Practically every vehicle gets small amounts of paint damage on its hood, front grille and other vulnerable locations. Rocks and other debris can take their toll on cars by chipping away small bits of paint. Fortunately, most small paint chips can be adequately covered by touch-up paint pen, primer and clear coat. The process isn't complicated, but you need to use the right materials and be careful in your work to get maximum results. Below is how perform a touch-up to your vehicle's exterior:
How to apply touch-up-paint - what you will need
How to apply touch-up paint – a step-by-step procedure
1. Choose the correct touch-up paint pen for your vehicle - it is important to purchase a paint pen that matches your vehicle's specific paint code so your final work doesn't stand-out. This code specifies the exact paint color as painted by the manufacturer. Paint codes are usually a series of letters and digits, but each manufacturer's code format is different.
To locate your vehicle's paint code, the first place to check is on the driver's side door edge or the door jamb. Most manufacturers place a label on either of these locations that contains paint information along with several other bits of information. Much of the time, the label will bear an abbreviation, such as EXT PT, or similar wording. However, some auto makers have no explanation for their code, so you will need to decipher where and what the code says. For help with understanding the code, contact a dealer for your specific make and ask to speak with the parts or collision repair department.
If your vehicle has been repainted in a color other than the original manufacturer's specification, then you should contact the facility that did the repainting. They should be able to provide you with a close match to the factory code.
2. Evaluate the damage – inspect the damage on your car under a strong interior light or outside in daylight. If you see shiny metal at the lowest part of the damaged area, then you will need to use a primer before painting. If the damage is white in appearance, then the damage has not penetrated to the metal, and primer shouldn't be needed.
3. Clean the damaged area – with a clean microfiber cloth, apply a generous amount of rubbing alcohol to the damage and the area immediately surrounding it. Rub firmly to remove any traces of wax, oil, dirt or other residues that might affect your paint application. If the cloth isn't able to reach into small crevices, use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol for detailed cleaning. Allow the area to dry by evaporation before moving to the next step.
4. Prepare the touch-up paint for use – before using the pen, you should shake the pen for at least one minute to mix the paint well.
5. Apply a test layer of touch-up paint – it is helpful to understand how the touch-up paint pen works and get a feel for its use. To do so, simply make a few small marks on the underside of your hood or other areas not visible to casual observers. Be careful to apply light strokes so the paint doesn't form "globs".
6. Apply the primer (if necessary) – if the damage penetrates to the bare metal, then you will need to prime the location. Shake your primer pen for one minute and make a light application to the damage. Allow the primer to dry completely before applying paint.
7. Apply the paint to the damaged spot – once you have applied primer, or if you don't need to apply it, shake the paint pen again for about 15 seconds and apply a light coat to the damage. Use light strokes while being careful to keep them even; allow the coat of paint to dry before applying another coat, if necessary.
8. Apply the clear coat – after the paint has dried completely, and you are satisfied the coverage is even and sufficient, you can apply the clear coat that will protect the new paint. Again, shake the clear coat pen for at least a minute before using. Apply it lightly using even pressure and try to blend the edges of the clear coat with the surrounding area as much as possible.
9. Move on to the next damaged location – repeat the steps above from 2 to 8 for each damaged spot. Once you finish, wash and wax your car to protect its finish.
For professional assistance or tips you can take your car to a collision repair shop instead.
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