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How to know if a touch up pen is the right product for your repair

If your paintwork is damaged, you might not need to take it to the bodyshop. Here’s how to work out: How serious the damage is; and If you’ll be able to fix it yourself.

What is a car touch up pen?

It’s a small pen containing 20ml of car paint with a fine needle-like point (or optional brush) for application.

A car touch up pen is a high precision tool designed to help anyone make their own minor paintwork repairs like scratches and stone chips. 

The colour matched car paint inside a car touch up pen is mixed specifically for your make and model - all you need is your paint code or your car registration number.

Even if you haven’t used a touch up pen before, you can get good results. They aren’t going to be bodyshop-professional, but it’ll be close - they’re a fast, cost-effective way of getting a good enough result that blends in.

At PaintNuts, we use state-of-the-art paint mixing technology to measure and mix your paint to order.

When to use a car touch up pen

You can use a car touch up pen to repair:

  • Stone chip damage
  • Scratches
  • Small scuffs

Damage checklist - can you use a car touch up pen?

You can use a touch up pen if:

  • Damage is light and on the surface (dents should be filled, sanded and primed)
  • The white base layer is visible (if metal is visible, use a primer)
  • There’s no rust present (if so, use a rust treatment)
  • The paint isn’t bubbling or flaking (if it is, this needs to be fixed first)
  • Your vehicle is a modern or classic model

How to use a car touch up pen

1. Shake

  • Shake the bottle / pen thoroughly for at least 60 seconds.
  • Remove the clear lid from the needlepoint with a firm pull. Unscrew the white collar to access the brush.
  • Test or practice in a discreet area and let dry for 10 minutes.

2. Prepare

  • Make sure your surface is clean and dry, and free of wax and polish. 
  • Use your primer if you can see metal or plastic showing.
  • Use a rust treatment if rust is present.

3. Paint

  • Apply thin, light coats in smooth strokes with the brush, rest the needlepoint nib in the scratch or chip and squeeze gently.
  • Don’t apply too much paint - to get best results, the paint should not be proud of the original paint.
  • Ensure you only apply the paint within the damaged area.
  • Leave paint to dry for 10-25 minutes before applying a second coat.
  • Leave paint to cure for 24 hours till hardened before applying lacquer or polishing with PaintNuts Professional Scratch & Scuff Remover to blend the work in.

See and print our full guide on How to touch up chips, scratches and scuffs in 3 easy steps.

Got questions?

Can you get good results from car touch up paint?

Yes, even if you haven’t used a touch up pen before, you can get good results. It won’t be bodyshop-professional, but it’ll be close. 

Can you see the white base coat?

That’s fine - as long as there’s no rust, you’re good to start applying thin layers of car touch up paint.

Can you see down to the metal/plastic?

You’ll need to apply a rust treatment and a primer before you use your touch up pen.

Is a touch up pen suitable for a wider area?

In this case, we recommend using an aerosol colour match paint. This type of repair will require more experience to get a good result, so it’s great for professionals or car hobbyists/petrolheads.

Find the right product for you

Use our tool to find the right PaintNuts product to give your vehicle a professional looking repair.