How to apply touch up paint

How to apply touch up paint

Mechanically sound cars are often junked because their bodies have rusted out. To prevent rust, wash the car often, wax it at least twice a year, and repair all chips, scratches, and dents before rust sets in.

Two types of paint can be used on cars, lacquer, and enamel. They cannot be mixed or the paint will crinkle. General Motors cars are usually finished with lacquer, most others are finished in enamel. Touchup paints are sold in aerosol cans marked with the carmaker’s color code number. These numbers are found on a plate mounted under the hood or on the doorpost of your car. If the paint on your car is an enamel, use enamel primer; if it is a lacquer, use a lacquer primer.

Before sanding and painting, clean the area with a commercial wax remover or rubbing alcohol. Always use wet or dry type sandpaper and keep it thoroughly soaked with water. Use small pieces and plunge them into a bucket frequently. They cannot be too wet. Minor paint stains and imperfections can be buffed out with a polishing compound, a white abrasive paste. This may dull the surface, but waxing will restore the shine. The orange-colored rubbing compound should be used only on pre-1964 cars. Follow instructions on fillers and paints. Do not wax new paint for two to three weeks.

Note: Regularly hose mud, snow, and salt build-up
from wheel wells and underbody of your car.


Scrape away loose paint particles with a penknife.
If you cannot scrape away at pieces of rust, you must sand them off. Spray some aerosol touchup paint into a paper cup. Dip an artist’s paintbrush into the paint and dab it onto the surface. Let the paint flow from the loaded brush into the chip.

Remove all of the rust and feather the edges of surrounding paint with very fine wet or dry sandpaper. Keep paper and repair area soaked with water. Cover adjoining panels with masking tape and several layers of newspaper. Cover chrome trim with masking tape. Use top of a pen to press tape down firmly. If a scratch is small, cut a hole to shape of damaged area in a piece if shirt cardboard. Hold cardboard an inch from the car and spray the primer through the hole. Let primer dry for 30 minutes, then sand smooth with sandpaper soaked in water. Clean area with rubbing alcohol. Apply color coat in same manner as primer.

Do not try to cover large areas with one heavy coat, or the paint will run. Use several quick, light coats. Let paint dry for three days, then rub with polishing compound.

For minor dents, pound out with your fist or use a plunger, press it against the body of the car and sharply pull it out. If this fails, drill a series of holes in the dent and insert sheet metal screws. Pull the dent out with a claw hammer, using slow, steady pressure against a hardwood block.

Remove the screws and sand with a # 40 sandpaper. Fill in the low areas with auto body filler, let it cure, and sand with a #80 sandpaper. Then you can proceed in touching up the car with the paint, as instructed above.


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