How to Use Touch-up Paint on a Car

Updated April 17, 2017

Touch-up paint does more for your car than hide scratches or chips in the paint. Touch-up paint also protects your car's surface from the elements and prevents rust from forming. Rust can form on even the smallest chips that reach down to the bare metal. The rust then spreads under the paint so you don't see it until the entire panel is rotten. Use touch-up paint to get your car looking good and prevent future damage.

Use the sandpaper stick pen to carefully sand the bare metal or centre of the chip or scratch. This helps the touch-up paint to adhere to the metal surface. Make sure to also sand the very edges of the chip or scratch to smooth the hard edge of paint next to the lower surface of the metal. Sometimes this can be seen after the touch-up paint has dried if it isn't sanded smooth.

Apply the touch-up paint with the applicator brush by brushing in short strokes along the scratch or by dotting the tip of the brush in a chip. If the chip or scratch is very small, use a toothpick to dip into the paint and apply the paint to the chip or scratch. Use very thin coats.

Let the touch-up paint dry for 30 minutes and then look to see if the touch-up paint is lower than the surface of the other paint. If it is, add another coat or two and allow it to dry completely.

Things You'll Need

  • 600-grit sandpaper stick pen
  • Touch-up paint
  • Toothpick
  • Small paint brush
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About the Author

Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including,, "Hoof Beat News," "Import Tuner" and others. Carver owns a custom automotive shop where she has been doing paint and body work, custom interior work and engine building for over 11 years.