Automotive Touch Up – What Not To Do

At ERA Paints we’ve seen it all, if you’re using high quality automotive touch up paint then the problems that occur are usually due to product application. This is true whether you’re using ERA Paint products or someone else’s. We are proud to say that we use premium paint that has set us apart from our competitors at an early stage. This doesn’t mean every project goes smoothly. This indicates error in application or someone not following the directions properly. To help smooth this process out here are some of the most common errors we see in automotive touch up!

automotive touch up
Don’t let this happen to your car paint!

What Not To Do When Applying Automotive Touch Up Paint.

Touch Up Paint Quality

What I stated above about using quality paint is probably the most important factor, so why not discuss this first. To start, remember to not use old car paint! Car paint is much different than what you would paint your house with. If the paint is over 6 months old, do not use it! That’s why touch up paint should be mixed AFTER you order it and shouldn’t be bought off the shelf.

Now there are numerous paint companies out there. What people don’t know is that the majority uses only 3 different manufacturers to mix the paint. When you send the order in the paint is then made that day(or at least it should be). Typically each manufacture sells different grades of paint. When looking for a paint company don’t automatically assume the cheapest is the way to go. There’s an old fashioned saying – Buy nice or buy twice! This holds true for automotive touch up paint. If you buy cheap paint, it’ll fade quickly, fall off or crack/chip. This means you’ll be buying paint again and you’ll be paying double what you would have the first time. ERA Paints sells premium quality paint, and some other companies will too. But we also pride ourselves on our customer service, so we ask, please give us a chance!(shameless self plug?)

The Wrong Sandpaper Grit

Using sandpaper on a touch up job is great, but many pick up anything laying around the house. This can cause more damage to the paint which of course, we do not want. In our touch up kits we include 600 grit sandpaper, this is a very fine sandpaper and works great for touch ups. It’s great you’re using sandpaper on your project! But please remember, wash and clean the area afterwards! If you don’t do this then you’ll be applying paint to loose particles over the sanded area making it very hard for the paint to stick.

Touching Up in Inappropriate Weather

Something many people are unaware of when touching up a vehicle for the first time is that they don’t wait for the right weather conditions. It can’t be to hot or to cold. Your paint’s behavior will change based on the weather. If it’s too hot or too cold the paint can bubble, discolor itself, blotch and more. The best conditions will be on a dry day around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Not Adding Enough Coats or Adding Paint to Thick 

This one isn’t always to obvious for first timers. Automotive touch up paint might seem more simple than completely painting a new car and in most ways it is. But the process is still the same most of the time. You want to sand away any rust spots, clean the area, apply primer, apply the base coat and finally add clear coat to give it a nice shine. What most don’t understand is that taking a little extra time and being patient can help you get the best look and results. If you can, ALWAYS apply multiple thin base coats allowing each coat to dry before applying another. Just 2-3 coats will work just fine. Make sure you level out the automotive touch up paint with the rest of the vehicle.

To Quick to Wax Your Vehicle

This one is a bit more rare, since come on, how many of you guys actually wax your car!? While you should wax your car, many don’t, and that’s okay. If you do plan on waxing your car to give it that extra boost in appeal remember to wait at least 25-30 days after applying new paint. This is because the paint can absorb the chemicals in the wax and can cause issues with the paint drying, rippling or thinning out. 


TLDR; Remember your car paint is complex and specialized made to withstand the elements in the long term while maintaining a great look. Take the time to learn how to apply it properly so you don’t have to do it again. I hope this helps you guys and remember to use ERA Paints for premium paint and accessories! 

Need a guide? Need a video explanation? Check them out here. Looking for products? Look below or check out our shop!

You can also check out YouTube for up-to-date videos on all things DIY Automotive!

