Touch-Up Paint Pens and Why NOT to Use Them

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If you’re searching for your car’s touch-up paint pen, please stop right there! They really are one of the worst ‘solutions’ to car paint chips and scratches. I fix rock chips and scratches for a living and have spent hundreds of hours fixing the damage they cause. I see the paint blobs left by those pens most often at car dealerships. People will use paint pens to try to cover up blemishes so they don’t get charged by the dealership when they return a car after a lease is over, or when they’re trying to sell it. Touch-up paint pens make the damage look worse 95% of the time. They are unnecessarily hard to use and the results are far from acceptable.

Touch-up paint pens are pretty much just for the dealerships and car manufacturers to sell as an additional source of income. The appearance of your car is not of great concern to them.

The only paint touch-up kit I’ve ever seen that really works well is from Dr. Colorchip. It’s the only paint system I use.

Removing Blobs from Touch-Up Paint Pens

Over the years, I’ve developed a method for removing blobs left from bad car paint touch-up since I come across it so often. I use the blending solution (or, as I like to call it, pink juice) that comes with each Dr. Colorchip touch-up kit. Put several drops on a folded t-shirt cloth, then add a few drops of acetone. Don’t use any other solvents because they WILL damage the clear coat.

Then, gently rub out the paint blobs and frequently wipe off the residue with a microfiber towel as you work. If you don’t want to buy a Dr. Colorchip kit, you can just use acetone, but you’ll need to wipe if off every few seconds and then start again. Acetone will eventually remove the clear coat and paint around the damage if you’re not careful. The darker the color of the car, the more likely acetone will damage the finish. Don’t leave it there for long. If the acetone dulls the finish, use a soft cloth and rubbing compound to buff the affected area. You shouldn’t need to put too much pressure. Wipe off the rubbing compound with a microfiber cloth and your car should shine just as before (less the paint blob)!

PaintCraft Can Help

Paintcraft tech touching up paint
Steve doing car paint touch-up at Subaru Orange Coast in Santa Ana, CA.

If you don’t want to risk damaging your car by doing the work yourself, make an appointment with us here and we’ll come to you! We work for many car dealerships, museums, clubs (especially Porsche clubs), and individuals in the LA and Orange County areas. I was interviewed by Philip Reed for an article on Click here to read it and find out more about what I do.


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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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