17 Aug, 17
How To Fix Stone Chips Using Paint Chip Repair KitsStone chips are one of the most common types of paint damage to occur on vehicles and commonly found on the front bumper and bonnet panels. Stone chips will usually create deep, localised damage to the paint work and it doesn’t have to cost a lot if treated right away.
What Causes Stone Chips (Paint Chips)?
Tyres from the vehicle in front of you will travel over loose gravel and debris on the road, which is then propelled into the air as the tyre flicks them towards your vehicle. That is why paint chips are most common on the front bumper and bonnet panels. The majority of stone chips often occur on motorways where unfortunately, due to the speed vehicles are travelling, the little stones turn into miniature comets, creating deep paint chips, which can penetrate right through to the base metal.
Have you ever driven behind a salt-spreader in winter and heard the miniature comets crashing into the front of your bumper and bonnet? Stone chips are more common in winter months and due to the cold wet conditions, a deep paint chip can rapidly progress to a more serious and costly problem as water and ice get into the chip and can affect the metal underneath.
Trying to always avoid stone chips can be very difficult but repairing them does not need to be as frustrating or costly. The trick is to repair the damage as soon as you can and not allow it to get worse by exposing the panel to weathering.
When Not To Try A DIY Paint Chip RepairWhen finding a stone chip, a lot of people take it upon themselves to touch it up and sometimes this can achieve fairly good results for small, shallow paint chips when using the correct colour paint, but there are times when you should really get your vehicle straight to a professional bodyshop.
- When Stone Chip Has Exposed The Base Metal
- When The Car Damage Has Rust Spots
- When There Are Multiple Chips Or Large Stone Chips
How To Fix Paint Chips On Your CarIt takes time to achieve a good finish on a DIY stone chip repair. Close matching paint and a steady hand are a must, so if you think you’re up to it then check out our step-by-step DIY guide below.
- Step 1: Cleaning
Clean the area with warm soapy water, rinse and dry it off. Finally, wipe over the area with alcohol or white spirit and allow to air dry. This is very important to degrease the panel and give the paint a good surface to stick to.
- Step 2: Sand Away Edges
Using either a cutting compound like T-Cut or a fine wet & dry paper, sand down any raised edges around the paint chip. Do not apply too much pressure when sanding down and be careful not to damage the surrounding clearcoat.
- Step 3: Applying Primer or Base Coat
Clean the area with alcohol and allow to air dry. Then apply the primer or base coat using a fine brush or a paint pen if it comes with the repair kit and allow to dry.
- Step 4: Applying Paint
Your car manufacturer applies paint in several layers and you need to mimic this procedure to get the desired effect. Apply the paint in thin layers and build it up, allowing adequate drying time between each layer. Make sure you keep the paint in the damaged area and do not paint surrounding areas.
- Step 5: Paint Sanding
Once the paint has dried, take a very fine wet & dry sanding paper and with a steady hand, sand down the painted area until you have it at the same level as the surrounding paint. For very small paint chips, wrap your sanding paper around the blunt end of a pencil to ensure you don’t scratch the surrounding paint.
- Step 6: Applying Lacquer
Apply the top coat or lacquer to seal the stone chip repair and allow adequate time to dry.
Protecting Your Car From Stone ChipsIt’s not possible to avoid ever getting stone chips in your paintwork but you can take preventative measures to reduce the risk and protect the paintwork by using a paint protection film like a clear vinyl wrapping. The vinyl wrapping will add an extra layer of protection and is a popular choice for prestige vehicles and those with custom paint that they want to protect – but it’s available to anyone wanting to protect their paintwork.
Stone Chip Repair CostThere are many repair kits on the market ranging from as little as £10 and can cost as much as £60. Don’t be tempted to go for the cheapest kit – they will come in a very limited range of colours and may not include everything you need to complete the repair.
A full panel respray can be quite expensive if it’s just one or two little stone chips in a localised area but a good professional bodyshop should be able to offer a localised SMART repair for stone chips and will use colour-matching technology to mix the correct paint tone to match your car. This localised repair method involves repainting only the damaged area, making the repair faster and much cheaper.