Driving on gravel or dirt roads or spending a lot of time on the highway can lead to damage along the front and side of your car or truck. Stone chip repair can become necessary if you have a lot of damage to deal with, and the severity can make a difference in how you handle the repair.
When you are driving, and a small rock or stone kicks up from a car in front of you or your own tires, the impact on the body can cause a stone chip in the paint. Stone chips that are deep enough can crack the clear coat, chip the paint, and expose the metal underneath.
Once a stone chip occurs, moisture can get in under the paint and begin to cause rust and oxidation behind the paint, eventually leading to peeling, bubbling, and rust holes in the panel. Stone chip repair services are available at most auto body shops and when you catch the damage early enough, restoration in the areas with damage is inexpensive and not overly challenging.
Fixing The Chips
The first step in stone chip repair is washing the car and removing debris, sand, or road salt in the area. Once the chip is clean, the stone chip repair starts with sanding the edges to feather the chipped area into the existing paint. This ensures that once the paint is applied, the transition between the chip and the original paint can be hidden.
If there are a lot of stone chips on the panel, the auto body tech may sand the entire surface down and repaint the area to make the repair look nicer. The new paint can be matched to the original, and with modern mixing methods, the tech can account for sun facing and mix the paint to match perfectly.
After the paint dries, the tech will sand the area to knock down high spots, and then it can be clear coated to protect it. Once the paint and clear coat cure, it protects the body from rust and corrosion. However, if you are concerned about redamaging the area, there are some things you can do to ensure it doesn't chip again.
Protecting Your Paint
Stone guard urethane sealer can be applied over the painted surface around the bottom edge of your vehicle to protect the paint from being chipped again. The material is transparent, so you won't see it unless you are looking for it, and once the stone chip repair is complete, it can be painted over the repaired area and any other parts of the car you are concerned about will suffer stone impacts.
Talk to the body tech working on your car to see if they can add the sealer before you pick up the vehicle. There are also some DIY products you can use, and most auto parts stores have a selection available.