Average Car Paint Touch up Cost

We all have owned a favorite vehicle where we spend countless hours each year maintaining the appearance inside and out. When we see a car scratch or chip in the paint it can immediately effect the overall appearance of an otherwise great looking car. Another big issue is that car scratches or chips can bring other issues, like rust or corrosion if not treated quickly. The big question most people have is, how much does car paint touch up cost and is it worth pursuing? 

Professional Auto Body Shops

Many car owners resort to professional auto body shops. If your car has great big dents and scrapes from all over from an accident or some other catastrophic event, then going to an auto body shop is a great option. Another option is the local dealer ship for your make of car. The great thing about a dealership is that they can order the paint themselves and find it with the vin number on your car. Although any professional auto body shop can get their hands on the correct paint in a very short amount of time or create it themselves.

The price at an auto body shop can of course vary depending on the scope of work. The more damage the higher the price. Going to a professional shop be it a dealership or auto body shop can raise the price of paint alone substantially. In addition to the paint, you’ll be paying for labor which will increase the average car touch up cost. The average cost for a professional dealer or auto body shop can charge anywhere from $800-$1200 in 2019. For small jobs it could be anywhere from $500-$800, anything less is not worth their time in labor. 

Average Car Paint Touch Up Cost For DIY

ERA Paints and other touch up repair companies will always advise you to do the job yourself. Why? Because touch up repair is very inexpensive when you do it yourself. Especially when you use a great company like ERA Paints(shameless self plug). We offer premium quality touch up paint and accessories with guides on how to do the job right the first time. Our touch up kits range anywhere from  $15-$30. The thing about diy touch up repair is that people normally think it’s very difficult when it’s not. We have all kinds of guides and videos on how to do this properly. 

The whole process doesn’t take much time, it does require some patience and maybe a little practice. If we can save you $500 or more than we definitely think it’s worth it in the long run.

Applying Touch Up Paint to Cars and Trucks

For many, applying touch up paint to your cars or trucks can seem like a daunting task. But with a little bit of research and knowledge of general practice anyone can do the project themselves and save A LOT of money in the process. All that you really need to focus on is making sure you follow the directions. We promise it’s easier than you think!

First thing you must realize is that we or any other touch up paint supplier can’t control the results of your project. It’s all in the touch up application, ERA Paints sales premium paint which sets us a part from our competitors. This all falls to the wayside if the customer ignores the directions and does not take his time with their project. This means that if you do not practice before applying your touch up paint, your results could vary from a professional or someone who has done it before.

Applying Touch Up Paint to Your Car or Truck in 8 easy steps:

  1. Order your touch up paint.

    At ERA Paints we have over 150,000 premium paint colors, and all the accessories you’ll need for you project. Need to find your paint code before you order? Use the tool at the top of the page “Click here to select paint code”. Note that the paint colors shown on the computer/mobile screen will never match perfectly. They should be used as a reference to help you quickly find your color. You can also find the paint code directly on your car. Use our how to find your paint code page to make this a simple process. 

  2. Practice and Test.

    First you need to make sure you selected the right paint code. Again, we always recommend that you find your paint code from your vehicle itself. You’ll also want to practice before going directly to you car. Before doing any prep work, USE THE ENCLOSED TEST CARD to test and see how well the paint matches your vehicle’s. You’ll want to color compare in full direct sunlight.

  3. Understand your tools. 

    There are several different tools and methods which can be used to apply primer, touchup paint and clear coat to scratches and chips on your vehicle. We have chosen a ‘dabber’ for our kits (as opposed to a brush or pen), as it works great as long as you know how to use it. So here are some helpful hits. First, we have included 2 dabbers for each bottle of paint you ordered. We’ve done this as a customer service gesture on our part so you will have an extra dabber for future use. Also note that these dabbers can be cleaned & reused – just use a little paint thinner or mineral spirits to completely clean the paint out of them. How to use: DO NOT use a dabber as a paint brush – you will destroy the tip and the fill-in scratch line will not be optimal. Instead gently dab a dot of paint into the scratch (light dots/coats only!) in a ‘connect-the-dots’ technique (see our video). Do not attempt to use the dabber to move paint inside the scratch – simply use many smalls ‘dots’. Your results will better if have patience and take your time filling in scratches or chips.

