xB Touch-up Paint Pen Advice
March 26, 2008 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Anyone have experience using auto paint touch-up pens?

I've got an '06 Scion xB that I bought new about a year ago, and from the night I brought it home on, other people expressed an almost pathological need to door scuff and keyscratch the sides while I slept. I've just purchased this auto touch-up paint pen which is the same paint color as my car. Anyone have experience using these things to cover key scrapes and those white scuffs from doors banging into the sides? Any advice or things to watch out for?
posted by FatherDagon to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've used them before... if the scratches are relatively thin, they'll look fantastic from 20 feet, decent from 10 feet, and pretty mediocre from 2 feet.
posted by saladin at 8:42 AM on March 26, 2008

If you're leasing it, I wouldn't even bother trying to cover it up - it almost always looks worse than if you just leave the scratches when you turn it in.
If you own it, just be really careful that it doesn't "bubble" when it comes out. I've seen it turn out looking like a really bad caulk job on some cars. I'd use as little as possible and spread it thinly and evenly over the scuffs.
Good luck, there's nothing more frustrating than seeing the results of other peoples' rudeness on your own car!
posted by slyboots421 at 8:53 AM on March 26, 2008

Response by poster: I do own this car, and being able to save manymany hundred dollars on an auto paint job with a 17 dollar paint marker did seem a little too good to be true. I'll probably try it on a little bitty spot just to see what the results are, but chances are I'll end up going to the body shop anyway. Thanks for the tips!
posted by FatherDagon at 8:56 AM on March 26, 2008

I've done it with key scratches. The trick is to wash the area first, fill in with the barest minimum amount of paint, cover with clearcoat (they usually sell clearcoat pens in the same display), and then buff by hand (very lightly) with a little polishing compound. It worked pretty well on Mrs. Deadmessenger's 2000 Accord.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:25 AM on March 26, 2008

If I were you, I'd try rubbing compound or some other type of scratch remover first. I've used those pens to keep rock chips on my 4X4 from rusting, but the results are far from aesthetically pleasing when viewed up close.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 9:36 AM on March 26, 2008

A few things that I haven't tried, but I have a new car so I'm stocking up on techniques for when I need them:

Meguiar's Scratch-X
Use a clear-coat pen over the paint pen. Looking at your link it looks like the clear coat comes with. Good.
If it leaves a rough surface around the scratch you'll have to cut it down with polishing compound or the like (good writeup of same).
Wax the spot after you're done.
posted by rhizome at 10:26 AM on March 26, 2008

Some of it depends on the color. They worked okay on my dark green pickup, but much better on my white pickup.
posted by krisak at 10:34 AM on March 26, 2008

1) Get a brush-top container of the paint color
2) Put a few drops in a small container (like the lid of a film canister)
3) Add some paint thinner (i.e., lacquer)
4) Get a hypodermic needle from Walgreens (they're behind the counter for obvious reasons)
5) Fill the syringe with a small amount of your now thinned paint.
6) Gently release a very small amount of paint (less than is needed to "fill" the scratch, we'll go back over it with a second and third coat if necessary) and drag the needle along the scratch slowly releasing a small amount of paint as you go.
7) Repeat until the scratch is about even with the original paint level, then allow to dry overnight or 48 hours.
8) Use a rubbing compound (the local car parts shop will have it, Kragen, Autozone, etc) to level the paint by rubbing it with a dampened cotton cloth around the scratch.
9) Clean the area well.
10) Apply a layer of clear coat if the scratch is thicker than your fingernail (i.e., about 1mm) and allow it to dry overnight then hit it again with the rubbing compound.
11) Polish the area with Meguire's Scratch-X (or similar) then wash and wax the car.

Reference this technique here or just google "paint scratch needle" or similar.

Hope this helps =)
posted by unclezeb at 10:34 PM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

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