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Tips From the Pros
- Paint Scratch and Chip Repair
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The following information is general in nature. It should not be used as your entire source of information when working on your vehicle. Details on your particular vehicle can be found in your Haynes repair manual.

No matter how hard you try to keep your car looking like new, you will eventually get a scratch or chip in the paint. The good news is that you can probably fix it yourself by buying a touch-up paint kit at your car dealership or auto parts store. But if the damage has actually dented the metal, it's best to seek the advice of a pro.

Insure you buy a touch-up kit that matches the color of your vehicle. You will need the specific car make, model and year. It's best to have the actual paint code, which will be stamped on a special metal plate under the hood or in the door jamb. Your Haynes Automotive Manual will show you exactly where the paint code is located on your vehicle. Follow all instructions which will come with the touch-up kit.


The first step is to insure the damaged area is perfectly clean and absent of any rust. If the touch-up kit you bought has a wire brush, use it to clean the scratch. Or, use fine steel wool (buy from an auto parts store or home center) wrapped around the end of a pencil. Be careful here; you want to clean the area within the scratch or chip but not the good paint around it. Rinse the area with clear water and allow to dry completely.

haynes - tips from the pros - paint 1

Mix the paint thoroughly and apply a small amount with the touch-up kit brush or a very fine artist's brush. Brush in one direction and "fill" the scratch area without building it up higher than the surrounding paint.

haynes - tips from the pros - paint 2

With a two-coat finish, apply the clear coat after the color coat has completely dried.

haynes - tips from the pros - paint 3

Wait a few days for the paint to dry, then rub the area using a polishing compound to blend the new paint with the surrounding area. Once you're happy with the result, wash and polish the car to finish it off.

haynes - tips from the pros - paint 4

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