Ultimate Car Paint Repair Guide

on May 26, 2021

If your car has spent any time off the sales lot, it’s probably got a few paint chips and scratches. 

But some scratches can be particularly worse than others. Perhaps someone smacked your car while opening their door too close to yours. Or a rock got whipped up off the road by someone driving by, and it skipped across your car hood. 

Maybe you upset someone, and they decided to show you that their feelings were hurt in an inappropriate and damaging way with their keys. 

However it happened, don’t worry because there's probably a few ways to fix it without going into a shop, depending on just how bad the damage is, of course. 

The first thing we would recommend trying is Revive Scratch Remover, the most advanced scratch repair formula available on the market. You would be surprised at what this stuff can fix, and it’s extremely long-lasting, so you can be confident those scratches won't come back anytime soon. 

But sometimes, the damage still needs some extra attention, so let’s talk about what your options are. 

 

Assess the Damages

There are several different types of paint damage you might be dealing with, and each one has its own unique process. 

The biggest thing to note when deciding how exactly to repair the paint damage is the area size and depth. 

We’re going to talk about what you’ll need and how to fix three different levels of damage:

  • Paint Chip
  • Paint Scratch
  • Paint Scrape 

The tools and processes for each level vary, so if you know what type of damage you’re dealing with, go ahead and scroll to that section. If you aren’t quite sure, read along and see which option sounds most like what you’ve got.

 

Paint Chip

Paint chips are the most minor, shallow damage you can have. But that doesn’t mean they can’t become a massive issue if left unresolved. 

Paint chips that are left to themselves begin to expand and expose the sheet metal that your vehicle is built of. This exposure means that liquids and grime can get in and begin to deteriorate the structure of your car. 

This is otherwise known as rust, and you definitely want to take care of it before it becomes a problem. 

So how do you repair a paint chip? Luckily these are fairly simple to fix. 

 

Determine the Color You Need

You want to make sure that you purchase paint the same exact color of your vehicle no matter how small or large the damage is because, of course, you don’t want little mismatched color dots anywhere on your car. 

Fortunately, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Your car should have a sticker in the driver-side door jamb towards the bottom where your adjustment lever is. 

This sticker should have your VIN on it as well as the paint code number. If you’re having a hard time finding this number, another approach is to contact your local dealership to ask them to look up the paint code. 

Take this paint code number online or to an automotive store and purchase the paint that matches your vehicle. 

This is also assuming that you haven’t had your car custom painted, in which case you would have to refer to the color you picked out for that. 

 

Small Damage? Small Pen

If you’re just dealing with a few paint chips, then obviously, you don’t want to go out and buy a gallon of paint. 

And to make it even easier, more companies are creating small paint pens specifically designed to repair paint chips. They basically operate like Sharpies and are very handy. 

 

No Matter the Size, Make Sure Its Clean

Whether you’re repairing a small chip or a large scrap, the most important prep work you have to do is make sure the area on your vehicle is extremely clean. 

The last thing that you want is any amount of dust or gunk drying in with the paint, as it will weaken the integrity of the paint. It will also give it a rough texture instead of the smooth finish you want. 

Spend some time scrub-a-dub-dubbing your sweet ride with some Ultra Concentrated Car Wash Soap and really give your car the love and attention it needs. 

 

Follow the Instructions

Whatever product you end up buying will have its own processes and instructions on it, and with paint, you always want to follow those to a T. 

You might have different wait times between coats or a unique aftercare product. More than likely, your paint pen will come with a paint side and a clear coat side. 

After you’ve washed the damaged area, apply the paint and wait between coats for the allotted time; then, once you’re happy with the results, apply the clear coat.

Once that has dried, go ahead and give your car another wash, you both deserve it!

 

Paint Scratch

Maybe your damage is a bit more than just a small chip. 

Someone might have run into it with a shopping cart and dragged it along your car, leaving a pretty significant yet still narrow crack. 

You might be tempted to use the same paint pen as you did for the paint chip, but depending on how deep the scratch goes, you might need some more effort on this one. 

Keep in mind that if the scratch penetrates through the paint and gets to the metal, you’re going to want to take it into a repair shop. While paint chips can lead to exposed metal, you might already be there with a scratch. 

