Stone Chip Repair: Tips to Fix Car Paint Chips

Stone chips are a common feature in car paintwork, usually on the bonnet. They create small, deep and very localised damage in the paint.

Stone chips are a common feature in car paintwork, usually on the bonnet. They create small, deep and very localised damage in the paint.

They are the result of gravel and road debris flicked from the tyres of vehicles in front of you. Due to this, they are more common to be a result of motorway driving. Unfortunately, at high speeds the little stones can leave a ding in your paintwork.

Stone chips are more common in winter as salt-spreaders throw grit over the roads. The damage can be made worse by winter weather, as water and ice get into the chip and affect the metal underneath.

Stone chips are difficult to avoid, but they can be fixed. It is important to repair the damage as soon as possible, so it doesn’t worsen in the rain,.

See our latest blog for our top tips on removing scratches from your car.

When not to try a DIY repair

Upon finding a stone chip, many people decide to touch up the paint themselves. This can work for small areas of damage, but there are times when your car should go to a professional.

  • When the stone chip has exposed the base metal
  • When the car damage has rust spots
  • When you have multiple chips or very large chips

Rust is a problem for chip repairs as the paint cannot adhere to rusty metal. If you don’t clear up the rust first, it will continue to spread through the metal. This can result in a costly repair or panel replacement in the future. For more information, read: Can ChipsAway repair rust in a car?

How to fix stone paint chips on your car

When removing stone chips, it takes time, a close paint match and a steady hand. Here are our step-by-step instructions:

  1. Clean the area with soap and water, then rub down with alcohol or white spirit. This step is vital to remove grease and give the paint a good surface to adhere to. Allow the area to dry
  2. Sand down any raised edges around the chip. You can use a cutting compound like T-Cut for this, or very fine grain wet and dry sandpaper. Take care not to damage the surrounding clearcoat, don’t rub too hard
  3. Apply the primer or base coat. Use a very fine brush or paint pen if your kit comes with one. Allow to dry
  4. Apply the paint in thin layers. Your car paint is originally applied in several layers, so you need to mimic this. Allow the paint to dry between layers. Make sure to keep the paint within the damaged area and not spread onto surrounding areas
  5. Once the paint is dry, sand gently to make it the same level as the surrounding paint. You need very fine grain, wet sandpaper and a steady hand. For small chip areas, wrap the sandpaper around the blunt end of a pencil, to ensure you don’t scratch the surrounding paint
  6. Apply a top coat or lacquer to seal the stone chip repair and allow to dry

Protecting your car from stone chips

There is no way to avoid ever getting a stone chip in your paintwork. But, you can use a paint protection film to minimise the risk. A clear vinyl wrapping may be something you want to consider, to provide another level of protection. It’s a good choice if you have custom paintwork you want to protect.

For more information, read our post on how and why to use vinyl wrapping.

Stone chip repair cost

The cost of repair kits to fix stone chips depends on the type of kit you use. Prices start from around £10 and go up to £50. Don’t be tempted to go straight for the cheapest kit, they come in a very limited range of paint colours, that might leave a noticeable repair. Some companies might offer paint to match your car’s specific colour code.

A full panel respray is much more expensive, running to a few hundred pounds. But, many specialists will offer you a SMART repair (Small to Medium Area Repair Technology). This is a modern type of repair, which involves repainting the damaged area. This allows the repair to be kept localised to the damaged area, saving time and money. Professionals will use colour-matching technology to mix the paint, to match your car.

Thinking of getting your stone chip repaired? Our ChipsAway specialists are experts in car scratch removal. They offer a mobile car body repair service and can come to you at home or at work. Complete our online form, or call us on 0800 145 8118 for your free estimate.

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