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Stone chips are really obvious on black and dark-colored cars. You also run the risk of rust or corrosion if the bare metal is exposed to the elements. I tested some products and I was happily surprised with the results. But there are some mistakes you need to avoid (keep reading to learn all about it).
Best DIY product for rock chip repair?
I’m going to recommend Dr. ColorChip for fixing rock chips. It’s super easy to use. Just make sure you get the right color of course. You can do a really good job in 10 minutes or less but don’t expect miracles. A mark might still be visible if you look closely.
But you don’t need to be a detailing expert to use it. Read my full review below for hints and tips.
Can I really repair stone chips myself?
There are a number of ways that anyone can use to repair the damage caused by stone chips. Once you follow the instructions properly you can do a really great job yourself. But a word of warning, it’s not easy to do a perfect job.
Probably the best results you can get are if you use touch up paint and a polishing machine. But be warned, its time consuming and its not easy to do a perfect job. A polishing machine will also help.
Do I need to get my car resprayed to completely repair stone chips?
Maybe if you drive a Ferrari and you want it to be absolutely perfect then you could consider getting it resprayed. But for the rest of us, you don’t need to. Most professional detailers have plenty of experience in fixing stone chips and this would cost a lot less than a respray. But in this post, I’m going to focus on doing it yourself because I believe it’s possible to do a really great job if you take your time and do it carefully.
Types products for touching up paint.
For my first successful attempt at touching up some paint chip I went to my Ford main dealer and purchased a touch-up kit for about 40 bucks. This came with exactly the right color paint for my car. Read more below for the steps to apply the touch-up paint.
Dr. Colorchip Review
It’s possible to get great results with Dr ColorChip once you follow the instructions properly. It’s probably the easiest way to fix rock chips as you don’t need your own polishing machine.
Another huge advantage is that you can fix multiple rock chips simultaneously. They supply a small squeegee that allows you to spread the product over an area of rock chips. This looks a little messy but with good care it can be extremely effective.
The first step when using Dr. ColorChip is to find the color code of your car paint somewhere on your car. For me it was the drivers side door jam. If you can’t find it you can check the Dr. Colorchip website to find the correct one…
Prepare the surface with rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol (IPA). This will help the new paint to bond with your car. You can also buy a separate product from the manufacturer of Dr. ColorChip called Dr. ColorPrep. But any rubbing alcohol will do.
It’s important to shake the product so that it’s properly mixed.
You have a number of options for applying the product. The dab and smear method involved using one of the supplied brushes to put a small blob of paint right beside the stone chip and spreading it across with your finger (you should be wearing the supplied glove). Don’t worry if the paint is uneven. It can be fixed in the next stage.
The paint will dry quickly, probably just a few minutes. Once it’s dry to the touch you can begin the next step
The other application method you could use is the squeegee method which is great if you have a large number of rock chips in a small area. Pour a few drops of paint on to the affected area and use the supplied soft rubber squeegee to work the product into the chips. You don’t need to be too precise. If you can still see some chips you can dab them directly with the paintbrush. Allow to dry.
The final step is to use the Sealact solution liquid to remove the access product. This dissolves away the extra paint that might look a little messy around the stone chip. Shake the liquid immediately before use. Apply some Sealact to the supplied lint-free cloth.
Use the damp cloth to moisten the area and allow the product to dissolve the access paint. You can also apply over the chips. Wipe the area gently and the access paint will come away. Use a separate microfiber cloth to clean up the area.
Don’t use too much pressure or you will remove the paint that covers the chip.
Note that the sealant liquid will only with Dr ColorChip paint and not with touch-up paint that you got from a dealer.
Fixing rock chips with touchup paint.
After purchasing the correct paint from my Ford dealer I prepared the area by first washing and drying the car using the famous two bucket method.
The next step was to prepare the surface using very fine-grit sandpaper. This will create very fine scratches around the surface that will help the touch-up paint to bond with your car. Use 3000 grit sandpaper and only sand the area around the rock chip. Use a little water when sanding. The area will now look faded and dull.
Now clean the area with IPA solution and allow to dry.
Apply a tiny amount of touch-up paint directly to the defect and not to the whole area you just wet sanded. Allow it to dry for the amount of time specified on the touchup paint. Once dry you can sand again and apply more touch-up paint if required.
Now you can use compound and polish to restore the shine to the area. I usually use Meguiars Ultimate Compound and Meguiars Ultimate Polish.
Fixing uneaven blobs of touchup paint
You might find that the area you touched up is now uneven and sticks out a little from the rest of the paint. It can look messy but don’t worry, this is to be expected with some products.
Many touch up kits like Dr. ColorChip mentioned above, come with a special liquid that will help dissolve the access paint. If you don’t have this special liquid you may need to sand it down with very fine sandpaper. And then compound and polish the area.
Take a little piece of 2000 grit sandpaper to the area and gently sand it smooth using some water. When the area is smooth you’ll see that the paint is no longer shiny. Use some rubbing compound on a microfibre cloth or pad to remove most of the haziness. Finally, follow up with a finishing polish to return the paint to its original shine. It can be done by hand but it would be better to use a polishing machine if you have one as this is much more effective at permanently removing the haziness.
Protecting your paint with Paint Protection Film (PPF)
This is a thin layer of clear plastic that can be applied over your paint to protect it from stone chips. It’s not easy to apply and really needs to be applied by professionals. It doesn’t need to be applied to the entire car, just the sections that a most likely to suffer from paint chips, such as the front section of the car.
Some manufacturers offer this as an extra when you are buying a new car. PPF is worth getting if you are spending a lot of money on a new car. But for most of us, it’s too expensive. For example, Tesla customers have paid over $3,000 for a full PPF wrap.
Paint Protection Film Strips.
On Amazon, you will find some 3M Door Edge Protection Film strips that you can install yourself. These can offer great protection around door sills where it’s highly likely you or a family member will chip your paint once or twice. The PPF strips will offer good protection. If you ever need to remove or replace them you can do so with a heat gun or hairdryer.
Will a Ceramic Coating prevent stone chips?
Some people believe that a ceramic coating will prevent stone chips. Unfortunately, this is not true. A ceramic coating will reduce the number of scratches you get when you wash your car. They will even make your car easier to wash because dirt doesn’t stick to the paint so much. But it’s no good for preventing stone chips. Click here to read more about ceramic coatings.