Skip to content

How To Use Touch-Up Paint

a scratched front bumper

The unthinkable has happened. You came back from your parking spot at the grocery store only to find your cherished ride is now sporting a paint scratch. Or maybe a wayward pebble took a piece of paint with it on the highway. Regardless of how the paint scratch happened, fixing it at home has never been easier. Let’s take a look at how to use touch-up paint on a car and get your vehicle looking its best again.

What Is Touch-Up Paint?

Touch-up paint is a specially formulated paint designed to match your factory paint color exactly. It typically only comes in small quantities because it is meant to be just for repairing small areas, not to paint an entire car. Touch-up paint is also designed to be easy to use without needing any of the specialty equipment or chemicals of a professional auto body shop. Simply find the touch-up paint that matches your factory paint color and you are all set to begin.

How To Use Touch-Up Paint 

While there are many touch-up paints on the market, for this example we are going to focus on the Dupli-Color® Scratch Fix All-in-1 touch up paint pen. It is a true all-in-one product that can prime, paint, and seal a paint scratch in your own driveway. Here’s how to use a car touch up paint pen:

  1. Start by identifying your vehicle’s color code for an exact paint match. The paint code may be under the hood, in the trunk, or inside the driver’s side door jamb. Getting the correct color code is important, so don’t just guess as a paint repair with the wrong color may stick out worse than the original scratch.
  2. Give the car a good wash to remove any dirt or grime from the paint. Dry it thoroughly so the touch-up paint is not affected later.
  3. Identify the scratch(es) you want to repair.
  4. Use the abrasive prep tip to clean the damaged paint area. Notice that the prep tip is designed with a fine point for control. Only clean the scratched/damaged area, do not disturb the surrounding undamaged paint.
  5. Wipe the now cleaned area with a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to remove any dust or grease.
  6. The tool has both a fine tip paint pen and a small brush to apply touch-up paint. For fine lines and scratches start with the paint pen. For larger areas wider than the pen tip use the small brush. Apply a light coat of touch-up paint to the damaged area and allow it to dry for 30 minutes.
  7. Once the touch-up paint has dried you may now apply the clear finish top coat. Using a smooth, even stroke gently apply the top coat. 
  8. Give the paint a full week to dry, then you can blend in the repaired area gently with rubbing compound and polish it with your favorite wax..

That’s it! While touch-up paint won’t save you when serious damage occurs, it is the perfect solution for small problems and preventing corrosion from taking hold. 

Check out all the paint & body supplies available on NAPAonline or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA Auto Care locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to use touch-up paint on your car, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA Auto Parts store.

Photo courtesy Flickr.

Brian Medford View All

With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of his many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible, BMW E46 sedan, and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *