Apply automotive touch-up paint like a pro with these DIY tips

September 19, 2014

If your car’s paint is chipped, you can save money by doing the automotive paint touch-ups yourself. Use these tips to help you get professional results at home.
Match your paint

First, you need to buy a matching paint colour. However, getting the right shade or tone can be trickier than it seems. To get you started, open up the hood and check for the paint code number on the firewall—the piece of metal separating the engine from the car passengers.

If your car is older or quite faded, you may not get a perfect match. Be prepared to test an inconspicuous patch to check results.

Buy primer

Don’t sell preparations short. Be sure to purchase a primer when you purchase your paint, unless your paint specifies that you do not need one (both paint and primer are available at auto stores).

Treat rust before you paint

If the area you are going to paint has any rust, you need to apply rust arrestor before beginning paint or primer. This ensures any rust will not continue to spread under the paint you are about to apply.

Sand the spot

Grit sandpaper #220 is a good choice for roughing up the metal so the primer will adhere properly.

Wash and dry

Clean the spot with water to remove dirt, wax, rust arrestor, or any other residue.

Next, prime the surface

Use only as much primer as is necessary to apply a thin coat. Primer helps the paint stick to the metal and gives you the professional looking results you want. Primer is particularly necessary if you have a deep chip, as it helps fill in/even out the surface.

Test your paint colour

If you haven’t yet, it’s wise to test a small dab of your chosen automotive paint in a less noticeable area. It will give you the chance to check how well the colours match. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to make sure there isn’t going to be a reaction between your existing paint and the new paint.

Time to apply!

Shake or stir your colour so it is well-mixed well. Then begin application. Some automotive paints come with applicator brushes; others come in a pen. Whichever style of paint you choose, apply enough paint to get even coverage of the spot.

Let the paint dry

It’s best to give the paint at least 24-36 hours to properly dry. Then you can wax/buff the vehicle to properly blend in the new automotive paint.

That’s it! Now you’re well on your way to applying touch-up paint on your car or truck like a pro.

Apply automotive touch-up paint like a pro with these DIY tips
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