frequently asked questions

Q: What is the best weather to apply touch up paint?

A: 70F and 50% humidity is optimal painting weather. As the weather gets colder or hotter, the behavior of the paint changes and will alter your results. You may see blotches or blushing, bubbling, discoloration, or a gritty texture as a result of the weather. Of course, not all places have perfect weather, but you want to try and get it as close as you can. If you live somewhere hot, try an air conditioned garage, late at night, or early in the morning. In cold climates, use a heated garage, or paint on a clear sunny day when the air is a little warmer. NEVER paint in direct sunlight, in windy conditions, above 80F, or below 55F.

Q: What exactly is feathering and how do you do it?

A: Feathering means to gradually progress through something in layers or stages from a central point. While repairing damage to a vehicles finish, you may use a feathering technique for a few different reasons and with a few different products. When sanding body filler you sand the edge so that it gradually blends into the undamaged paint and creates a smooth paintable surface. This technique is called feathering. You may also use a feathering technique while spraying the color or clear. The first coat goes on locally around the repaired area and with each additional coat you purposefully spray further out. This helps blend the repair into the surface.

Q: I would like to paint my computer case a cool color. Can I use car paint?

A: Yes, since computer cases are made of either metal or plastic and so are the parts on a car, the process is the same. The only real difference is that with a car, the color code points to a specific color and formula. So if you want to paint your computer you will have to pick a color from a chip book which we can provide. Once you pick a color then it's very easy for us to get you what you want. Also, if you see a car with the color you want all you need to do is get the year, make, model, and color code from the car and we will be able to make you some for your computer.

Q: Can I use touch-up paint on my washing machine or other home appliances?

A: Yes, you can certainly use automotive touch-up paint for appliances. The only issue is that appliances do not have color codes or a documented formula for the paint. The only way to make the paint would be by eye matching it. To do this we would need something with the color you want on it like a chip from the appliance or some kind of color swatch. From that we can custom make the paint for you, and pack it in any form you want such as spray cans, touch up bottles, or paint pens. The process for applying the paint would be exactly the same as applying single stage automotive paint (no clear).

Q: Are there any special chemical cleaners I should use before applying the color coat?

A: Before you do any repair you should wash the area well with hot soap and water. Then follow with a solvent based cleaner like wax and grease remover. Doing both these steps will ensure that there are no contaminants in the finished project.

Read the full article on touch up paint preparation here

Q: How long should I let the filler dry? If it dries too long is it harder to work with?

A: How fast body filler dries is determined by how much hardener is mixed in. When the correct amount is used, body filler will be sandable in about 10 minutes. If you're filling a large spot this would be the time to use a cheese grater to knock down most of the bulk and extra filler. After about 20 - 30 minutes the filler will be completely dry and will be sandable. So once you mix the hardener in, you have to start working with it. If you take too long it will start to get sticky and difficult to spread. If you over harden the filler it will become brittle and crack easily. If you under harden, it may never harden completely and will stay tacky or moveable. A little trick to get the right amount is a golf ball sized dollop of filler to a 2 inch ribbon of hardener.

Q: A section of my car is very dull. It's about a foot square. Can I use touchup on this?

A: Most likely, if parts of your car are now dull it's because the clearcoat has come off. This is common with some older cars. The clear gets thin from being exposed to the rain, snow, ice and heat. Eventually it gets so thin that it just flakes off. The most common areas for this to happen are on the trunk lid, hood, and roof of the vehicle since these are affected by the elements the most. In most cases, you can just sand the entire area that is flaking with some 1500 to 2000 grit sandpaper and re-spray the clear. In less common cases the basecoat has been exposed long enough that it is either faded or damaged. In this case the color will have to be re-sprayed as well.

Q: Am I suppose to put etching primer on the bare metal before the filler?

A: No, you put the body filler first and then after it dries and you sand it smooth then you can apply the etching primer. This is because of what causes rust; air, moisture, and time. The body filler will fill the ding as well as protect the bare metal from air and moisture. Then the primer sprayed over the filler will protect the areas around the filler as well as give the basecoat paint something to stick to.

