Should You Touch Up Stone Chips Yourself?
Stone chips are a certainty on any car that sees regular usage on American roads. Poor road condition, construction work, and inconsiderate drivers are all factors that lead to these tiny bits of paint damage. Unfortunately, stone chips are rarely solitary creatures. Instead, these seemingly minor blemishes add up over time, leaving your hood, roof, or doors looking like they've been through a warzone.
You've got plenty of options for stone chip repair, but is the do-it-yourself solution the best way to go?
The Pros and Cons of Quick Paint Touch-Up Kits
Many paint touch-up kits on the market can technically repair these tiny bits of damage. Depending on how much you want to spend, you might end up with a "good enough" color, or paint that's an exact match for your car. Whichever option you choose, you'll typically get either a kit involving several stages or a simple touch-up pen.
While the pens might seem like the best and easiest option, they often fail to produce adequate results. Misusing a pen can result in unsightly blobs over the chip and could make the area look far worse than it did before. Even when you apply the paint correctly, you may still find the results leave something to be desired, especially if you're trying to cover a large area.
The only true advantage to these kits is that they provide a quick and easy way to add paint to your vehicle. If your only goal is to prevent rust by covering bare metal, a touch-up pen or kit may be acceptable. Once you apply the paint and allow it to cure, you can achieve the best possible result by thoroughly buffing and polishing the area.
The Pros and Cons of Professional Repair
If your goal is to restore your car to a factory shine, there's no substitute for using a professional repair shop to fix your paint chips. While they may appear small, it's important to remember that each chip still represents significant damage to your paint. A correct, permanent, and attractive repair requires the same preparation and care as any other automotive paintwork job.
While it'll cost more to have your paint chips repaired by a professional, the final result will blend more seamlessly with your existing paint. Relying on a professional can be particularly beneficial if you're dealing with many paint chips across your hood. Poor quality fixes across a large area may leave the paint looking blobby, uneven, or cloudy compared to the rest of the body panel.
The best decision for you will depend on your car, needs, and budget. A do-it-yourself kit may achieve satisfactory results if you only have one or two small chips. However, using a professional service is often the best way to go if your goal is to achieve a smooth and seamless repair.