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Write Up: Rock Chip Repairs

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Old 02 Apr 2010, 05:45 am
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Smile Write Up: Rock Chip Repairs

Hey Everyone,

To be completely straight forward and honest, even though I could sit here and walk you through the basics of doing this yourself at home in your driveway, I personally am strongly against the DIY methods of fixing rock chips, and feel I if I were in any way to promote these methods, I would be doing you my PT Friends a dis-service, and I am not about that, nor could I ever in good conscience ever offer up any advice that could potentially bring harm to anyone, mess up, or damage anyone's Ride ever, and will be the first one to speak up against anyone who would!

With this said, here are my thoughts on repairing rock chips, and suggestions on a better way to have them repaired professionally.

The reasons why I usually try to talk people out of repairing rock chips on their own come down to this.

Color. The Paint on your PT weather it be OEM Stock Paint, or Aftermarket Custom Paint, has been deteriorating since it rolled out of the Paint Booth. Sun, Air, and any number of other related factors have an adverse effect on the paint itself, and will alter the original color over time so right up front your vehicle is not the same color it was when it rolled out of the booth in the Factory in Toluca Lake Mexico.

In addition, most Automotive Manufacturer's often try to stretch their materials as far as they can to help save on costs and overhead. It is a little known fact, but most all Manufacturers mix their Paint by hand. Of course they also have some computer automation assistance, but in the end a Human has the final say on the mix ratios. What this means is, lets take the stock Factory color of Tangerine Orange which was used on the 2003 PT Dream Cruiser Series 2. To get the correct color takes a specific mixture of other colors all mixed together including red dye, and several others. Now lets say that the Assembly Plant had a little more red dye one day for some reason. Rather than waste the product, they will go ahead and add a little more red dye to the Tangerine Paint for a few Shifts which will slightly alter the final color of the cars in that batch. Then something else might come up and another batch might be slightly different as well. Even though most new vehicles might come off the assembly line the correct general color, in reality their is actually quite a bit of variance in different shades of paint from batch to batch of mixed paint. So if you were to take a brand new Electric Blue PT that was made on Monday, then one more same color on Tuesday, and the same on Wednesday, and parked them side by side, you would actually have three very different colored cars.

This is also very often how you can tell if a Vehicle has been in a wreck when looking at a used car. If you walk all the way around and closely look at each panel, you can usually tell if their might be one panel that is very slightly a different color indicating that that panel had been repainted at some point and time.

In fact, next time you drive by a Dealership, take notice, they almost never usually will park the same colored cars directly next to each other. Especially more vibrant colored ones like medium Blues, Greens, Reds, and Yellows to name a few as the difference in color pigmentation stands out more than say Silver, Black, or White which are much easier to get closer to the same color during the mixing process.

For these reasons, if you were to purchase any form of Touch Up Paint weather it be direct from the Manufacturer, or any other Aftermarket Company, it will never under any circumstances be a good match to your vehicle. No matter what you do, this is just a fact.

Now some people are ok with having some Touch Up Paint that may not be a perfect match if it is an older daily driver or so on, but for me, I would rather have it done correctly no matter what.

To do this type of repair correctly, you need a good Color Chart which you can hold up to the Vehicle to get as close of a shade to visually match your color, or you need to remove a small part like a Gas Door to hold up to a special Computer Camera which analyze your paint pigmentation and give you a Paint Code to mix as close to the color of your PT as possible which will be way closer to being accurate than most any other Touch Up Paints available, but still will not be a perfect match.

However a little side note, if you ever need any paint to shoot other little parts here and their, you can go to any Automotive Paint Supply Store and have them mix spray cans of any paint color or type like Candy, Metal Flake, Pearl, and so on custom mixed in a spray can for around $15.00, and is much better paint over anything you buy at like Walmart, or other Automotive Store in general so you might want to make a note to check that out some time.

Getting back on track, if you were to take your custom mixed paint and dab it into your rock chip directly with a brush, you will see the color difference every time, and in many circumstances it will come out looking worse than before you started the project leaving you disappointed with the result which neither you, or I want.

To do this type of job properly, you need to spray an area between at least 5" to 8" to blend it in enough so that your eye cannot detect the difference in color. In some cases like on my PT back before I repainted it and still had the stock Tangerine Paint, I once got a rub mark dead center of my front bumper from my bra vibrating at freeway speed, and since I had a very vibrant color, it was very hard to hide the different colors so much that I wound up having to re-shoot the entire bumper so you could not tell the difference. If you have several over the front of your ride, its better to re-shot the entire area at one time and blend it into the surrounding panels rather than try to repair each chip individually.

Now with this said, if you were to go to a Body Shop, they have to cover labor, expensive Paint, and overhead for their shop, and rightfully so, but this also means it is going to most likely be a pretty expensive fix. In fact for me to do it at the Shop, you would easily be looking at a good $500.00 - $600.00 or more to clean up a chipped front end depending on how bad the paint was, and I would most likely have your car for a good couple of days as well.

Instead of doing this, most Dealerships have Mobile Airbrush Services that come out to the Dealer once or twice a week and do nothing but fix rock chips and scratches. Most have an on board Computerized mixing system and can mix up a good close to your color mix of the right paint for your vehicle, do the proper prep work, sand everything nice and smooth, properly spray all the chips nicks, and scratches out of your ride, add clear coat, buff everything out, and finish it off to where you usually cannot tell where the damage was in the first place. The best part is that they come to you weather at work, or home, are usually in and out in a matter of a couple of hours at the most, and usually depending on how bad the damage is will charge on average in the neighborhood of around $200.00 - $250.00 for all of the chips on the entire vehicle. So this method is usually the fastest, easiest, and best way to take care of any and all rock chips in a professional manner that you can do hands down. By the time you were to buy all of the materials including paint, clear, sandpaper, finishing paper, making materials, compound, glaze, wax, and all other materials needed to do the complete project, you would be at the same, or higher cost than having them do it, and you will never get the same results ever.

To locate an Air Brush Service near you, I would recommend trying to locate your local Automotive Paint Supply Store and ask them, check online under Mobile Bumper Repair Services, or contact your Local Dealership Service Writer and ask what Service they use.

A good Company I highly recommend is Colors on Parade. Here is their Website and Dealer Locator:

Colors on Parade

And an example of one of their Service Locations so you can see exactly what they do.

Colors on Parade

As an added bonus, many of the Guys who are doing Air Brush also are now offering PDR (Paintless Dent Removal) as well. This means they can take out any and all small shopping cart dings, door dings, hail damage, and so on at the same time which usually runs around $150.00 - $200.00 also depending upon the damage, and I have seen those guys pull off some amazing things pulling large dents out without any damage to the paint whatsoever. For examples of PDR, just got to Youtube and type in PDR, or Bumper Repair and check it out. They are pretty fun to watch.

Just for fun, here are a couple of Vid's of good PDR Guys doing their thing.

And have a Service come out and clean up any scratches, rock chips, and pull any small dings and dents, not only will your car look new, but you can potentially get a lot more money back out of it as well.

I always try to tell people, a good $400.00 to $500.00 up front now can easily and realistically mean $1000.00 to $1500.00 or more in return at resale value. Dealers do this all the time to increase their profit, and their is no reason why you cannot do the same thing.

So that is my best advice on properly repairing rock chips in your paint on your PT.

Go easy, and I will catch you later.

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Old 02 Apr 2010, 10:13 am
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Default Re: Write Up: Rock Chip Repairs

Interesting video, I wish they showed more detail on the part after they got the major dent out.

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