  4. Painting Conditions.

    Just like painting your home or anything else you need to pick a day anywhere from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also need to choose a day/area with low humidity that’s not in direct sunlight. Make sure to sweep the area before hand and make sure no dust will get stirred up into the air that could attach itself to wet paint.

  5. Prep your car or truck. 

    Clean the paint area you’re touching up using soap or wax and grease remover. We sell wax and grease remover in our touch up kit below. If you let your repair area go for a while it will have traces of rust, if this is the case use some fine sandpaper(at least 600 grit) to remove rust or bad surface damage.

  6. Apply primer(If purchased).

    Any place where you see bare metal needs primer. You’ll need this to dry completely. At least 30 minutes or overnight. Why you want to use primer? Primer attaches to the metal and the paint attaches to the primer. Paint does not attach well when applied directly to the metal so we ALWAYS recommend it. It also prohibits rust from developing. 

  7. Apply base coat.

    The base coat is the actual colored paint you received with your kit. Before using, THOROUGHLY SHAKE the touch paint jar upside down. THEN MIX THE PAINT THOROUGHLY WITH A TOOTH PICK, DABBER OR SIMILIAR TOOL. Apply as many dot-coats as necessary to cover the area, waiting 5-10 minutes minimum(20 minutes to be safe) between coats. Wax/Grease remover can be used to gently wipe away excess paint. If you are not applying clear coat over the paint, you can apply polishing compound to bring out the shine after the paint is fully dry(wait at least one day). We strongly recommend clear coat usage.

  8. Apply Clear coat(If purchased – strongly recommended):

    THOROUGHLY SHAKE the touch up paint jar upside down before applying. Allow at least 30 minutes after basecoat paint before applying clear coat. Gently apply multiple laters of clear coat dot-coats waiting 15-20 minutes between applications. Clear coat should be dry in 2 hours, but for best results let dry overnight. You should wait least one week before applying wax to the area.

We hope this guide has helped you with applying touch up paint to cars and trucks or any other vehicle you may have! You can always contact us for help!

For the best results we ALWAYS recommend using Primer, Basecoat, and Clear Coat when applying touch up paint to cars or trucks!

applying touch up paint to car

Learn better through video? Watch below. Or check our YouTube

How to Properly Prep a Panel for Automotive Spray Paint

Automotive Spray Paint

At ERA Paints, we many times are asked how to prep a panel for painting and clearcoat. We sell what we feel is the best automotive spray paint around, however if you don’t prep your surface correctly paint of any quality will NOT spray on and adhere properly. So spend a couple of minutes to read an intro to proper prep procedures. While you’re at it, please visit out youtube site where you’ll find lots of prepping & painting videos, along with a comprehensive catalog of How to Find Paint Code videos on your vehicle. Subscribe us at https://youtube.com/erapaints; you’ll be happy you took a look!

Cleaning

First, before doing any bondo-ing, sanding, priming or painting, you should always thoroughly CLEAN the surface. Wash the area with kitchen dish soap (Dawn or similar) and water (rinse thoroughly, dry completely). This process removes dust and dirt from the paint surface.

Wax/Grease Remover

Then use wax/grease remover (rubbing alcohol is an OK subsitute) to remove oils, grease, wax, tar, bugs and other contaminates. Simply put: automotive spray paint or primer will not stick to a contaminated surface – you will end up with fish eyes, paint flaking, etc if your surface is not property prepped. Even the oils from your hands will contaminate paint surfaces, so you should either wash your hands thoroughly before starting, or wear nitrile gloves. Paint does not react well to ANY type of oils and greases. Paint surfaces can also be impacted by contaminates in the air. So never be spraying lubricants like WD-40 or silicon any near your project area – you would be surprised at how such particles suspended in the air can contaminate a paint surface!

