Stone Chips, Dings, and Scractches, Oh No!
Dings, scratches, and stone chips happen to cars, even if you’re careful. If you buy an older used car, they’re just part of the used-car owner experience. How much to worry about them? Read on for a quick guide to touching up the paint chips that can lead to rust.
Is it Something To Worry About?
Look carefully at the chip: if you can see white or a pale, dull version of your car’s color, the chip is only through the top layer of paint. What you’re seeing is primer. You’ll still want to touch this up, but it’s not as critical as if you can see shiny metal. You can definitely simply roll with these small flaws and let them be, especially if your car is older or has higher mileage.
If you can see shiny metal, however, the chip has damaged all the layers of paint and the bare metal is showing. This is a bigger deal, as bare metal will begin to rust pretty quickly, even in climates with no winter salt use.
So, if you can see shiny metal in the missing spot of paint . . .
You’re Going To Need Your Car’s Real Color
I bet you thought your car was “red,” didn’t you? Wrong! It could be any of these…
- Brick Red Pearl Metallic
- Stryker Red
- Midnight Garnet
- Dark Toreador Red
- Diablo Rosso
- Soul Red Crystal
- Imola Red
There are dozens of shades of each color of automotive paint and they vary between manufacturers as well. The best way to get the best match is to look up the paint code for your specific car. It will be on a label inside the driver’s side door jamb and is often a combination of letters and numbers several digits long. Sometimes the color will be spelled out for you, like “Black Sapphire Metallic,” but more often you’ll have to suss out which of the numbers on the label is the color code. Here are some of the acronyms used on the labels.
CC means “Color Code”
PC is “paint code.”
C/TR stands for “Color/Trim”
BC stands for “Body Color”
CO means “color.”
Here’s a page full of examples for many popular manufacturers.
Armed with the proper color name or code, you can go to handy Google, locate a company that sells touch-up paint kits, and order the paint. Choose one that offers a complete kit with paint, prep wipes, and a clear coat. For example, I really like what TouchUpDirect has to offer, with the paint in easy-to-use pens and everything you need included.
It’s not likely you’ll get a perfect, flawless paint repair with these types of kits. For flawless, you’d need to pay a good body shop to repaint the entire panel of your car. However, you’ll be able to cover the bare metal or the white primer that’s showing, prevent rust, and minimize the appearance of those small chips and dings.
I’m Here To Help!
I’m here to help if this gets overwhelming! Contact me!
And remember: not all paint chips are equally terrible. If your car is older, already has rust started, or the chips are very minor, you’ve got my permission to not stress about it at all.