips vary between natural environmental factors and those caused by humans. Weather, bird droppings, poor quality paint, and the one cause we know all too well: small flying stones or gravel.

Car detailing – polishing exterior car paintwork

Environmental causes take place over a long period of time by weakening the paint structure. It’s the stone chips that you should take immediate action on before they turn into a much bigger problem.

Follow these repair methods only for chips that have not ballooned into a rusty affair. Typically caused by small stones which expose the primer and metal underneath the paint, you can easily repair these chips yourself.

Two chipped paint repair methods

The first method is a common go-to for first time DIY-ers, but the second method arguably achieves a better result. However, depending on your level of experience and confidence, choose the method that suits you best.

Tip:

If there are several chips on the paintwork, you might want to repair all of them in one go.

Park in the shade, gather your tools, and let’s do it!

Method 1

Consumables

  • Car shampoo
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Automotive polishing compound
  • Primer and a matchstick
  • Auto body touch-up paint

Method

  1. Wash and clean the car to decontaminate the paintwork, dry, then mark around each chip with a wax pen if applicable.
  2. Rub a small amount of polishing compound and gently swirl over the chip to achieve a smooth finish.
  3. Clean and prep the sanded area using denatured alcohol to remove any wax or remaining grime.
  4. Fill the chipped area with a small amount of primer using the end of a matchstick. Let dry completely for approximately an hour depending on the ambient temperature.
  5. Brush over the primer with auto-body touch up paint. Let dry and apply a second coat.
  6. Cure for several days then feather the edges very gently with a polishing compound.

Method 2

Consumables

  • Car shampoo
  • 1500 - 2500 grit sandpaper
  • Thinners and cotton bud
  • Auto body base colour
  • Clear coat
  • 3000 - 4000 grit

More experienced DIYers can use the sandpaper method as demonstrated in Car Craft’s excellent video. These are the detailed steps:

  1. Wash and clean the car to decontaminate the paintwork, dry, then mark around each chip with a wax pen if applicable.
  2. Sand to level off ragged edges by removing the microscopic, jagged bits around the chip:
    1. Use a small piece of sand paper wrapped around a small sanding block and a little water to sand around the chip.
    2. Use 1500 - 2500 grit sandpaper depending on the hardness of the paint.
    3. Sand very lightly with small, short strokes.
    4. Feel the area you’ve worked on with your finger to ensure that it’s smooth and there are no more hard or sharp edges.
  3. Clean and prep the area using a cotton bud dipped into thinners. Not only is it a good cleaner but also has the added benefit of providing good adhesion for the touch-up paint.
  4. Apply base colour with a fine-tipped brush, dab by dab. Let dry.
  5. Apply two layers of clear coat, letting dry in between layers. Ensure the final coat is sitting higher than the surrounding surface.
  6. Let it cure to dry and harden for 48 hours. This is important for a long-lasting result.
  7. Level down the surface by sanding bit by bit using the same sanding paper and technique as before.
  8. Refine sanding marks with finer sandpaper using 3000 - 4000 grit. 
  9. Compound the area to restore gloss and clarity.

And you’re done. The paint should now be well-protected from corrosion and other further degradation.

Conclusion

It’s a more challenging procedure to restore paint chips that have become pitted and rusty and the metal seriously damaged. To save yourself from expensive chip and dent repair, don’t ignore these for too long.

You can go a step further to save yourself from further chips and minor scratches. Protect your paintwork by using a car cover, avoiding harsh chemicals and detergents, and parking out of direct sunlight.

These car maintenance tips were brought to you by Supa Quick – there’s a service centre near you.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of the content.

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