Remember that a car paint spray can is pressurized as it comes out of the aerosol can. You’d be surprised at how much air it pushes, and this suspends dust particles in the air. Therefore be sure to sweep the concrete or floor before beginning work and either tape off tires & adjoining panels or wash the mud & dust off from them. You MUST clean off tar or any other types of grime. The paint surface must be COMPLETELY free of any type of contaminates.

You can find all of the best automotive spray paint, automotive touch up paint, supplies and prep kits for your do-it-yourself Auto Touch Up Paint project at https://www.erapaints.com. We specialize in customize-formulated car spray paint specifically matched to your car!

Here’s a video from start to finish on Automotive Spray Paint

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG7FOM2hUT0
Automotive Spray Paint

Where to Buy Touch Up Paint

Top 4 signs your car exterior needs touch up and where to buy touch up paint

The car’s paint plays a major role in defining its external look. No matter how expensive your car is, there will come a time when the paint starts to wither and get dull. In order to get the original shiny look of the paint back, you need to update the paint job. But, when do you know it is the right time to paint your car? Here we have a list of signs that indicate your car needs a new paint job.

The 4 Signs

  • Fading:

    Are your car’s exteriors turning dull and pale? Well, that is because your car’s paint is fading. It is commonly caused by damage from sunlight and if the car is not properly washed and waxed. Make sure to verify your car’s paint code and if you are wondering where to buy touch paint, we would recommend heading to right here to ERA Paints! Here you will find spray paints and touch up paints along with clearcoat, primer, and other painting accessories and tools.

  • Peeling:

    Have you ever come across peeling paint strips while running your hand on the hood? Peeling paint is a sure sign of the need for a brand new paint job. The car’s clearcoat starts to loosen from the rest of the paint job. It is recommended to get a new paint job as soon as you spot even minor peeling, as it can increase in no time.

  • Scratches:

    When you find scratches on the surface of the paint, it is time getting to get it all dolled up again. Minor scratches here and there can be fixed with touch up while significant scratches may require a respray of the paint.

  • Mismatched paint colors:

    There might have been instances when the paint chipped off and you managed with just any paint color that resembled the original color. Mismatched paint colors on the exterior looks unflattering and shabby and it is high time you identify your car’s paint code to get a new paint job. The color should match the car’s original shade and finish.

Have you spotted any of the signs on your car? Are you searching for where to buy touch up paint? Visit ERA Paints for the best quality car touch up paint, spray paints, and accessories like spray can trigger grip, clear coat, and paint kits. You just need to select your vehicle’s paint code and order the paint accordingly. They offer free shipping on all products.

where to buy touch up paintVisit the website today for details https://www.erapaints.com/.

How to Make Trim Look New With Trim Black Touch Up Paint

Trim Black is a very easy and cost effective way to make the accents of your car pop! If your old trim was scratched and damaged or if you are looking to add some new trim items. When using Trim Black Touch Up Paint with our Basecoat paint your car could really stand out!

If you follow all of your Trim Black Touch Up Paint instructions, your vehicle will be sure to pop anywhere you drive.

 

Scratch Repair and Rock Chips: the 5 big Myths

 

Applicator Size the dealership uses for scratch repair

1. The scratch repair touch up paint my car dealership sells me is the best way to fix scratches and chips. Not true. The biggest problem is with the applicator: it’s just too large! Most chips and scratches are best touched up with a fine dabber (like we use) or a fine-tipped artist’s brush…the kind used by hobbyists who assemble model cars and airplanes. The second problem with dealership paint is that it tends to be thinned out with clearcoat. On light metallics, this makes the paint transparent. That is…you can see through the paint and into the scratch below. We sell you a small amount of paint without the fillers. Its color coverage is excellent. And it’s the same excellent EOM-quality paint that your vehicle was painted with.

