You’re travelling on the interstate behind a number of cars and a few 18-wheelers. You’re enjoying the sun and the feel of the road in the steering wheel. Then the sound you dread more than your spouse saying the in-laws coming over for the weekend: the sound of sand and pebbles hitting your precious outer skin. After you stop, you finally garner the courage to take a look. Your hood is no longer one single color. It’s a montage of teenage pimples that no longer reflect the sun in a single hue.
Unless you cover your car in plastic, you are destined to listen to this heartbreaking sound. However, there are some remedies. You could not drive it: hmmmm. You could have it covered in plastic. I’ve spoken with people that have had that done and they like it. And the good thing about that is that you get to pay a lot of money for it.
Another option is to do touch up paint on the nicks. I’ve used this on my Porsche and two of the cars my wife has had: an Infinity and a Honda; neither has exotic paint. My Porsche is a 1994 911-964. I was worried the paint would not match because of fading from ultra-violet light. I ordered a Dr. Colorchip package (despite their name). The color matched perfectly. Perfectly enough that from an angle, you could see where the small chip was, but not because of the color. The same was true with the Infinity and Honda.
I have spoken with other Porsche owners who also have tried Dr. Colorchip (wouldn’t you think they could have a more creative name? Let’s call it DC). They were not as successful. However, I have been using DC for years and every spring I order anther bottle. You can get the exact color number from a tag on your car. Use this number when ordering.
It takes a little work, the results are worth it. Also, you have to bear in mind that the place where the chip is now is probably exposed to the elements. Odds are then that another object from hell will knock another chip out in the same or near spot. So if you enjoy this process, you are in for nothing but fun.
The process itself is relatively easy. Wash the car first to find the area(s) you want color. If there are just a few chips, use a small piece of masking tape to mark the spots. If there are a lot of areas, chose a small one at a time. If you’re coloring a little larger area, mask off the area’s borders with masking tape. Once the paint is applied, these pieces of tape also act as reminders so you don’t forget one. I would start with a few spots in an out of the way spot and see how the color matches. Before you start, use a cotton swab and thoroughly clean the area with rubbing alcohol.
Once the area is clean and had time for the alcohol to evaporate, shake the DC bottle thoroughly. Put on a latex glove. For chips, I then use a Q-tip, tooth pick or anything that smallish that will give control of the volume of paint you want to apply. Bear in mind, it’s easier to add more than the reverse. Once the dab of paint is applied, immediately smear the paint with your thumb (thus the glove). This forces the paint into the crevices and makes it very thin and thus easier to remove the excess.
DC doesn’t say exactly how long to allow it to dry. Like most care finish products, they do recommend not to do this in direct sun light. The first few times I waited a few minutes for the paint to dry. Then fifteen minutes. Now, I wait an hour or more.
DC supplies a “blending solution”. Its purpose is to remove the excess paint that was applied to the area around the chip. They don’t really say how much to use. The more you use the easier the paint comes off. However, that is not really the goal, is it. You want the excess paint removed but you want the paint to stay in the chip. I only use cotton t-shirts for this and count the number of drops I apply to the cotton. Any other material like finger nails and so forth will obviously scratch the finish and you’d have to apply more paint and then remove it and then apply... Kurt Vonnegut would be proud of that logic.
Some types of chips and scratches are easier to cover than others, The smaller the better. Once again , as in most of life, size matters. Not only is size important but shape as well. A longer needle-thin scratch is much easier to fill that a shorter wider chip. Some spots require more than one application. This is especially true of wider, rounder chips. Here, it is difficult to remove the excess paint without also removing the paint in the chip.
The images below are from the driver side in front of the rear wheel well: before, during and after. The after is following two applications of DC.
I hope this has been helpful.
After two coats