How to Touch up Car Paint: Three Effective Methods

Touching up car paint for covering small scratches and scuffs is quite popular these days. It’s the easiest time and money-saving method. If you are wondering whether you can do it by yourself or how to apply touch up paint, we are here to help you! Learn about the best way to touch up paint on car in our easy guides on how to touch up car paint.

Getting scratches and scuffs on your car is quite normal. During daily commutes, a car can get hit by other vehicles or get scratches in the parking lot or from the walkways. Furthermore, the base coating might chip-off for some particular reasons. There is no way to stop or control these occurrences but solutions are there to restore the car’s previous look. Keep reading to learn essential details and various easy procedures for touching up paint on car.

A Guide on How to Touch up Car Paint

We will be talking about several touch-up procedures, depending on the size/type of damage. The list of the supplies might seem long but doing the process correctly requires the right tools.

how to apply touch up paint
You can do small touch-up paint at home. (Source: Gkbediako / Wikimedia Commons)

Method 1: Car Paint Touch up for Covering Chips

You will need the following supplies for this paint job:

  • Needle and Syringe for paint or touch up pen
  • Touching up auto paint
  • A dipstick
  • Brush paint
  • Primer
  • Toothpick

How to Touch Up Car Paint for Covering Chips

The exterior coating of a car can chip off for many reasons. It could fall off over time, due to getting smashed into solid objects, and many other reasons. Have a look at the steps below and learn how to apply touch up paint to car to seal such spots.

Step 1

The first step is to find out the right color for your car. There should be a sticker on your car containing a barcode and other information. If you can’t find that, check the owner’s manual or contact the dealer. Using a mismatched color will make the repainted patches stick out like a sore thumb.

Next, clean your vehicle. Otherwise, the paint won’t be sticking well and all of your efforts will go down the drain.

Step 2

It’s time to inspect the size of the damaged area. If it’s a tiny spot, you can fix that with a dipstick and toothpick. Apply some primer into the spot with a toothpick. Next, dip the dipstick into the paint and transfer some into the toothpick. Then, apply it with ease on the chipped off area.

If the damage fits the nib of a pen, you can use the touch-up pen. Before using the pen, shake it well to allow the paint inside to flow easily.

If the areas are bigger than a 1-inch diameter, go for brush painting. Also, don’t forget to put a primer before covering the areas with paint.

Method 2: How to Touch Up Car Paint to Remove Paint Transfer

Collect the following supplies before starting this task:

  • Abrasion tool with microfiber cutting pad
  • Paint remover
  • Small towels
  • Safety goggles
  • Paint materials for covering chips

The Procedures for Removing Paint Transfer

Any object or another vehicle can scratch onto your car, transferring their paintwork onto your car’s body. You must contact a professional service if there is damage from the collision. But it’s possible to do a DIY repair if it involves just paint transferring.

Follow these steps below to know how to remove foreign paint marks and how to do touch up paint on car.

Step 1

The first step is finding the correct paint color and washing the car’s body to make the touching-up process effective. Wear the goggles as a safety measure and take some paint remover on a towel. Next, wipe off the transferred paint by gently rubbing the remover on it.

Step 2

Collisions can create scuffs and chips on the exterior paintwork. If the damage is not too deep (does not go beyond the exterior layer), you can fix those spots at home.

Use the supplies and follow the steps suggested for car paint touch up for covering chips.

Step 3

When you are done applying the paint, the next step is to even out the painted areas. How to smooth out touch up paint on car in this particular case? Well, use an abrasive tool with a microfiber cutting pad and even out the lumpy sides.


Method 3: Touching up Auto Paint for Small Scratches

You will need the following supplies:

  • Airbrush flow pencil
  • Air compressor
  • Abrasion tool with microfiber cutting pad
  • Paint remover
  • Small towel
  • Safety goggles

Procedures for Fixing Small Scratches

Getting small scratches on the car’s body is a common thing. Let’s see how we can handle this type of situation.

Step 1

Wash your car, select the right color. If you see foreign paint streaks, wipe them off with a paint remover. Follow the same method mentioned for removing paint transfer.

Step 2

Next, apply the paint with an airbrush flow pencil. If you are thinking about how to smooth out touch up paint on car, there is no need to worry. Use an abrasion tool.

Use the abrasion cautiously because a vigorous attempt will cause more base paint to flick off. Also, collect the microfiber cutting pad to ensure safe polishing. For a bigger damaged area, try using the airbrush-flow pencil. Otherwise, it will take longer to fix the paint and you may end up messing it up more.


You might find this how to touch up car paint guide a little overwhelming with all the procedure and steps being mentioned ‘easy’ at the beginning. Well, the repair work mainly depends on the type of damage. Besides, all the steps are straightforward. You just need to make sure that you have the tool we have suggested. Otherwise, you will need to take the car to a repair shop for fixing small or bigger scratches, which will cost a good amount of money.