Fixing Chipped Car Paint By Yourself

It's so easy for the paint job on a car to become chipped. A stone gets kicked up and dings your vehicle. Someone opens their car door into yours. No matter how it happens, a paint chip is a bigger deal than it may seem at the time. What starts as a small chip can eventually grow to a large patching of missing paint and rusted metal. Shops that offer auto body services are happy to repair chipped paint, but in minor cases, you can often repair the chip yourself given enough time, patience, and the right materials. Here's how to do just that.

1. Clean and polish the chip.

You can find a product called auto body polish in most home improvement and hardware stores. Purchase a small tube, and apply a squirt to a textured cloth. Use this to rub over the chipped area. The polish should not only remove any dirt and debris from the area, but it will also smooth the edges where the paint has chipped away. This makes for a cleaner repair job and less obvious borders around the new paint. When you are finished with the primer, remove any lingering remnants by wiping down the area with some rubbing alcohol.

2. Apply the primer/filler.

Next, you need to use an auto body primer and filler to fill in the little cavity left by the chip. The primer usually comes in a squeeze bottle. You can squeeze a tiny bead into the chipped area, and let it dry. It will flatten as it dries, so do not worry if it initially looks like it is raised above the surface of the paint. 

After applying the primer/filler, let it dry for at least a day. Some products claim to dry in 12 hours, but you are always safer giving the primer extra time rather than rushing to paint the chipped area.

3. Apply the paint.

Finding paint that is a perfect match can be tough. Your best bet is to visit an auto parts store and have them order a touch-up jar of your paint directly from your car's manufacturer. Once the paint arrives, you can gently brush it over the primed and filled chip. Let it dry for 3 - 4 hours, and then apply a second coat. Once the second coat has had a day to dry, go over the area with some more polish. The result should look flawless!