Q: My touch-up kit came with a multigrit pack of sandpaper. When do I use each of the grits?

A: Here is a general guide for what grits are used for what:

24, 36, 40, 80, 100 = Paint striping, metal grinding, taking down large amounts of body filler

120, 150, 180, 220 = Feathering body filler, prepping metal and rusted areas for primer or body filler

240, 320, 360, 400, 500, 600 = Primer sanding, first body filler smoothing, first prep of body filler for primer

800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000 = Final smoothing of body filler, final prep of body filler for primer, clearcoat sanding

In general, when you are sanding anything, you start at the lowest grit for that particular job and work your way up to the highest grit. That will give you the best results in the finished product.

Q: The exposed metal has a little rust on it. How do I prep this before applying the etching primer?

A: If the rust is not that bad you can just sand with 600 grit and then follow up with 1000 grit. When the surface is nice and smooth, apply the primer.

Q: Can I use primer to fill a chip? What is the best way to fill a chip?

A: Some primers have a certain amount of "fill" to them but most are not meant for that. And even the ones that do have fill are meant to fill fine scratches, not chips. The best way to fill a chip is to use some kind of body filler. After the filler dries you can sand it smooth then prime it, paint it, and clear it. Another way to fix a chip without using filler is to just sand it down smooth, prime it, paint it, and clear it.

Q: Do I apply clear coat blender after the clear is dry or before?

A: The clear coat blender is used to melt the edge of the clear into the surface of the car. This produces a much cleaner and professional looking repair. Simply spray on your clear and while it's still wet, mist a thin coat of the blender around the edges. After 10 minutes you can apply a second coat of clear and follow with the blender again. Be sure to wait 1 hour for the clear to cure before touching it.

Q: How many coats of clear will I need? Should I sand it? If so, what grit?

A: If applied correctly you should only need about 3 coats. Try to make the surface look wet and smooth on each coat. If you see texture then you do not have enough clear sprayed on the surface. After the 3 coats the surface should be as smooth as glass. After the clear dries there should be no need to sand unless you have texture or dirt in the surface. If you have to, wait 24 hours and sand with 1000 to 2000 grit. Then buff the surface out with a buffing compound or hand glaze.

Q: When I spray the color coat, will it appear darker before it dries?

A: If the color is NOT a metallic it should not look any darker. If it IS a metallic color it may look a little darker because all the flakes in the paint are moving around. Once it dries some you will be able to get a better idea of how it looks. If at this point it still looks too dark it may be that too heavy of coats were sprayed or the paint dried too quickly because it was too hot where it was sprayed.

Q: When should I use filler on a bumper scratch if ever?

A: If the damage goes into the plastic underneath and there is a gouge then it will need to be filled with flexible putty. If the plastic is not damaged there is no need to use filler. In that case, you would just sand it smooth, prime the area, paint it, then clear it.

Q: How heavy should the coats be? How can I be sure I have put enough primer on the bare plastic?

A: When you're spraying paint you want to achieve what's called "hiding". Achieving hiding means that there is enough build up that you can't see what's underneath the primer or paint any more. With primer, you should achieve hiding after only one or two coats if sprayed correctly. When spraying the color the number of required coats varies from color to color. Reds and yellows are very transparent colors and will require three to five coats before you achieve hiding. On the other hand, black and white cover quickly and will only require two to three coats. The key is to keep spraying coats till you achieve the hiding you want, regardless of the color. Its important to remember that if you find yourself spraying five, six, or seven coats before you achieve hiding you may be spraying too light of coats. The best results will come from spraying a low number of medium-wet coats with ten minutes between each coat. Medium-wet means the surface will look smooth and wet but not dripping. Too light of coats will cause texture and ultimately a dull finish.

Select your year, make and model now.Don't leave those scratches or tiny chips another day. They are plain ugly and make your car look bad. If left untreated, they will start to rust which will cost you a lot of money in repairs or lowered resale value. Applying touch up paint to your vehicle is the cheapest way to protect your investment. With our help, you will be able to make your car look great and prevent further damage. It's easy. Start by selecting the year, make, and model of your vehicle right here...

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