STONE CHIP REPAIR – DO IT YOURSELF GUIDE

You’ve read how to do a car scratch repair and swirl mark removal and if you did the repairs to your car you will have found that they were relatively easy to do and the results can be very pleasing.

Doing your own repairs to stone chips is not really that much more difficult.

All BS aside I do believe anyone can do this. It’s the fear of making things worse that stops many from doing it.

There is no fancy tools needed, in fact you probably have most of what is required to do the repair.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS

In my opinion there is three ways to repair stone chips:

  • Send your car to a body shop (expensive)
  • Call a mobile touch-up service (finding a good one takes some research)
  • Do it yourself (not hard and easier than you think)

 

Having stone chips in the paint work of your car has probably put you on the decision making fence.

Send the car out for repair or touch them up yourself.

Well I know you are considering the second option because you are reading this.

Hopefully I can convince you that you can do it.

 

GETTING PREPARED – THINGS YOU ARE GOING TO NEED

 

stone chip touch up paint

Touch up Paint

Car Paint Wizard have all your touch up paint needs.

All you have to do it give them your paint code from the car. They even tell you where to find it when you select the make of your car.

rubbing alcohol

Iso-Propyl Alcohol

IPA is used for cleaning away grease, wax and any grime.

It does not leave any residue. A paint prep solvent also does the same thing.

cotton rag lint free

Clean Cotton Rag

Clean, lint free soft cotton rags.

Old Tee shirts and sheets are OK, remove the sewn hems.

wet & dry sand paper

Wet & Dry Paper

Assorted packs of wet & dry paper are always handy.

You will need 1200 – 2000 grit for most small chip repairs.

artist paint brush

Artist Paint Brush

Artist brushes are readily available and are inexpensive.

They offer more control than touch up tips or brushes supplied with touch up paint.

plastic tooth picks

Plastic Tooth Picks

These have a couple of uses. Removing loose chip edges and they make good paint stirrers.

Wooden toothpicks can be used. Becareful the tips don’t break.

paint chip repair

Eraser (Sanding Block)

School rubber erasers make good sanding blocks for small repairs.

 

cutting compound

Cutting Compound

Farecla G3 is perfect for removing sanding marks.

It works faster than Ultimate Compound when polishing by hand.

PREPPING STONE CHIP(S) FOR REPAIR

The area you intend to work on needs to be clean and free of wax and contaminants.
Basically give your car a good wash (or just the panel you want to repair) and dry it off.
I use household dishwash liquid (I mentioned this previously) followed by Iso-propyl Alcohol on the chipped area. If you have paint prep solvent use it.

It is sometimes recommended that a hair dryer or heat gun be used to dry the area. Only use a hair dryer if the temperature is a little cold and hold it away from the paint.

Carefully inspect the area around the chip. You can use a magnifying glass to help.
What you are looking for is flaking of the clearcoat around the edges of the chip.

Use the toothpick to lightly run around the edge of the chip. Carefully lift up any piece that has become separated and remove. No flakey edges.

 

SANDING FOR ETCHING

Primers and paint need some some sort of etched surface to adhere to. By leaving the chip as it is there is a chance that the primer/paint will not adhere and will fall off, leaving you wondering what went wrong.

SANDING PEN (OPTIONAL)

An ingenious little invention the sanding pen. I think it was invented for cleaning electrical contacts but…. it also works really well for etch prepping stone chips.

Basically it’s a pen with glass fibres instead of an ink cartridge.

By twisting the pen in your fingers the glass fibres clean the intended area.
These pens give you reach into areas sandpaper can’t get to.

WET & DRY SANDPAPER

Heads up…. I’m really erring on the side of caution here, so if what I recommend seems a little tame, just do what you think is best. By recommending you use 1500/2000 grit paper it gives a narrow margin for error, and if any, can be easily fixed with compounds. Basically I’m saying it’s pretty hard to f@#k it up with these papers.

Put some water in a bowl or a bucket. Tear/cut a piece of 1500 grit paper big enough to wrap around the eraser. Drop it in the water and let it soak for 15 – 20 mins.

The time delay allows the paper to absorb water.

Wrap the piece of the paper around the eraser, dunk it in the water, lightly rub across the top of the chip in a back and forth motion, not in circles.

It will not take a lot of rubbing to feather and flatten the edges of the chip.

Wipe the area clean with a clean rag.

The edge of the chip and little around it will now be dull from rubbing with the wet & dry paper.

