Rock Chips: Types and Repair Solutions

Hood chips on red paint
Hood spotted with tiny rock chips.

The open road causes more damage to our vehicles than we would like. Debris gets kicked up by other cars speeding by, and sure enough, small particles like rocks and sand, slam their way into the front bumper. All rock chips (chips in your car’s paint) can certainly be repaired, but some are an easier task than others.

Easy Rock Chip Repair

The easiest type of chip to repair is a bucket-shaped chip where the sides are straight up and down into the car, typically caused by a rock hitting the car directly from the front. This type of chip takes very well to the Dr. Colorchip system with just a little finesse. A paint touch-up kit (like Dr. Colorchip’s basic kit) is fantastic on sand-sized chips. With thousands of chips all over the hood, a kind of hazing effect is created. The Dr. Colorchip system will clear that right up. For more information about Dr. Colorchip, click the link above or check out our blog post about it here.

Leave It to the Professionals

Although most rock chips can be repaired using a car paint touch-up kit, there are others that are too big to repair with such ease. With chips larger than the end of a pencil eraser, the ‘smear-with-paint-then-remove-the-excess’ technique won’t work so well. You’ll end up removing the paint from the chip if it’s too large. In this case, it takes a little more care and expertise to fill the chip in and make it look good. Depending on the severity and quantity of large chips, you’ll either want a touch-up technician or a body shop to handle it.

Recurring Rock Chips

Unfortunately, there is sometimes no point in repairing vehicles belonging to those with a need for speed. I was at the Porsche Parade in Colorado two years ago working on cars when a man pulled up in a Porsche GT. He pointed out the rock chips on his car, and just as I was getting excited to work on his $300,000 ride, he essentially told me that any repairs would be undone as soon as he left. He got the chips traveling at about 75 mph, and he sure wasn’t going to be slowing down anytime soon.

There is a clear bra available to those that want speed and protection for their cars. I do a lot of prep work for clear bras because they’re semi-permanent, and chips that are not repaired will be sealed in. A clear bra is basically a clear sticker. You can have your whole car done, but most people do a partial hood or front bumper area.

The Importance of Rock Chip Repair

Chip repair is important beyond aesthetics. A chip that doesn’t get the attention it deserves will eventually rust, and then you have a bigger problem. If the paint chips on your car have already started to rust, you might still be okay. As long as it’s just surface rust, I would be able to clean the chip with a solution that stops the rust in its tracks, paint it, keep it from expanding, and have your vehicle looking fresh!

Chip repair is a different process than scratch repair. Do-it-yourself paint kits typically don’t do your car justice with more extensive scratches and scrapes. And, as mentioned above, larger chips may require a panel re-spray. If you aren’t sure how to proceed with your car’s specific damage, check out our post here or send us an email with photos of the damage. We’ll let you know if we can help you, or we’ll point you in the direction of someone who can!


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If you want more information about car paint repair, we’re always happy to help! I have been doing car paint scratch repair for 15 years. All of our techs here at PaintCraft are highly-skilled artists with direct training from me. Even if you’re not in our service area, we can point you in the right direction. Just send us an email! 

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