How to Repair Rock Chips in Paint

by Melanie Fleury

Stray rocks flying up from the road can easily chip the paint on a car. Ignoring rock chips leaves you more than the unsightly nicks; the chipped areas can get bigger and start to rust, too, leading to greater problems down the road. Fixing the chips is, however, a task that is neither onerous nor exceedingly time consuming. The sooner you fix the chips, the better your car will look and the more protected from rust it will be.

Clean off the area of the car that has the rock chips in it. Use soap and water to remove debris. Allow time for the car to dry.

Sand down the chipped area with sand paper that is 1500- to 2000-grit. This will help to remove any loose paint from the chipped area. It will also help the paint to adhere to the area.

Wipe off the sanded area with a damp, lint-free cloth. Using the lint-free cloth will help to make sure that no threads or cloth get stuck in the chipped area.

Apply paint that matches your car color. Paint stores can match the color using a small chip, or you can call your car manufacturer to find out what colors were used on your car in the year that it was produced. Paint the chip and paint the area around the chip as well. Allow time to dry between coats before applying another coat. Three to four coats is typically sufficient.

Sand down the area. Use sandpaper to get the paint in the chipped area level with the rest of the car surface. Avoid sanding any area to which you have not applied paint, as those areas do not have the extra paint applied that you need to sand down.

Apply rubbing compound and buff the area with a soft rag. This will help the paint to blend in better and have a polish to it.

Apply wax or polish to protect the new paint.

About the Author

Melanie Fleury has been writing professionally since 1995. She has written for various educational websites such as and is the educational consultant at the Knowledge Tree Center for Education. She enjoys creating curriculum for children with various learning styles. Fleury holds a master's degree in education specializing in early childhood from Ashwood University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera classic red car image by Xavier MARCHANT from