Step by Step Paint Chip Repair Guide

paint chip repair

Cars and other vehicles are prone to scratches, especially when you are not careful with them. If left unattended, these scratches cause a larger problem, rusting. Here is a step-by-step paint chip repair guide. Follow these steps, and you’ll have a smoother, shinier car in no time!

Things you’ll need

This guide is for simple scratches, not for heavy damage. These are the supplies  you’ll need:

  • Primer Surfacer
  • Clear Coat
  • Base Coat
  • Etch Primer

*Etch primer is needed if the bare metal is visible

To make sure that you buy the right shade of paint, check the paint code for your car. The coating color code can be found beside the car doors or on the car’s bonnet. You can also give your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to the paint vendor to be absolutely sure. Here is what you need:

  • Wax and grease remover to remove any grease, silicone, oil, and wax that will prevent the paint from adhering.
  • Sandpaper (grit dry 180, 320, 600) to even out scratches and paint chips and to prevent uneven bumps in paint jobs. Sandpaper is also used after the paint has dried to smoothen the rough edges.
  • Tape and Masking paper to cover the parts that you don’t want to get paint on.
  • Clean cloths you can use to wipe the surface of your car.
  • Compounding agents are made of abrasive substances that can provide a fine finishing on your car’s newly painted surface.

*For large scratches and heavier damages, you’ll need to have an etch primer, grit dry, and wet sandpaper.

The Step-by-Step Guide

Look for damages and scratches on your car

Most of the time, car owners let the scratches pile up and opt to fix them all in one go. If you have not consistently checked your car for damage, the first thing you need to do is to find all of the scratches it has accumulated.

Wash and clean your car

Wash your car with soapy water to clean off the dirt. Rinse and dry it. Use the wax and grease remover to rid the scratched area of any dust, oil, grease, and other grime. Not removing these will prevent the paint from adhering to the surface. Wipe away the grease remover with a clean cloth afterward.

Cover the areas you don’t want to paint

Using the masking paper and tape, cover adjacent areas that you don’t want to get paint on. Newspapers can be used as an alternative, but masking paper is recommended.

Use sandpaper to smooth out the scratches

Sand the damaged area using 180-grit dry sandpaper. Sand the area until there’s no visible paint on the vehicle. Use a 320-grit dry sandpaper to sand the scratched area further. Sanding the area for the second time will create a seamless surface. This process will create a similar look to the previous state. When you coat the area, people won’t be able to notice that it was reapplied.

Clean the sanded area

Using sandpaper will leave the sand and other dirt in the area after sanding. Use a wax and grease remover to clean the scratched area again and then wipe it away using the cloth you used before.

Mask the surrounding area of the scratch

Temporarily cover the area around the scratched surface before spraying the etch primer over it. Mask it properly to ensure no dust gets on the damaged area and that you don’t accidentally spray on undamaged areas.

Use the Etch Primer

If bare metal is visible from the scratched surface, use an etch primer. Shake up the etch primer can as you spray it onto the scratched area. Leave it to dry for a couple of minutes. After the etch primer is dry, use the primer surfacer. Turn the etch primer can upside down after you’ve finished. Wait at least four hours before proceeding. If no bare metal is visible, skip this step.

Sand it again

Remove the temporary cover and sand the area using grit dry sandpaper, number 600. If the number 600 is unavailable, the number 800 can be used as a substitute. This is to remove any imperfections caused by dust, dirt, or sand on the area.

Prepare for touch-up

To level the surface and get rid of the uneven bumps, use compounding agents. Like feather sanding, this step is to smoothen out the damaged surface and make it look and feel like its previous state. Learn and practice how to spray. When the scratched surface is cleaned with wax and grease remover, and is smoothed out. Spray the colors evenly and accurately.

Remember not to use the compounding agent on the damaged or scratched surface.

Apply the base and clear coat to the cleaned scratched surface

You need to apply at least three base-coat layers on the scratched surface. Between coatings, wait about five minutes to let the coat dry. Spray the base coat around the scratched area to have the paint blend in with the surrounding area. Then leave it for an hour or so to let the paint dry.

When the base coat is dry, apply the acrylic clear coat to protect the paint from scratches and chemical substances. This clear coat will give your car a glossy effect. Then leave it for four hours or more to dry.

The Finishing Touch

Check your work for imperfections. If there are any, use a 1500-grit wet and dry sandpaper to smoothen it out. You can use the compounding agent to smoothen out the surface and to maintain the  glossy effect. After two months, apply wax and the car will look as good as new.

The process can be quite tedious, and it may take a long time. However, it will definitely repair your car’s paint chips. Plan  a few days before starting repairs to make sure you have all you need. If you need any professional help, don’t hesitate to reach out to Carfect.


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