You can certainly cover up a scratch and delay the damage caused by oxidation and chemical irritants to the body of your car, but you may want to consider contacting the professionals for a permanent solution. 

 

Scratch Prep

The first step is the same, make sure to deep clean the area and keep your car in a dust-free environment. 

Then, get some light sandpaper in the 1200-2000 range, and very lightly sand the inside of the scratch. 

You’re priming the surface area as best you can to take in and hold the new paint, and sanding down the inside of the scratch will make sure that the new paint holds. 

Now that that's done, wash it off again and let it dry. 

 

Paint Products

Instead of the paint pen, for scratches, you’re going to want to get a paint primer as well as a small amount of automotive paint and a small brush. 

As with the paint pen, most products will have their own instructions, and it’s critical to follow those as closely as possible.

Typically, you apply a coat of your primer. This is going to hold the paint and the body of the car to each other. 

Once your primer has finished drying, very carefully apply your paint to the inside of the scratch. You will probably have to apply several coats in order to fill up the scratch. 

Once you’re satisfied with how your repair is looking, it’s recommended to go a step further than washing the area and actually buff the scratch. You can purchase buffing kits from most auto stores. 

 

Paint Scrape

We’ll be straightforward with you- If you have a fairly sizable paint scrape, taking care of it yourself will be a good amount of work. 

The repair process will be similar to the process of the scratch, just a lot more intense. But if you’re determined to handle it yourself instead of bringing it in somewhere, here’s how we would suggest going about it.  

 

What You’ll Need

Since the scrape has much more surface area than the scratch or chip, you won't be able to take care of it with a brush or pen. 

Instead, you’ll need to get yourself a paint sprayer. We suggest a gravity-feed sprayer as they have a smoother spray than a pressure-based system. 

You’ll also need everything we covered in the scratch section: 

  • Sandpaper
  • Paint Primer
  • Paint
  • Clear Coat
  • Soap
  • Buffing kit

On top of all of those things, since you’ll be spraying paint, you need a space in which you can work and all of the safety protection you can get—respirator mask, rubber gloves, and eye protection at least

 

What To Do

Again, this will be similar to the scratch process but with a few more steps:

  1. Deep clean the area
  2. Sand the scrape and surrounding paint
  3. Deep clean again
  4. Apply a coat or two of paint primer, allow to dry
  5. Apply multiple coats of automotive paint, allow to dry
  6. Apply clear coat paint
  7. Buff
  8. Deep clean 

You don’t want to sand too hard, but you do want to level out the area. If the scrape is near something you don’t want to be painted like a window or grill, make sure to tape those off. 

A clear coat is strongly suggested because you’re essentially repainting a section of your car. The clear coat will extend the lifetime of the paint and add a level of protection. 

 

Parting Thoughts

How much work and equipment you’ll need to fix your paint ultimately depends on how much damage there is.

If you’ve got small chips, the paint pen is a great option. And for most minor to noticeable scratches, our Revive Scratch Repair product is here to save the day. 

Anything bigger, and you might have to roll up your sleeves a bit more. 

But here at Shine Armor, we are passionate about doing everything we can to make sure that your car is looking its best, inside and out. That’s why we develop the best products on the market and always have your back when it comes to repairs. 

So whether you have small or large scratches that you’re trying to fix or you’re trying to wash your vehicle until it’s absolutely spotless, Shine Armor is here for you.

 

References:

What to Do About Dull Paint and Oxidation on Your Car | Columbia Auto Repair

Rusty Car - Tips for How to Remove Rust From a Vehicle | Popular Mechanics

How To Wash Your Car At A Self Service Car Wash | Drive Tribe

LEAVE A COMMENT

Related Posts

When Should You Change Your Engine Air Filter?
When Should You Change Your Engine Air Filter?
Maintaining your car might feel like a chore, but it’s the best - and only - way to ensure that you’ll be able to kee...
Read More
How to Jump a Car in Seven Simple Steps
How to Jump a Car in Seven Simple Steps
Who hasn’t been in a situation where it would be helpful to know how to jump a car? If you realized you left your car...
Read More
How Often Should You Change Your Oil Filter?
How Often Should You Change Your Oil Filter?
In order to ensure that your vehicle is functioning properly and to the best of its ability, it’s important to take a...
Read More
BACK TO TOP