How to touch up your vehicle’s exterior

Metro Service
Medium-sized chips, nicks and scratches are best addressed with touch up bottles.

■ Metro Service / Contributed

Warm weather is synonymous with many things, including summer vacations. But for auto enthusiasts, spring, summer and even fall would not be the same without road trips. Road trips often instill a spirit of rejuvenation in drivers and their passengers, and there’s no reason that spirit cannot be applied to vehicles as well.
Vehicle touch ups were once a realm reserved specifically for mechanics or the most ardent auto enthusiasts. But nowadays even weekend warriors can address the minor dings, chips and scratches on their vehicles, saving them both time and money.

• Crack the color code. One of the fears novices commonly have when touching up their vehicles is that they won’t find the exact match with regard to their vehicle’s exterior color. The key to the perfect color match is contained in the vehicle’s color code, which can be found somewhere on the vehicle, most often on the inside of the driver’s side door. Consult your owner’s manual or call the vehicle manufacturer if you cannot find the color code on your vehicle. Once you find the code, you can then order your color. Employing the most extensive library of OEM colors in the industry, Automotive Touch up makes it as simple as ever for drivers to create and order the exact colors to touch up their vehicles’ exteriors. Paints are created per order during a simple, three-step online ordering process using a vehicle’s specific color code, make, model and year, and orders are shipped directly to consumers, saving them from making a trip to the often intimidating automotive supply store. The result is drivers rest easy with the knowledge that they aren’t ordering and subsequently applying the incorrect color to their car or truck.

• Use the right application tool. Dings, chips and cracks come in many shapes and sizes, and the appropriate touchup tool will depend on the type and size of the blemish. Small chips and nicks and thin scratches are best addressed with pens, while you might need a small bottle of clear coat to address slightly larger areas. Use an aerosol spray can to address areas that have experienced extensive damage. When applying the paint, use several light coats rather than one heavy coat. Drivers concerned about their application abilities can visit the AutomotiveTouchup website to access a library of educational videos that illustrate how to use the various application tools. Visitors to the website also can speak directly with a team of advisors who can walk them through their projects.

• Recognize that practice makes perfect. Even if you are confident you purchased the right paint, it’s still best to practice using your touch up paint prior to applying the paint to your vehicle. Use a glossy sheet of paper or metal can as a practice surface, and then hold that practice surface up next to your vehicle to confirm your choice and calm any lingering nerves you may have about the paint match.

• Paint in the right conditions. Before applying any paint, thoroughly clean the affected areas. A simple formula of dish soap and water should do the trick, but be sure to allow the area to dry completely before continuing. When using aerosol cans, the ideal temperature to spray is between 70° and 80°F and humidity should be 50 percent or less. Never spray primer, paint or clearcoat in direct sunlight.

• Allow the paint time to dry. Drying times vary depending on the temperature. Paints may take longer to dry when temperatures are below 70°F than they will when the weather is warmer. Once the application process is complete, do not wax the vehicle for 30 days.

Few vehicles make it through road trip season without a scratch or two, and now drivers can quickly and affordably address those chips and nicks on their own in a matter of minutes.

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