July 17, 2012
Review and photo by Paul Williams
Eliminating paint chips from your vehicle can be tedious, and for the amateur it’s often an unsuccessful process. Professionals recommend using toothpicks to apply a tiny amount of paint over a period of days that will eventually fill the chip. But lacking the hands of a surgeon and the patience of Job, the results in my experience have been less than satisfactory.
Non-matching factory touch-up paint doesn’t help, either.
Starting at $39.95 (all prices USD) Dr. ColorChip (drcolorchip.com) offers a range of kits that claim to make fixing paint chips easy. The process is different than I’ve encountered in the past, and the company offers touch-up paint for every colour and model of current vehicles, and many classics as well. It sounds like it’s worth a try.
My $49.95 kit arrived with the specific paint for my Honda S2000 (New Formula Red), three applicators, a latex glove, a two-ounce bottle of pink “blending solution” called “SealAct,” a white “blending cloth” and a microfiber buffing towel.
Here’s how it works. You apply a small blob of paint next to the chip, and wearing the latex glove you gently wipe the paint over the chip. The idea is to fill the chip, but in doing so you will also smear paint around the chip. Not a problem with this system.
After waiting for a few minutes (up to an hour is okay, according to the instructions), you then apply the SealAct solution with the supplied blending cloth to remove the surrounding unwanted paint. If all goes well, the paint in the chip will remain, thus eliminating the chip.
First of all, the paint was an excellent match (don’t know why the Honda product wasn’t, but in previous attempts to remove paint chips, it dried darker). The wiping action with the latex glove is a little tricky and I’d suggest having a few available. With a little practice, you can get to the point that one well-placed swipe will perfectly fill the chip.
However, in many cases my attempts to do so required several tries. All is not lost if you mess things up, though, as the SealAct solution effectively removes the unwanted paint and you can start over.
The problem I found, especially with bigger chips, is that the SealAct solution will remove the paint in the chip if you’re not careful. Working around the chip is a technique you can try, but there’s a risk of disturbing the paint in the chip regardless.
I did find that with smaller chips the recommended technique worked better (there’s a video on the Dr. ColorChip website that demonstrates how the whole process is supposed to work).
With the larger chips, even if you inadvertently remove some of the paint in the chip, you can repeat the steps causing the chip to get smaller and eventually disappear. But here’s something: I did several chips at once and missed using SealAct on one of them until the next day (you might want to mark each chip with a piece of masking tape, just to make sure you complete the process for each one). Anyway, the point is the SealAct worked just fine even a day later, and perhaps given that the paint had set up overnight, the final result was impressive.
However, as I mentioned above, Dr. ColorChip recommends a few minutes to an hour before using SealAct, so deviate at your own risk.
The Dr. ColorChip site offers three kits, starting with the Basic Touch-Up Paint Kit at $39.00. It doesn’t include the two extra applicators and you get only one-ounce of the SealAct solution. I purchased the Standard Touch-Up Paint Kit for $49.00 as described above. The $59.00 Road Rash Kit doubles the amount of paint and blending solution, and would be recommended if your job consisted of many tiny chips. While it’s true that you need a latex glove and a buffing cloth, you can buy these items in quantity at your local parts retailer at very low cost.
An option is to buy the paint, SealAct and applicators separately at the website’s main store, but there are little savings to be had when you add up the cost. Better to get the kit.
If you just need some more paint, though, it’s $28.00 for one-half ounce, and $36.00 for one ounce. While the company is updating its database of vehicles and paint colours, there are some oddities (the MGB never came in Healey Blue…).
Shipping is via UPS, and to Canada it’s $9.00. The shipping process is very efficient, providing a tracking number by email within hours of ordering.
There are other paint chip removal systems on the market, and the Dr. ColorChip product does require some technique to give good results. However, I think the process is sound, and in my experience the Dr. ColorChip system delivers the best results that I’ve achieved to date.