The Process of Using Touch-Up Paints

Selecting, finding, and using touch up paints is a scary proposition for many people. The prospects of damaging the vehicle and making error is a massive problem.  You do not need to fear, however, touch up paints are made to be easy to use and the directions try to be as clear and simple as possible. The truth is that there are many people who do not consider themselves car, truck, or SUV people who successfully use the products all the time. You are no different as long as you get the right advice or help. Even the most squeamish of people can use touch up paints successfully. Chances are that you can do the same. 

Use New Paint Selector System to find the Right Paint for You. No Paint Codes Required. Click here.

People think that touch up paints are for scratches only, however, there are times when touch up paint is helpful for spots that may have rusted as well. No matter what the reason to use the paint is you can reliably break the process down into three steps which include getting ready, painting, and finishing the job. We will take a closer look at all the steps in a few moments. 

Getting Ready to Do the Job

Unfortunately, you might have to open your wallet a bit to do some of the steps provided. You should not find that there are any hidden steps, however. The good news is that that amount that you will pay is not large by any stretch of the imagination. Exactly what do you need to get in order to be successful? 

Well, honestly, if you buy the right kind of touch up paint, then a lot of these items will be included. If you are dealing with a rust issue, then you might need a touch-up paint that has a specialty tool to do with that problem. You will also have to clean the area after removing the blemish you have found. Some touch-up paints also include special tools that allow you to do this fairly easily. The abrasive surface will act like sandpaper, so being conscientious is key here.  Being abrasive with areas of the car that do not need it is a bad idea.  You may want to find yourself something to contain the painting area to the surface that needs it. In other words, something like painter's tape would be good, and you can find specific varieties for cars.  Finally, you will need your touch up paint. Many brands ask you for clear coat, but it is not necessary if you buy the right brand. In fact, you can find a brand with both the tools listed before and what you see here already added into the formula. If you do use a brand that requires a primer then we recommend that you skip the primer if you see metal or plastic that is not exposed to the outside world. You also want a micro-fiber cloth for obvious reasons. If you wash the vehicle beforehand, then you probably need a way to dry it. What you need for this action depends on what paint you have in your hand or what you are going to buy. You will need some mixture of the items mentioned above. 

One of the first places you can go if you are confused about what paint you actually need is contacting the automobile manufacturer. One of the most important things to do in the early stages is to match the paint or you will have a giant problem on your hands. You will have to choose between the two paint colors and then have your car, truck, or SUV repainted that way to match the area. You get what you pay for and buying cheap paint here is probably a bad idea. Some aftermarket paints are not well designed to match the specific colors of a car, truck, or SUV. It is the exact reason that we recommend that you use OEM paint. OEM paint means that the paint was created by the company that made the car or the company that the manufacturer trusted to make that particular part or paint for that car during production. Checking your car or vehicle for the paint code is also possible and the most likely places you will find it are under the door post or under the hood. You may find that it also located in the glove box in certain vehicle makes or models. You also have to keep in mind what type of touch up paint you have in your possession that is assuming you have the paint already. Touch-up paint pens are perfect for diminutive scratches or blemishes. They are good for your general scratch since larger scratches or damage are, thankfully, less common. The first thing you need to do is to get ready to do the work. 

Getting things lined up as they should be before you get started is the key to being very successful at doing any job including touch up paint work. You may not be great at it in the beginning so you need to be patient and understanding with yourself. 

You should always clean the area first. In fact, many times a good cleaning will eliminate the need for touch up paints at all. Hopefully this is the case for you, but you will have the paints if you need them. You should let the area completely dry before doing anything else. Obviously, you do not want the paint to mix with water. It could cause the paint to drip and it may change the color because of the weakening of the solution. Many people have to sand rust at this point. However, there are touch-up paints that include something to do this job. If you have one of those, then you should use the tool they provide. You must also make sure that the area is not dusty or has any kind of debris. You do not want to get those lodged beneath the paint you will apply. Again, you want the area clean before you start to work. Another good idea is to use paint tape or tape made for automobile painting to keep your work confined in an area. Every little piece helps when it comes to being precise with your painting. Getting things ready to go is one of the most important pieces of this puzzle. If you followed the instructions before this sentence then you have that well in hand by now. 

Touch up paints

You are close to being ready to utilize the touch-up paint to fix those scratches or blemishes. However, that does not mean that there is not a requisite amount of caution needed. Be careful that you know what the weather is doing before you start your work. The obvious problem here is rain. The sun can be just as damaging to you and your vehicle's new paint as well. Again, you should be wary that the paint does not get wet to prevent streaking. Paint works well when applied in the right conditions. It is up to you to replicate those conditions as closely as possible. Practicing applying the pain is also a very good idea. The first time you use the paint should not be when you are using it on your car. Here's some strong advice for you that you should consider. 

Go with the grain. The scratch goes a certain way and you should go the same way as well. It is a brush, but you may want to dab with the applicator. Have you seen oil in water? You need to think about that when you are painting the product. Touch up paint works a lot like that image. You should be careful if you use a pen or a spray in general. You should be very meticulous about how you are using the product. The best way to do this is to apply the paint and then count to three to make sure you are happy with your work. Ideally, you would do this several times. You should check your work every time to limit the possibility of problems.Seem like a lot of work? Do not worry. It will not be as difficult from here on out.  Use primer if directed by the instructions. Use the touch-up paint and then a clear coat if the directions ask for a clear coat.Pay special attention to the instructions especially any area that mentions the amount of time it takes for the paint to dry. Paint has a special way of making you wish you had paid attention to drying ties if you do not take this advice. Remember to follow the instructions on the label. It is at this point that some applications tell you to sand the painted area. The idea behind this is to get the edges flush with each other. If you do attempt this then you should know that you should be very careful with your new paint job. 


Of course, you are going to want to buff the area. Some touch-up paints actually give you a tool to use for this part. 

You will be done with your project after that previous step. If you do your job well enough then you, your friends and your family will never know the difference. It will be like the scratch never happened. 

Sources: Image by alegri from