How to Use a Touch Up Paint Pen for Flawless Results

Written by

Charles Bolte


Vernon Hoppe 

How to Use a Touch-Up Paint Pen

Has your vehicle’s paint seen better days? The exterior appearance of a car is often a source of pride for its owner, and any imperfections can diminish that sense of pride and aesthetic satisfaction.

If left untreated, scratches and chips can lead to more serious issues. Exposed metal or underlying layers of paint can be vulnerable to rust and corrosion, which can spread and cause further damage. This also affects your vehicle’s structural integrity and resale value.

This article will walk through how to use a touch up paint pen to tackle this problem.

Guide on How to Use an Automotive Touch Up Paint Pen

Step 1: Prepare Items You’ll Need


  • Touch up paint pen
  • Automotive primer pen
  • Fine-grit sandpaper (2000-grit or higher)
  • Clean microfiber cloth
  • Car wash soap or rubbing alcohol
  • Clear coat
  • Rubbing compound
  • Cardboard, metal sheet, or glossy paper (for test application)
  • Latex gloves
  • Dual cartridge-respirator

Step 2: Get a Color Matched Paint Pen

  • Pick the right color


Before buying a paint pen, make sure to know the exact color of your car through the color code or the car paint code that is usually seen on the driver’s side door jamb.

You can also contact the manufacturer to find out this color code.

This is one of the crucial steps, as even the slightest mismatch of color may ruin the car’s exterior.

  • Purchase a good-quality pen


While a high-quality paint pen such as the Toyota touch up paint pen works wonders for car chips and slight scratches, it can’t solve all kinds of scrapes.

As a rule of thumb, if the scratch or dent is just 2 inches or less, applying touch up paint will do the trick. It’s best to assess whether it can still be repaired using DIY techniques or the professional help is needed.

Step 3: Safety First!


You’re handling a chemical that releases fumes, so ensure you’re adequately protected. Use suitable clothing, such as a cover-all, then wear a dual-cartridge respirator and protective gloves.

Set up a suitable workspace for your car repair task to ensure proper ventilation and lighting. Proper ventilation helps disperse fumes, reducing the risk of inhaling potentially harmful substances.

Step 4: Practice Applying the Touch Up Paint


First, to use paint pen on car and achieve good result, you should shake the paint pen to mix its contents thoroughly.

Then, carefully remove the cap from the touch up paint pen.

  • Using a cardboard, metal sheet, or glossy paper, practice applying the paint pen to the surface in different strokes in light and heavy coats.
  • You may also test on a hidden spot of the car before tackling the main damaged area.

Don’t skip this step, especially if you’re a first-time user, as this preliminary test allows you to assess how the paint adheres and dries on your vehicle’s surface, ensuring that you achieve the desired color match and finish without any mess.

Step 5: Clean The Area


Meticulously clean the affected area to remove any dirt or contaminants. For optimal cleaning, use a wax and grease remover.

You may also use car wash soap or rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth. Be gentle in cleaning the area so as not to add any further damage.

Step 6: Start The Paint Restoration Process


Use controlled strokes and apply auto-touch-up paint directly onto the scratched or chipped area.

To ensure proper paint consistency, opt for thin layers allowing each layer to dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

If you can’t control the product coming out from the paint pen, you may use a plastic lid where you can dab the nib of the cell first. This trick is to avoid applying too much paint to the damaged area.


  • If you misapplied the paint pen, don’t remove the newly applied paint by wiping it. Use an automotive lacquer thinner instead and repeat the process.

Step 7: Apply Another Layer As Needed


Wait 10-20 minutes before applying a second layer to ensure that the base has thoroughly dried. Letting each layer dry enhances the paint’s durability.

Applying a second layer is advisable if the base coat isn’t at the same level as the original paint.

Step 8: Smooth Out Touch Up Paint


Upon completion of the paint application, move on to smoothing the paint. Utilize fine-grit sandpaper within the 2000-3000 grit range to gently sand the repaired area.

Employ a light circular motion while sanding to blend the touch-up paint with the original paint for a seamless finish.

After sanding, apply a rubbing compound with a soft cotton cloth to create an even surface and to make the area shiny.

Step 9: Add An Extra Layer Of Protection


Apply a thin, even layer of clear coat over the sanded touch up paint area. Adhere to the recommended drying time between clear coat applications to ensure optimal results.

After the clear coat has fully dried, take a clean microfiber cloth and begin blending and buffing.

Buff the repaired area carefully, aiming to integrate the repair with the surrounding paint seamlessly. Putting in much pressure while applying the clear coat may remove the base coat.

Step 10: Inspect Your Work

Perform a thorough inspection of the repaired section from various angles to ensure a consistent and flawless finish.

Should the need arise, don’t hesitate to repeat using touch up paint and a clear coat process to achieve your desired outcome.

Step 11: Perform After-Work


Securely seal the touch up paint pen to prevent drying. The respirators must be cleaned before storage. The gloves that were used must be discarded appropriately. And don’t forget to wash and sanitize your hands.


Use touch up paint pen to address minor chips and for car scratches that affect its exterior. By following these step-by-step instructions on how to use a touch up paint pen and exercising patience throughout the process, you can achieve results that rival professional repair work.

Embrace the learning curve, and with persistence and attention to detail, you’ll confidently master the application of touch up paint and clear coat, upholding your car’s impeccable exterior appearance.

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