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How to Fix Chips in Your Car Paint

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Paint Fix Car Wash

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Minor paint chips are inevitable as your car ages; it’s part of the wear and tear of owning a vehicle. Minor accidents, pebbles on the road, or even rough weather conditions can cause damage. Luckily, paint chips can be easily fixed at home and it won’t break the bank. Here are a few step-by-step instructions to fix paint chips on your own.


Determine the type of chip you’re dealing with

Some chips are too far gone for at-home repair. If the chip is smaller than the size of a quarter and hasn’t begun to rust, fixing it at home should be a piece of cake. If you have larger paint damage that has begun to rust, like from an accident, you might be better off taking it into a professional.

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Wash up

The first thing you want to do when repairing a paint chip is to clean it. Simple soap and water will do—this step is just to make sure you don’t have any dirt or grime that will get trapped under the new paint. Make sure you use a soft, cotton cloth for this step. You don’t want to make the damage any worse with a coarse material.

If the chip has any rough paint edges, you’ll want to wear those away by using a small amount of automotive polish compound.

Finish cleaning the paint chip with a small amount of denatured alcohol. This will remove any leftover wax buildup on the chip.


Prime and paint

Using a small applicator, apply a thin layer of paint primer to the spot. If you have several paint chips you are repairing, consider purchasing a paint pen. This coat should completely cover the chip itself and the surrounding paint edges. Let the primer sit for 30 minutes.

Before you paint the chip, test the color on a piece of paper to make sure it’s a match. Once you find the right paint color, apply it to the chip. Let it sit for an hour, then apply a second coat. After a few days, apply the polishing compound again and rub it to even out the paint.

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Wash and wax

Once the paint chip has been repaired, and is completely dry, wash your vehicle and apply a fresh coat of wax. This will prevent the paint from peeling and help protect your car’s paint from future chips.

Sources: Family Handyman, WikiHow