Touching Up Paint Chips On Your Car

How You Can Do It Quickly And Easily Yourself

Car ChipCredit: Christopher D Brown

If your driving your car long distances, eventually you will get paint chips which look ugly and if left untreated, will eventually bubble your paint job. Once paint has bubbled, it requires further more drastic treatment.

A paint chip is when the layer of paint chips off, and the metal or plastic is left bare. On your car they are found on the front grill and bonnet. The good news is if you attend to the paint chip early you can easily patch it up with minimal hard work and risk of creating more work for yourself.


Car Paint SmallCredit: Christopher D Brown

What you’ll need

1 x Rust converter and primer/undercoat (available local car parts store)

1 x Small paintbrush (I used a toothpick)

1 x Touch up paint (see below to find your car's color code)

1 x Rag


  • First clean around the area. It’s best to use water as not to introduce any more potential issues. If you have to clean something a little tougher, then use soap and water or a car wash. Using something harsh on your car like an oil based cleaner will take off the shine and leave a patch which looks ugly.
  • If your chip is on a metal panel, you will need to put some rust converter and primer on the chip. The primer needs the chip damp before applying. The rust primer stops any rust eating through your touch up paint later on. If your chip is on plastic, it is still good to prime the spot before you put the color coat on.
  • Open the rust primer and pour some into the lid. Use a small paintbrush to apply the rust primer. If you get any on the paint job, then wipe it off carefully. If you don’t have a small paintbrush you can dab it on with a toothpick.
  • Depending on the temperature it can take up to six hours for the primer to set and be ready for the touch up paint. The primer will go black after it has dried and reacted with the rust.
  • When the primer has dried it is time to apply the touch up paint.
  • The color code for your car is in one of two places. Either on a plate around the driver’s side door (mine is near the base of the seat, highlighted in red), or it will be on the passenger side of the firewall. To find your car's color code, click here. 
Colour Code SmallCredit: Christopher D Brown
  • To apply the touch up, unscrew the cap and dab the brush on your chip. As with the primer clean any excess up with a clean rag, and wait for it to dry. If you have used the correct color the paint may look a little different when wet, but once dry it will dry to the same color.


In Summary

Touching up is not the same as new, so when you're checking your work take a step back, have a look and ask yourself.

  • Does the chip still stand out?
  • Would it attract your eye if you didn’t know it was there?
  • Will it seal the paint and stop any future rust?

If yes to all three, then good job! If not, try again with the touch up paint.

If your paint has started to bubble you will need to use an abrasive wet and dry sandpaper or steel wool to take off the rust, and putty or bog to fix the surface before applying paint.


I hope this guide was of help to you, thanks for reading.