Tips on removing stone chips from paint work.
"Stone chip repair tips."
Finding stone chips in your paint work is always annoying.
This article will show you how to make near invisible stone chip repairs.
The more loose stones on the road surface the more likely you are to pick up a stone chip. Fast roads and higher speeds result in deeper and bigger stone chips.
Stones tend to be thrown up behind vehicles, so lots of stone chips may be a sign that you drive too close to the vehicle in front!
A protective film can be applied to resist stone chips, but what can be done about existing stone chips? Stone chips lead to pitted paint work that looks unsightly and can easily start to rust.
Invisible repairs to stone chips take time and patience.
Step 1: Clean out the area using a solvent cleaner such as IPA or similar. This is especially important if the chip has gone through to the metalwork below. If it is not treated then rust will start to take hold.
The new paint will not adhere unless all residue, dust grime and film are removed. If the chip goes down to the bare metal you need to clean thoroughly with a small wire brush, a fiberglass tipped pen or even a sharp metal knife. Take care not to make the damage deeper.
If rust has started to form, scrape away all of the rust and include an area around the rust spot to ensure that no small traces of rust remain. Coat the exposed area with a rust inhibitor such as Curite or Kurust. This transforms rust into a stable surface to paint on and inhibits rust formation.
Step 2: Paint selection. Car manufacturers spray panels with an undercoat, a main coat (sometimes several layers) and, in the case of some metallic or special finishes, a top coat of clear lacquer. A successful stone chip repair needs to replicate these layers.
The thinner the paint the better. Many touch up paints are too thick, this makes it much harder to get a smooth finish. I have found that the 'nail varnish' style touch up pots work the best.
Step 3: Base coat. Choose a lighter colored base coat for light top coats but any color for darker paints. Apply a thin layer of the base coat. Then wipe away any excess base coat from the surrounding area. Take care not to smudge it. Leave it for at least an hour to dry.
Step 4: Main coat. Build up the main coat with 3-8 very thin layers. Leave for at least an hour between coats (thin coats will generally dry in this time). Carefully wipe away any excess paint from the surrounding area. When you have finished, the new paint should be very slightly higher than the surrounding paint work.
Step 5: Finishing the surface. Wait at least 3-4 hours after applying the last coat of main coat before finishing. Smooth the surface with a fine grit wet and dry paper. Start with a fine grade and switch to the finest grade to finish.
Use the paper wet with a sanding block. The chip is only small, so use a small piece of sand paper and a tiny sanding block such as the end of a carpenters pencil or similar. This should take the layers of new paint down the the level of the surrounding paint work.
Step 6: Blending. Use a rubbing or cutting paste and gradually rub over the area. Blend in the new paint with the faded paint on the car using a gentle circular motion.
Step 7: Top coat. If you have metallic paint then add the final top lacquer coat. Again smooth with a fine grit wet and dry paper with a mini sanding block. Repeat the blending in with a rubbing or cutting paste.
Long scratches can be repaired in a similar way to stone chips but take a lot more patience. It's essential that the new paint is carefully applied only where the damage is.
Instead of a brush you should can use a single bristle held at an acute angle to the surface. The scratch will guide the bristle along in the right direction.
Many small stone chips and minor scratches, especially those on light paint, can be removed with cutting paste. Gently run your fingernail over the chip or scratch, if you can feel the mark then it is probably too deep to be polished out, but otherwise you can use a polish and you should get good results.
Tip: When using cutting paste work gently and repeat a few times. Each rub removes a few microns depth of paint and eventually you will rub through the paint. Never use an electric buffer with cutting paste unless you want large white circles left where the paint has been removed!
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