How To Smooth Out Touch Up Paint On Car Chips And Scratches (Step by Step)

Photo by Logan Ingalls via Flickr

Photo by Logan Ingalls via Flickr

How To Smooth Out Touch Up Paint On Car Chips And Scratches (Step by Step)


One of the most frustrating things a car owner can face is the dreaded door ding. There’s always that person that feels the need to park their car over the line and will be careless, opening their door directly into yours. What do you do? You spend too much time taking care of your car to let a ding ruin it. By following the DIY repairs in this article, you will have all of the knowledge that you need to get your car right back to looking its best.

Can you sand touch up paint?

The short answer is it won’t hurt to sand the touch-up paint, however, there are some things that you should consider prior to getting out your sanding tools. Here are some questions that you can ask:

Did you avoid dirt and particles sticking to the surface between coats? If you did, then there is no need to sand between the coats which will save you lots of time. 

Did you apply the touch-up paint evenly? If so, then there is no reason to sand. Sanding is done in order to make sure your touch up paint is smooth with the older paint. If this is already the case, then it would be redundant to sand.

When should I sand touch up car paint?

Sanding will not hurt the already existing paint if you are careful. If you feel like any of your touch up paint looks off, sanding is the way to go. Just be sure to take your time, this is a project that could take a lot longer to complete if you are rushed.

paint blob
Touchup Paint Blob
sanded blob
Sanded Paint Blob
smoothed blob
Polished Paint Blob

How do you get rid of touch up paint blobs?

Touching up car paint can fix ugly chipped pieces and obvious scratches, however, if you have paint blobs, it could make your car have just as bad as an appearance. Paint blobs happen quite easily, but if you know how to repair them, they could become a problem of the past.

You will need:

  • Sandpaper – You will need sandpaper in multiple grits. You will need 300 and 1200 grit sand paper. The 300 grit will allow you to sand down the blobs, whereas the 1200 grit is used more for detailing, blending, and smoothing out your work.
  • Microfiber Cloth – For every car DIY repair, a good microfiber cloth such as the options The Rag Company has to offer, is an important item to have within close reach. A microfiber cloth has the ability to completely dry the surface, deliver a scratch-free finish, and is more durable than any traditional shop towel. 
  • Shampoo – Having a good shampoo such as the Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap and Cleanser can make your DIY repair project successful. This shampoo will remove dirt and grime from the surface of the car which can be detrimental to a job dedicated to smoothing. Also, this shampoo is safe on all types of surfaces and paints which is always a bonus and is something that you should look for before applying any paint or product to your car.

How to smooth out paint blobs (Step by Step)

  1. Clean the Area – Wash the bubbled up areas of paint touch up using the two bucket method and make sure to use a good car shampoo. Washing the area of the damaged surface should always be the first step in order to eliminate any dirt or particles that could get in the way of using paint touch up on car surfaces. Once you have finished cleaning the area, be sure to dry it completely with a microfiber towel
  2. Block Off the Area – Use some masking tape to block off the area that needs the color repair. When you are blocking off the section, leave about a ¼ of an inch exposed of older paint around the blemish. This will allow you to seamlessly blend the sanded down paint blob area with the undamaged paint. 
  3. Sand – Use the wet sanding technique on the blob of touch up paint, until it is flat, with a 1500 grit sanding block. By doing this, the repair area will become flush with the older section of paint. 
  4. Smooth It Out – Once the two surfaces are even, smooth out the finish by wet sanding using 3000 grit sand paper. 
  5. Polish – If you see that the area needs to be polished, clean the area that you just sanded and apply the polish in a circular motion.  
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How to touch up paint on car surfaces

  1. Choose A Good Time To Work – In order to have a successful project, you need to ensure that you are choosing a time that will only help you and not cause any hardships in your repair. Choose a day with low humidity and with temperatures at least 50°F for the use of brush and pen applications. If you are using spray paint, a temperature of at least 70°F is ideal. Make sure that you have plenty of time so that you don’t have to rush. You’ll need patience and the ability to proceed with caution. Keep these aspects in mind as you’re choosing the day and time to start your project. 
  2. Prepare Your Vehicle – Wash the areas that you will be applying the touch-up paint to by using the two bucket method and good car shampoo. Washing the area of the damaged surface should always be the first step in order to eliminate any dirt or particles that could get in the way of you having a successful project. Once you have finished cleaning the area, be sure to use a microfiber towel to dry the area completely. If the area that you plan on working on has rust, use coarse grit sandpaper to remove the rust from the surface.
  3. Prime the Area – If bare metal is exposed, use a primer on the area. This will allow the touch-up paint to stick to the surface and last longer. Let this dry for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Begin to Apply the Touch Up Paint – Use the paint that you ordered and start to build up the color on the damaged spot. You’re going to use several coats until you match the opacity of the older paint. Let each paint coat dry for 10 to 20 minutes before applying the next coat of paint. 
  5. Use a Clear Coat – Barely smooth some clear coat over the surface of the paint color. You must be delicate with this step so that you do not ruin all of the work you just accomplished.
Vehicle Paint Layers & Scratches

How can I make touch up paint on car surfaces look good?

  1. Buff it out – Use a 600 grit sanding block to buff out the top of the touch-up paint color. Make sure to use circular motions when buffing out the finish of the paint color, this will make the surface smooth out evenly. Be sure to only buff the area of where the touch up is occurring in order not to ruin the finish on the not damaged paint areas of your car.
  2. Work your way to a finer finish – In order to not have a harsh finish, you will need to increase the grit size on your sanding block. After the 600 grit, you will move to a 1000 grit sanding block and then finally to a 1500 grit sanding block. You will use the higher grit sandpaper for a finer finish.
  3. Apply Polish – To finish up your paint touch up car repair job, you should apply a polish. Wait for at least 24 hours and then apply the polish in a circular motion until the surface becomes shiny and your paint color looks as good as new. 

Can you use a rubbing compound on the touch-up paint?

You can use a rubbing compound on the touch-up paint, however, do not apply a rubbing compound directly to the paint that is drying or has recently dried. Ideally, you should wait about 3 days to apply any type of compound, wax, or polish to the surface of the new paint. This will prevent you from messing up the area that has just been repaired. 

The Best Rubbing Compounds

The best compounds are from the Chemical Guys. This line of products is specifically engineered for a scratch-free finish which will help your polish last longer. These polishes are made without silicones or fillers, only providing you with the best product to apply to your vehicle. The compounds from this system will ensure that you are getting the best finish possible as you’re figuring out how to smooth out touch up paint on car surfaces.

Where to get touch-up paint for cars

There are a few different places where you can get a touch-up paint color for your car, but the best place is This website allows you to order the same color paint that the factory uses to paint your vehicle. By buying from this company, you are supporting a family-owned business that has over 50 years of experience with car paint color. When getting a touch-up paint from this website, you have over 100,000 different custom paint colors at your fingertips with a guarantee that it will match the original color. When you have a website with so many options, why would you look anywhere else?


Getting a paint chip or scratch on your car’s otherwise pristine paint job can be frustrating. By following this article, you will have the ultimate confidence to excel in this repair and get results comparable, if not better than a professional body shop.

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