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.
They 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 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.
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.
Our latest blog can help you remove 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 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 for you to try to fix a stone chip repair on your vehicle:
- 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.
- 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.
- Apply the primer or base coat. Use a very fine brush or paint pen if your kit comes with one. Allow to dry.
- 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.
- 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.
- Apply a top coat or lacquer to seal the stone chip repair and allow it to dry.
How to Protect 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 of damage that could need repairing. 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 a special colour or custom paintwork you want to protect.
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.
How Much Does a 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, 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.
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.