How to Fix Peeling Paint on Car

Written by jeffrey kinsel
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Peeling paint on a car can quickly spread and turn from a small problem into a very large and expensive problem. Getting a car completely repainted can cost hundreds of dollars, but fixing the problem can be done at home with a few steps that can save a lot of money.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Terry cloth
  • Cloth scrubber
  • 500-grit sandpaper
  • Automotive primer
  • Automotive paint
  • Automotive clear coat

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  1. 1

    Determine how much area has been affected by peeling paint. Look at all parts of the car to see how large an area needs to be addressed; this will help you decide how much primer, paint and clear coat to buy.

  2. 2

    Clean the area to be treated. Use a terry cloth and a cloth scrubber to clean the area that's peeling and at least three inches beyond.

  3. 3

    Sand the area with fine sandpaper, such as 500 grit. Sand the paint down to the point that the underlying primer starts to come off. Sand the peeling area, continuing out to about two inches beyond it. This will help address the original peeling problem.

  4. 4

    Prime the area that you've sanded. Apply the primer evenly, and allow it to dry completely before you continue.

  5. 5

    Match the paint that's already on the car. Look in the owner's manual or inside the driver's-side door, or call the manufacturer, to determine the exact colour of the paint and where to buy it. In some cases, automotive-paint dealers can match the colour with a chip, but it is better to use the factory colour. It may be best to order the paint directly from the car manufacturer, if possible.

  6. 6

    Paint the sanded and primed area. Apply as many coats as necessary to ensure proper colour matching. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying another.

  7. 7

    Apply the clear-coat finish on top of the base coat, after the proper colour is reached. After the clear coat has been allowed to fully cure, wash and wax as usual.

Tips and warnings

  • Touch-up kits are a fairly easy solution, but often they do not last as long as the rest of the paint, or they do not match the existing colour correctly.

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