You’re walking back to your car in the parking lot, and that’s when you see it: someone or something chipped your car’s paint. Everyone has been there. Such a small blemish is enough to ruin anyone’s day, especially when you start thinking about the repair cost.
Paint chips are more than an eyesore. Once your car’s metal frame is bare, it’s vulnerable to rain and oxidation. This can lead to rust buildup and decrease the lifespan of your vehicle.
Thankfully, chipped paint isn’t inevitable. Plus, it’s easy to repair in the early stages. Here’s how to fix paint chips and prevent them entirely.
1. Wash Your Car Regularly
Think about all the different contaminants that end up on the surface of your vehicle: dirt, salt, and bird droppings, just to name a few.
These particles are downright corrosive. The longer you leave them on your paint job, the faster your paint will degrade. Over time, this will lead to chips in your paint, or worse.
In general, you should wash your car once every two weeks. But this is just a baseline. During winter, it’s advised you wash your car more often to remove road salts on your paint since these are especially devastating.
The way you park your vehicle matters, too. During summer, trees can cover your car in sap and bird leavings. Try to park in open spaces, far away from troublesome vegetation.
2. Avoid Rural Roads
Dirt can be acidic or basic, both of which can be damaging to your paint job. As we’ve said already, you can wash the dirt away. But you can’t wash away dings and scrapes you acquire on the road.
Paved asphalt makes for a clean driving experience, though loose matter on these roads can become dangerous at higher speeds.
The real problem is rural roads. These tend to be lined with dirt or gravel. Driving over these alone can throw up small rocks along the base of your car, chipping the paint.
But what if you’re driving behind another car? Their tires will fling pebbles and rocks at your windshield and paint, increasing the odds of paint damage.
Avoid these backroads if you can. And if you must use them, drive slow and give yourself plenty of space behind other drivers.
3. Use Paint Protection Film
You don’t always get a say in where you park or drive your vehicle. Sometimes your job or GPS will send you down a gravel road or under a bird-laden tree.
So what should you do?
Consider a paint protection film. This sturdy material provides an extra layer of defense against normal wear and tear. It’s more durable than paint, providing protection from the weather, stones, and acidic contaminants.
This transparent film is applied over every inch of the paint job, shielding your vehicle like a second skin. And since it’s transparent, it’s practically invisible after application.
4. Shelter Your Vehicle
Whenever possible, keep your vehicle parked in a garage or sheltered space. Inclement weather, such as hail or snow, can lead to chipped paint. By keeping your car out of the elements, it will avoid the worst of the storm.
Preferably, the garage will have climate control options as well. Temperature changes are dangerous if you live in an area with rapid fluctuations.
Extreme variations can sometimes cause the paint to chip or crack. Remember that objects swell and contract depending on their temperature. If the process occurs too quickly, microtears may form from the sudden change in size.
For reference, this process is why sidewalks are lined with cracks, also known as contraction joints.
5. Head to a Body Shop
Want to know how to fix paint chips? Well, you can always take it to a body shop. It’s costly compared to doing it yourself — but for some people, the convenience is worth the price.
Repairing the chips at a body shop will likely run you a few hundred dollars. A cheaper alternative is calling a mobile paint technician. These guys typically won’t do as good a job as a body shop, but they’ll cost you a whole lot less.
Best of all, they’re mobile. You don’t have to drive to a shop and spend a few hours sitting in the uncomfortable wait room. Just call them over when you’re ready they’ll do the work for you.
6. Get a Touch-Up Paint Kit
You can perform paint chip repair yourself. The best option is to get your hands on a touch-up kit. You can find these online or from your dealership.
Typically, you’ll have to provide your VIN number or the make and model to ensure you get the right color. Once you get the kit, or at least the right paint, you’re ready to get started.
First, clean the paint chips to ensure the paint will stick. Then, sand the area in preparation for the primer. If you notice rust under the paint chips, be sure to buff this out.
Once this is done, apply the primer and wait for it to set. Next comes a few layers of paint.
Let the paint dry for about a day or two. Give it one final sanding until it’s seamless with the surrounding paint and then use the clear coat.
Your paint chips should be a thing of the past, and for far less than what you’d pay at a shop.
Say Goodbye to Paint Chips
Your car is one of the most expensive possessions you own. Don’t disregard paint chips as a cosmetic concern. Otherwise, you’ll have a serious rust problem on your hands later on.
These prevention and repair techniques make it easy to keep your paint fresh and seamless. Still, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any blemishes. You should inspect your vehicle for paint problems during its biweekly cleaning.
If you’re looking for car manuals or auto repair advice, you’ve come to the right place. Search our website for more information to keep you and your vehicle on the road.