(If this process has you really worried you can start with 2000 grit paper or add dishwash liquid to the water to give more lubrication between the paper and the paint surface.)

Wipe with Iso-propyl alcohol (IPA).

Don’t worry it will look great when you are finished.

BARE METAL PRIMING

Because some manufacturers paint chips easier than others this can lead to bare metal patches. If left long enough these will rust.

If you have a chip with bare metal exposed you will need to apply a thin coat of auto primer.

Using touch up tips or a small artist brush apply a thin coat of primer to the bare metal.

Leave the primer to dry for about an hour. You can wave a hairdryer over top to aid in drying.

 

ADDING BASE COAT COLOUR

Make sure your base coat (colour) paint is well mixed, give it a good shake.

Often the bottle or container the touch up paint comes in has a brush attached to the lid. Avoid using it.

Always check for correct colour matching. Either test it on an inconspicuous spot or have test piece of sheet metal prepared with primer.

Using a clean artist brush or touch up tip apply a thin layer of colour. Don’t let the paint pool in the chip. Ideally you want to be able to have two thin layers of paint and only filled half the depth of the chip.

Make sure your base coat (colour) paint is well mixed, give it a good shake.

Often the bottle or container the touch up paint comes in has a brush attached to the lid. Avoid using it.

Always check for correct colour matching. Either test it on an inconspicuous spot or have test piece of sheet metal prepared with primer.

Using a clean artist brush or touch up tip apply a thin layer of colour. Don’t let the paint pool in the chip. Ideally you want to be able to have two thin layers of paint and only filled half the depth of the chip.

Once you have the base coat done let it dry before proceeding on with the clearcoat.

TIP: When dipping your brush in the paint, only dip the first 2 – 3mm of the brush and then wipe the paint off on the rim off the bottle. Repeat this a couple of times, it allows paint to soak into the center of the brush and not just stick to the outside.

 

THINNING

Sometimes touch up paint can be a little thick. You go to apply it to the chip or scratch and it sits on top like paints on an oil painting.

Add a little thinners (correct type of course) and re-shake the bottle. Thinner paint is easier to apply and work with.

Also dipping the bush into thinners, then wiping it on a rag, before dipping into the paint helps paint absorption.

This will allow you to apply paint to the chip and not just have a blob of paint drop in the hole.

Confession time – on more than a few occasions I’ve had to wipe the chip area with white spirit and start again. White spirit won’t damage the hardened clear coat but it will remove still soft paint and often the primer.

 

APPLYING CLEARCOAT

The base coat should be dry and there should be a hollow in the chip still.

Using an artist brush apply a thin coat of clear to the chip area.
Wait 10 – 15 mins before applying the second coat. The first coat should be touch dry.

When applying the second coat it should spread out over the edges of the chip and sit a little higher than surface level. Don’t worry you are going sand it back when it’s dry.

Leave for at least 24 hours.

BLOCKING BACK CLEARCOAT

If you didn’t leave the 1500/2000 grit wet & dry paper in the water put it back in now.

Make sure you have good lighting.

Using the eraser and wet & dry paper you are going block back the clear coat you applied to the chip. Keep plenty of water on the repair area. Don’t let the paper run dry.

Keeping the block (eraser) flat, sand in straight lines.

Regularly dry the area off with a clean cloth and check.

You will have a good idea when it’s flat, by running your fingers over the repair. If it feels high you have more work to do.

When the repair is flat is will have a uniform dull look across the sanded area. There should be no hollows around the edge of the chip – areas that look like they have not been touched by the wet & dry.

 

POLISHING FOR A SMOOTH FINISH

Now you have the clearcoat flattened off and are left with a dull patch on your paint it’s time to use a polishing compound to bring the gloss back.

Previously we used Meguiars Ultimate Compound when repairing swirls and light scratches and I recommend you use now too.

Though I do have an alternative just to speed the polishing along a little.

Farecla G3 Liquid Compound.

G3 will work faster than the Ultimate. It’s like using a coarser wet & dry. It also gives great results.

Using Ultimate Compound or G3 apply a little to a foam applicator and rub the over the sanded repair.

Using a microfibre towel, wipe down, and check your results.

Repeat with the compound if you can still see sanding marks.

Congratulations!

You have now completed your own repair to a stone chip(s).

Now if you washed your whole car with dishwash liquid at the beginning, apply a coat of polish then wax it. If you only washed the panel you repaired just polish and wax it….. unless of course the rest of your car now looks a little dull compared to your repair.

 

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