scratch repair

The correct size of an applicator/dabber

You can’t touch up large scratch repairs

2. You can’t touch up anything larger than 2 inches wide. Sometimes true…sometimes not. Blacks, whites, solid reds, and most dark reds, blues, and greens, can be touched up, sanded flat, then buffed to a shine. It’s not a 100% repair, but it can get you out of a $1k+ body shop bill. Silvers, golds, and all other light metallics can’t be touched up beyond 2 inches wide. The metallic flake in the paint simply does not lay down flat. It reflects light in varying directions and draws attention to the scratch.

car scratch

This scratch repair is easily doable, it’s much longer than 2 inches in length but not  in width(depending on how you’re looking at it). 

Touch up paint doesn’t stick to plastic

3. You can touch up steel parts, but touch up doesn’t stick to plastic. Not true. As long as the plastic surfaces have been cleaned with wax and grease remover or iosopropyl alcohol, touch up paint will bond permanently.

Touch up paint always looks dull when repairing scratches

4. Touch up paint always looks dull…like freckles all over the face of your car. This is true of do-it-yourself touch ups, which don’t involve the application of the “clearcoat” that gives paint its shine. The professional’s trick is to mix in a small catalyzed (two part) clearcoat with the basecoat (colored paint) prior to applying it to the car.

scratch repair

Touch up paint will fall out

5. Touch up paint will eventually fall out, buff out, or be removed by car washes. Again, as long as the scratch repair area is completely clean prior to touch-up, the repair is permanent. Touch up paint is of the same formulation as the car’s factory paint (urethane), and there’s no reason it won’t have the same lifespan.

Looking for scratch repair products? Look no further as ERA Paints offers premium quality paint and products that provide a long term solution. Visit our store!

Looking for how to videos? Check out our YouTube for up-to-date information on how to properly apply touch up paint. 

Should You Fill Your Vehicle’s Tires with Nitrogen?

A member of the Dodge Challenger owners’ forum was buying a new car from a dealer and noticed green valve-stem caps on all four tires. The salesman told him that the tires had been filled with nitrogen, which would keep the tire pressure and temperature more consistent and that it would prevent tire rot from the inside out. It wasn’t a free add-on, though. The “nitrogen upgrade” was a $69 item on the supplemental window sticker. Another forum member later posted that his dealer was charging $179 for this same “upgrade.”

Dealerships:

Some dealerships and tire stores claim that filling your tires with nitrogen will save you money on gas while offering better performance than air. But a closer look reveals that nitrogen has few benefits and much higher costs. For starters, a typical nitrogen fill-up will cost you about $6 per tire.

Why Nitrogen?

The Get Nitrogen Institute Web site says that with nitrogen tire inflation, drivers will note improvements in a vehicle’s handling, fuel efficiency and tire life. All this is achieved through better tire-pressure retention, improved fuel economy and cooler-running tire temperatures, the institute says.

This sounds great in theory but let’s take a closer look at each of those claims.

Better tire-pressure retention:

Over time, a tire will gradually lose pressure. Changes in temperature will accelerate this. The general rule of thumb is a loss of 1 psi for every 10-degree rise or fall in temperature. The institute says that nitrogen has a more stable pressure, since it has larger molecules than oxygen that are less likely to seep through the permeable tire walls.In 2006, Consumer Reports conducted a year-long study to determine how much air loss was experienced in tires filled with nitrogen versus those filled with air. The results showed that nitrogen did reduce pressure loss over time, but it was only a 1.3 psi difference from air-filled tires. Among 31 pairs of tires, the average loss of air-filled tires was 3.5 psi from the initial 30 psi setting. Nitrogen-filled tires lost an average of 2.2 psi from the initial setting. Nitrogen won the test, but not by a significant margin.

