We’ve all been there: a small thud, an unexpected scrape, and a sinking feeling in your stomach. Knocks and bumps can feel unavoidable as a road user, and sometimes it seems like it’s just your unlucky day rather than anything else. But just how can you keep those scratches and chips away from your car?
Since your car’s paint is its first line of defence against rust and oxidation, as well as what gives it its good looks, you want to make sure chips are avoided or fixed quickly if they do appear. Here at Axioma, we’ve put together a handy guide for you. Learn what to expect, and how to fix it when that moment does happen!
Common causes of paint chips and car scratches and how to avoid them
1. Accidents on the road
Unsurprisingly the main cause of damage to your paint job is usually going to be scrapes and collisions on the road. You can’t control how everyone else is going to drive but staying cautious and driving defensively is going to be your best bet for keeping your car’s coat of paint intact. Give yourself plenty of room for manoeuvre, and keep an eye out for any barriers or obstacles at parking spots and corners of the road.
2. The road itself
The road itself can also be the problem. Loose gravel and stones thrown up on the motorway or rural roads are going to dent deep based on the speed they are travelling at. Limit your own speed and try to leave a good amount of distance between yourself and the car in front, to try and avoid literally eating their dust.
3. Environmental causes
There are also several steps you can actively take to preserve the sheen on your motor, and most of these start at home. Keeping it safe from bird droppings and weather changes in a garage or at least with a covering are a great step to begin with. The acidity of bird lime or even dead bugs can do a real number on the paint, while UV light and increases or decreases in temperature can make the paint flaky and easy to crack.
4. Cleaning agents
Make sure to only use cleaning agents that are approved for use on cars when giving your wheels a spruce up, otherwise you run the risk of making the paint more brittle and likely to crack or chip away. Even then, a number of industry cleaners rely on highly abrasive chemicals so reducing the need for cleaning is also a great move. Taking it through a touchless car wash and giving it at least an annual wax with a professional detailing product will help on this front too.
5. Dirty fingers
Even something as small as fingerprints can be a killer for your car’s paint job, since they can grind dirt into the surface of the finish and scratch the paint. Careful of any sticky fingered young ones in the family turning that exterior into their latest finger painting project!
What are the consequences of not taking car chips away?
Car chips and scratches can cause a number of problems. First, they can damage the paint on your car. This can lead to rusting and eventually to the need for repainting. Second, they can also make it more difficult to clean your car. Lastly, they’ll reduce the value of your car. If you have chips and scratches, it is best to take those chips away as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to replace your car sooner than you would like.
Why should you repair car chips and scratches?
If you do get a chip or scratch, it’s best to take care of it as soon as possible. Not only if you want to increase the value of your car, but also because it can do a lot more damage than you might expect. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they can just leave it and it will be fine – this is not the case. The longer you leave it, the more time water and other materials have to seep in and cause even more damage.
After a collision even minor damage could affect the anti-corrosion layer on the metal of your car. If this happens, the bends in the metal will be opening it up to oxidation and rust which can then end up spreading like wildfire. Long story short: avoid dings and fender benders at all costs!
How to fix car chips and scratches yourself?
Can you fix car chips yourself? In a word, yes. You can try to get those chips away by yourself, usually by using a touchup paint pen. This can stop oxidisation and rusting of your car body if the paint chips away, which is an absolute must for preventing unnecessary and highly expensive repairs to be carried out later on down the line. Here are 5 steps to to fix car chips and scratches yourself:
1. Find high quality touchup paint
The first step is to find a touchup paint pen that matches the colour of your car.
It’s important to try and find a touchup pen that fits your car precisely if you’re going to try this. Often they are pre-mixed, and a different colour or shade will make small chips stand out if the colour match is poor. Some paints used can also be water based, so after time and multiple washes they can end up fading away making the chips visible again.
2. Clean the area around the chip
Start by cleaning the area around the chip, since painting over dirt will ruin the look of the touchup and also run the risk of your newly applied paint falling off not long after. Avoid having to start again from square one: rinse the area thoroughly before washing with warm water and car shampoo, and the rinse again afterwards.
3. Use the touchup paint pen
You’re going to want to make sure the area of the damage is completely dry before you start working on it. When you’re ready to begin, press down firmly with the tip of the touchup paint pen in the centre of the chip. When I say firm I do mean firm, as you want to make sure you really get the paint flowing out of the tip.
Keep going until you’ve slightly overfilled the gap and magicked that chip away. Make sure that you don’t go too far though! If it starts to drip this will show up quite clearly against your body work and not look great. Keep a clean cloth on hand to wipe up any excess just in case this starts to happen.
The only true way to completely get the chips away and guarantee a colour match is to paint the panel, which can be a time consuming and more costly process. Also bear in mind that to get any job that’s more than getting small chips away, professional help is almost certainly going to be required.
Getting expert help & the costs of fixing car chips
So, what should you do if your car has suffered some cosmetic damage – and you want to be safe rather than sorry? The answer is simple – bring it to the professionals! They have the experience and the equipment to make sure that your car looks as good as new.
At Axioma we’re usually able to provide you with an assessment in 24 hours based on photos alone. We can either come and complete the repair at your home, or else arrange to collect the car and deliver it back to you when the job’s done.
What are the costs of taking chips away?
The costs of your fixing scratches and car chips depend on where you go. You can take your car to a traditional body shop, where they will tend to charge in the region of £500 for light surface scratch repair. However, you could be looking at anything in the region of thousands of pounds for paintwork damage and scratch repair, depending on how deep it is. Using a service as Axioma will save you money. For example: fixing a car chip at a body shop will cost you £500, where it will cost you around £200 at Axioma.
The type of repair treatment and paint used, and any prep work that’s needed will be something that any repairer will take into account. Your location can also be a factor as well since different body shops won’t always charge the same rate. So, be careful with going to a random body shop!
To provide you with clarity on the prices, at Axioma we’ll give you an upfront quote, and the price we charge is the same for any vehicle – whether it’s a Ford or a Ferrari that you’re driving. As we point out on one of our website’s blog posts, repair shop capacity is steadily declining while costs are steadily rising due to factors like increasing complexity in cars and the weakening of the pound following Brexit.
Therefore having some guarantees about what you’ll be paying and the service you’ll be receiving are important. Axioma’s pledge to only work with certified bodyshops that can take on vehicles as large as 3.5 tonnes should leave you with plenty of reassurance that no matter what the problem is, we should be able to fix it.
How to get started with Axioma?
Well, this part is simple. Simply fill out a straightforward form outlining the repair support that you need, and you should hear back from us within 24 hours with an assessment based on any information and photos you have provided.
Once that assessment has been agreed upon, we will source a repairer to carry out the work at that price for you. They will contact you directly to arrange a suitable time and place to carry out all the work that is needed. Usually this can be done from your very own home, but in certain cases we may need to arrange for your car to be collected and delivered back to you.
So remember, whenever you need to get those scratches and chips away, Axioma are on hand and ready to help within a day!