One common problem in car paintwork is stone chips, especially on the bonnet. Stone chips create highly localised and deep damage in the paint.
Gravel, little rocks, and road debris flicked backwards from tyres of vehicles ahead of you are responsible for the stone chips and are usually quite common on motorways. At high speeds, even small stones can be transformed into miniature projectiles that leave deep dents in the paintwork.
Stone chips commonly occur during winter as the salt-spreaders throw sand over the roads. Also, Winter weather too exacerbates the damage quickly as ice and water get into the chip, corroding the metal beneath.
It is hard to avoid stone chips, but the good thing is that they are repairable. The trick is to ensure that damage is repaired without delay and not to leave it to deteriorate in the rain.
Here are our top tips for fixing car paint stone chips and how to protect:
When Not To Attempt DIY Repairs
When most people find a stone chip, the thought that comes to mind immediately is to perform repairs themselves. This approach can produce relatively good results for small, shallow damage, but you need to take your vehicle straight to a professional in some situations including:
- When you have very large chips or multiple chips
- When there are visible rust spots
- When the stone chips expose the base metal
When it comes to chip repairs, rust is a major problem since paint is unable to adhere to rusty metal. If you fail to first clear up the rust, it can continue spreading through the metal underneath the paint, which results in costly repairs or replacement panels later on.
How Do You Fix Stone Pain Chips On Your Vehicle?
DIY repairs for stone chips requires a steady hand, a paint that matches the colour of your vehicle and time. Here are our instructions to be followed systematically:
- Using soap and water, clean the affected area then rub it down using white spirit or alcohol. This is an important step for removing grease and giving the paint a proper surface to adhere to then leave the area to dry properly.
- Sand down all the paint chip's raised edges. Use a cutting compound such as T-Cut or very fine grain dry and wet sandpaper to do this. Avoid rubbing too hard so that you don't cause damage to the surrounding clearcoat.
- Apply the base coat or primer. Use either a paint pen if your kit has one or a very fine brush and allow it to dry.
- Apply the paint in thin layers. Your car paint was originally applied in layers and you should, therefore, mimic this. Let the paint dry thoroughly in between the layers. Ensure that the paint remains within the damaged area without spreading onto the surrounding areas.
- After the paint dries, gently sand it to make it level with the surrounding paint. You will require a steady hand and very fine grain wet sandpaper. Wrap the sandpaper around a pencil's blunt end taking care not to scratch the surrounding paint of the small chip areas.
- Apply lacquer or top coat to seal the stone chip repair then allow to dry.
How to protect your vehicle from stone chips
It is impossible to avoid getting stone chips on your paintwork. However, you can make use of paint protection film, such as clear vinyl wrapping, to provide an additional protective layer. It is a great option if you would like to protect your custom paintwork.
Costs Associated With Stone Chip Repair
The type of kit you choose will determine the cost of the repair kits for fixing your stone chips. Prices start from as low as £10 to as high as £50. Do not fall into the temptation of going for the cheapest kits, since they usually come in a limited range of paint colours, which might leave the repairs noticeable. Some companies even offer paint that matches the specific colour code of your vehicle.
A complete respray of the panel costs much more and can run to several hundred pounds.
However, a good professional auto body repair specialist should offer Small to Medium Area Repair Technology (SMART). It is a more modern type of repair that involves repainting of the damaged area, which makes it faster and cheaper to do.
Professionals take advantage of colour-matching technology for mixing the right paint tone that matches your vehicle. If your vehicle has a great paint finish, you can always consider using a professional over a DIY kit.
If you would like to get your stone chip repaired, you can get a free, no-obligation quote at www.CarRepairUK.co.uk.