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Car Touch Up Paint: 3 Tips


Audi R8 Spyder epic parking fail

Death.  Taxes.  Paint chips.  They’re all pretty much inevitable.  We can’t offer much guidance on the former two, but the latter isn’t the end of the world.  This is when you grab some car touch up paint and make things right.  Here are a few tips to consider.

Choose wisely.  For the closest match in color, this is no time to guesstimate.  If you choose touch-up paint by cap color alone, you will miss the mark.  It’s even possible to pick the wrong black or white.

Unless you really want the off-shade polka dot look, note your car’s alphanumeric color code before you shop.  For a lot of cars, it’s no tougher than referencing the manufacturer’s sticker on the driver’s doorjamb.  Other cars have it noted in more creative places, so if it’s not easily spotted, your dealer or a website search can confirm the code.

Preparation.  If you really want the chip or scratch to disappear, understand that better results come from more time and effort.  Much of that is in the preparation.  If you purchase a full car touch-up paint system, it will include instructions and all necessary material.  Regardless, you’ll need to start with a clean surface.  Localized light sanding (200 grit) takes off any oxidation.  Use wax remover on the immediate area around the spot to be fixed.

Application.  If you just glob a dollop of paint over the chip or scratch and call it a day, the repair will be as unsightly as the damage.  You do need to build up paint over the spot, but it should be done in coats.  When the coats of touch up paint are higher than the paint around it, gentle blending with finer (600 grit) sandpaper will bring it back down.

Your application isn’t complete without clear coat over the dried touch up paint.  After light sanding with a very fine (1500 grit) sandpaper, you can apply fresh wax to the treated area.

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