Improved fuel economy:

The EPA says that under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. The theory is that since nitrogen loses pressure at a slower rate than air, you are more likely to be at the correct psi and therefore get better fuel economy.If you are proactive and check your tire pressure at least once a month, you can offset this difference with free air, and you won’t need expensive nitrogen. We think this invalidates the “better fuel economy with nitrogen” argument.For many people, however, this kind of maintenance is easier said than done. Most people either forget to regularly check and top off their tires, or never learned how to do it in the first place. Even Edmunds employees (typically a pretty car-savvy group) were under-inflating or over-inflating their tires, according to a tire-pressure study we conducted a few years ago.

Nitrogen and your car’s sensors:

And though tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) now come standard on cars, a 2009 National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that only 57 percent of vehicles with TPMS had the correct tire pressure. That’s because most systems are only meant to signal that a tire has very low pressure, not to show that the pressure is optimal.
Cooler running temperatures: When air is pressurized, the humidity in it condenses to a liquid and collects in the air storage tank you use at the local gas station. When you add compressed air to the tire, the water comes along for the ride.

Tire heat:

As the tire heats up during driving, that water changes to a gas, which then expands, increasing tire pressure. Because nitrogen is dry, there is no water in the tire to contribute to pressure fluctuations.But this fluctuation in temperature isn’t as significant as you might think. A 2008 ExxonMobil studyplotted the changes in temperature over the course of various inflation pressures. The lines on the graph were virtually on top of each other. In other words, the change in temperature when using nitrogen was negligible.

Prevent wheel rot:

Nitrogen proponents will also point out that water in a tire can lead to wheel rot. A tire engineer who anonymously maintains Barry’s Tire Tech, a blog on a number of tire issues, says this isn’t really a problem with modern cars.”Alloy wheels don’t really have a problem with water inside the tire,” the engineer writes in a post on nitrogen inflation. “They are coated to keep aluminum from forming aluminum oxide, which forms a crust, which isn’t very attractive.

But even then, this crust protects the aluminum from further corrosion from the water.”Where wheels have problems is when the aluminum alloy contacts steel, such as the steel spring clip used on wheel weights. It’s a particular issue when salt is present, the engineer writes. “But this problem is totally independent of the inflation gas,” he says. “Steel wheels only have a problem if the paint is damaged.”

Cost and Convenience

Let’s say a person bought a set of tires at Costco, a place that uses nitrogen to fill all the tires they sell. If he needs to top off the tires with more nitrogen, he won’t be able to go to just any gas station. He can use regular air if there is nothing else available, but that would dilute the nitrogen in the tires. He’ll have to go back to Costco and wait until the tire technicians can attend to the car. On a busy day, he could be there awhile.

Where can I get nitrogen?

Nitrogen is free at Costco and at some car dealerships we called, but these are rare cases. We called a number of tire shops that carry nitrogen and found that the prices for a nitrogen fill ranged from $5-$7 per tire. Assuming our consumer was diligent about checking his tires monthly, he could potentially spend about $84 a year on nitrogen alone per tire. Compare that to the most gas stations, where air is free or a 75-cent fill-up for all four tires at the most.

Finding tire shops with nitrogen could be an issue, too. We called a number of large chains, including America’s Tire Co., Discount Tire and Walmart. None carried nitrogen.

Is Nitrogen Worth It?

The air we breathe is made up of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and a few other elements. To get the desired benefits for tires, nitrogen needs to be at least 93 percent pure, according to nitrogen service equipment providers quoted on Tirerack.com. So talking about adding an extra 15 percent of nitrogen and getting rid of as much oxygen as possible.

Cost:

Based on cost, convenience and actual performance benefit, we don’t think nitrogen is worth it. A much better use of your money would be to buy a good tire-pressure gauge and check your tires frequently. This is a good idea even if you have a tire-pressure monitoring system in your vehicle. The warning lights aren’t required to come on until you have less than 25 percent of the recommended tire pressure. Having the correct tire pressure will get you many of the benefits of using nitrogen and will ensure that your tires last longer.

Quoted from Edmunds.com.