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When driving your car, you do your best to avoid bumps and dings that can lead to chipped paint, but only so much can be done to prevent the natural wear and tear that occurs when your car spends more time on the road than in the garage.
If paint problems are inevitable, it’s good to know how to fix them without professional help. In this article, Step 1 tells you how to find your car’s paint code, Step 2 advises buying primer when you buy the paint, Step 3 suggests you test the paint, Step 4 explains how to pre-treat the spot, Step 5 tells you when to use primer, Step 6 explains how to paint the area in question, and Step 7 recommends sanding the paint for an even finish.
Part 1 of 1: How to touch up the paint on your car
Step 1: Identify your vehicle’s paint code. Every vehicle comes with information to identify the exact color of the paint used by the manufacturer.
This paint code is specific to your make and model, and can usually be found underneath the hood on the firewall. The firewall is a sheet of metal that acts as a barrier around the engine.
If you can’t find your vehicle’s paint code underneath the hood, then check in the operator’s manual. A paint code can be numbers, letters, or a combination of both.
Step 2: Purchase paint and primer. Once you have the paint code for your vehicle, you can purchase paint at any automotive store. Be sure to purchase primer too.
Step 3: Test the paint. Make sure that the paint will match your car exactly, so be sure to test the paint on a portion of your car that isn’t largely visible.
If the paint dries evenly and there is no noticeable difference, then you can move on to touching up the other areas.
Step 4: Pre-treat the spot. Prior to applying paint, you will want to thoroughly wash the area of the car that you will be touching up. If the spot is rusty, apply rust arrestor first to prevent further rusting and damage.
Some products like
Corrosealoffer rust protection and primer in one.
Step 5: Apply primer. If the scratch or ding goes all the way to the metal part of the car, then apply one coat of primer with a small brush. If you are touching up just a surface level scratch, then primer isn’t necessary.
Step 6: Paint the chipped area. Shake the can of paint before use it. Apply a couple of coats to the spot and let sit for 24 hours.
Keep your car inside and away from the elements if possible to ensure a clean touch up.
Step 7: Use sandpaper for an even look. Use sandpaper and sand the affected area slowly and gently. Continue sanding until the touch up paint is even with the rest of the vehicle.
Minor dings and scratches can easily be touched up at home, and don’t require any help from your insurance company. For anything more serious, you may need to contact your insurance provider to see if they cover more serious body damage.