A Step-By-Step Guide To Applying Touch Up Paint


When it comes to their cars, people are pretty passionate. If you’ve got a new car or a classic car, chances are you spend some time making sure it’s clean and free of nicks, scratches and dents.

But for all those efforts, dents, nicks and scratches happen a lot. The auto body industry is valued at $42 billion and according to a recent Direct Line Survey, 52 percent of all car damage reported comes from keying or scratched paint.

If your car has some scratches on it, there are plenty of options available for fixing them. One route is to head to an auto body shop, but deep paint scratch repair can cost anywhere from $300 to $3,000 depending on the extent of the damage.

Another option is to use touch-up paint at home. There are all kinds of touch-up paint available from Nissan touch up paint, Jeep Wrangler touch up paint, Ford touch up paint and Volkswagen touch up paint to name just a few.

On the surface, touch up paints like Jeep Wrangler touch up paint seem like a magic wand of sorts. If done properly, touch up paint can be applied and then polished and the scratch eventually disappears.

But there are some risks associated with touch up paint. If the color you’re using is different than the paint on the body of your car, there’s a good chance the paint job could look bad.

When picking a color, the auto industry considers white, black, gray and silver to be neutral colors. When picking the color of your touch up paint, you want it to be as close to the same color as your car body. So if your Jeep Wrangler is red, make sure you have a Jeep Wrangler touch up paint that’s the same or very close to what you have.

The other problem or risk with touch up paint is the application. If it’s done incorrectly, the area with the scratch looks patchy and out of place compared to the rest of the car. Make sure to use a high quality paint is important too since you don’t want the touched up area to fade fast.

To ensure that touch-up paint is applied correctly, here’s a helpful step-by-step guide:

Cleaning The Car

  • Wash the car: Make sure the scratched or chipped area is deeply cleaned to remove any dirt, grime or other debris. Simple soap and water should do the trick.
  • Watch for rust: Look at the scratched area for rust and if you find any, use sandpaper to remove any discoloration and dry the area again.
  • Apply wax and grease remover: Before applying touch-up paint, it’s important to remove any wax from the scratched area. Using a commonly available wax remover should do the trick.
  • Sanding: Take sandpaper and sand around the area where the scratch is. The key is to remove loose paint and establish a clean surface for the paint to stick to. Using 220-grit sandpaper is a good bet.
  • Wash again: Use soap and water to make sure the area is squeaky clean. Again, make sure it’s dry.

Painting The Car

  • Find the color: As previously mentioned, find the right color of touch-up paint for the color and model of your car. So if you have a blue Jeep Wrangler, get blue Jeep Wrangler touch up paint. If you’re unsure, you can look online for your vehicle’s paint code.
  • Use rust arrestor: Once you’ve bought the right color, put rust arrestor over the scratched area to prevent it from forming.
  • Use primer: Put primer over the scratched area. Clear coats on cars are typically 1.5 to 2 ml thick and help protect paint integrity.
  • Do some testing: Take some paint and test it on an area of the car that’s hidden. You want to make sure the paint is still the right color and reacts well to the body color.
  • Apply the paint: Apply the paint over the scratched area in two to three layers. Between layers, let the paint dry at least an hour.

Once you’ve done that, sand the touched-up area and apply the top coat of paint. Use sandpaper (3000 grit) over the surface again until it’s smooth. For the very last step, polish and wax your car to get it looking its best.

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