Stone Chip Repair: Tips to Fix Car Paint Chips

Stone chips are a common feature in car paintwork, usually on the bonnet or bumper. They create small, deep and very localised damage in the paint. Stone chips on bonnets are usually the result of gravel and road debris flicked from the tyres of vehicles in front of you onto your vehicle. Due to this, they are more common when motorway driving where debris is more likely to be flicked because of the higher speed of vehicles in front of you. Unfortunately, at these higher speeds, the little stones can leave a ding or small mark in your paintwork.

Stone chips on cars are also more common in winter as salt-spreaders throw grit over the roads which is then either, flicked onto your vehicle directly by the salt-spreaders or by other vehicles more often because of the extra debris on the road. This damage can also be made worse by winter weather, as rainwater and ice from the lower temperatures settle and get into the chip and affect the metal underneath your car’s paintwork.

car stone chip repair

Because of the common reasons above, stone chips are difficult to avoid, but they can be easily and usually inexpensively fixed. This makes stone chip repair easy for vehicle owners, which is an advantage as it is important to repair the damage as soon as possible, so it doesn’t worsen in rainy or icy conditions.

So if you are wondering how to fix paint chips on a car, our latest blog can offer advice on removing chips and scratches from your vehicle with its top tips on removing scratches from your car paintwork.

When Not to Try a DIY Stone Chip Repair?

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

  • 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 new paint cannot stick or 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 much more costly repair or panel replacement in the future than if it was fixed when it first appeared. For more information, read our blog: Can ChipsAway complete a rust repair?

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Stone Chips?

The cost of repair kits to fix stone chips depends on the type of kit you use. The cost to fix stone chips is typically £10 – £50. But don’t be tempted to go straight for the cheapest kit, they come in a very limited range of paint colours, which might leave a noticeable repair. Some companies might offer paint to match your car’s specific colour code which is usually less noticeable than the cheaper kits.

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 just the damaged area. This allows the repair to be kept localised to the damaged area, saving you time and money. Professionals will use colour-matching technology to mix the paint, to match your car which is even more accurate and less noticeable than matching a colour code.

Stone Chip Repair FAQs:

Can a stone chip be repaired?

Yes, stone chips in car paintwork can be repaired to some extent. There are various methods and products available for repairing stone chips, depending on the size and severity of the damage.

For smaller stone chips, you can use touch-up paint to fill in the affected area. Clean the chip, apply primer, and then use a fine-tipped brush or an applicator pen to carefully fill in the chip with matching touch-up paint. Allow each layer to dry before applying the next, and finish by blending the repair with polishing compound.

For more extensive damage, professional services like paintless dent repair or chip repair kits may be necessary. Paintless dent repair can be effective for certain types of dents and chips without damaging the existing paint. Chip repair kits often come with specialised tools and materials designed to fill and seal the damaged area.

While these methods can improve the appearance of stone chips, it’s important to note that they may not provide a perfect or completely invisible repair. For a flawless result, especially with larger or more severe damage, seeking professional assistance from a body shop or auto detailing service might be the best option.

How do you touch up stone chips on a car?

When removing stone chips, it takes patience, a close paint match and a steady hand. Here are our step-by-step instructions on how to touch up stone chips.

  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 topcoat or lacquer to seal the stone chip repair and allow it to dry.

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Can WD 40 remove car scratches?

While WD-40 is a versatile product known for its lubricating and water-displacing properties, it is not designed specifically for removing car scratches. WD-40 may temporarily mask the appearance of car scratches by filling them in and providing a glossy surface, but it does not actually repair or remove the paintwork damage.

For more effective and lasting scratch removal, consider using a dedicated automotive scratch remover, such as T-Cut or a car polish. These products are formulated to address minor scratches and swirl marks on car paint.

For deeper or more extensive scratches, it’s advisable to consult with a professional repair, such as ChipsAway. They have the expertise and tools to assess the damage and perform more advanced repair techniques, such as paintwork scratch repairs. ChipsAway offer free, no-obligation repair estimates – get yours here.

Is it worth getting stone chips repaired?

Repairing stone chips on your bumper or bonnet can be worth it, and the decision depends on various factors such as the size, location, and number of chips, as well as your aesthetic preferences and the overall condition of your vehicle. Here are some considerations:

Preventing Further Damage – Addressing stone chips promptly helps prevent further damage to your paintwork. Chips can expose the underlying metal, making it susceptible to rust and corrosion. Repairing car damage can protect your car from more extensive and costly damage.

Preserving Resale Value – If you plan to sell your car in the future, having a well-maintained exterior, free from visible chips and scratches, can contribute to a higher resale value. Potential buyers often find well-kept vehicles more appealing.

Aesthetics and Appearance – Stone chips, especially if they are numerous or located prominently, can affect the overall appearance of your car. Repairing them enhances the aesthetic appeal of your vehicle, giving it a cleaner and well-maintained look.

DIY vs. Professional Repair – Small stone chips may be addressable with DIY touch-up kits, but larger or more extensive damage may require professional help. Professional repairs, while more expensive, often yield better results and a more seamless finish.

Insurance Coverage – If you have comprehensive car insurance, check whether stone chip repairs are covered. Some insurance policies may cover minor cosmetic damages, making it more cost-effective to repair the damage.

Are stone chips on cars common?

Yes, stone chips on cars are quite common. Stone chips occur when small rocks or gravel on the road are kicked up by moving vehicles and collide with the car’s paintwork. This can result in small chips or dings in the paint or even cause damage to the underlying metal. The front of the vehicle, including the bonnet, bumper and wheel arch are particularly susceptible to stone chips due to the proximity to the road. 

Can you spray over stone chips?

It is not possible to just spray paint over stone chips as you will be left with indentations in the paintwork. The chips must be repaired or filled in before a paint is applied.

Why does my car keep getting stone chips?

While stone chips are a common occurrence, they can be prevented or minimised by avoiding gravel or unpaved roads whenever possible and using protective measures like mud flaps or clear protective films (such as paint protection film) on vulnerable areas of the car. Regularly washing and waxing your car can also help protect the paint and reduce the impact of stone chips.

What is the best protection for 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 of damage that could need repairing. Typically, the best protection for stone chips is a paint protection film, however this option is the most expensive (starting at approximately £500). A paint protection film is a clear plastic film that is applied to your car by a professional to protect commonly damaged areas. For more information on how vinyl wrapping could help protect your vehicle from stone chips, read our post on how and why to use vinyl wrapping.

The second option for protection against stone chips is a spray-on car paint sealant, such as Supagard. The cost of applying Supagard to your car depends on the size but is cheaper than a protective film.

The final option is a DIY solution using wax and sealants (typically costing between £20-£50). When washing your car, consider incorporating a car wax and sealant either during the shampoo stage or afterward when the car is dry. This helps apply a thin protective coating to the paintwork, which will help to prevent stone chips.

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

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