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Jeff Zurschmeide

Fix those small rock chips before they become a bigger problem.

It's been a great summer, but before winter comes it's always a good idea to take a look at the front of your Mercedes-Benz. Chances are good you'll find some rock chips that weren't there last year.


The best solution for rock chips is prevention, with a clear protective film applied by a professional. However, if you're like me and you put that off until it was too late, you can still salvage the situation, at least partially.


Let's be absolutely frank, no touch-up that you can apply in your garage will look as good as original paint. If you want to truly erase the dings and furrows of outrageous fortune, that's going to take a professional's touch. But you can fill in those chips before they get water into them, freeze up, and lift even more of your original paint. 


Among the top aftermarket touch-up paints, is one of the most highly regarded, and the most reasonably priced. On their website, you just select Mercedes-Benz, your car's model year, and the correct color. If you're not sure of your car's exact color code, check the driver's side door jamb sticker, or under the hood on a sticker in front of the radiator.


Once you've identified the correct paint, you can choose how you'd like to receive it. A 1/2-ounce bottle costs just $12.95, and a paint pen is $14.95. For bigger jobs, a 2-ounce bottle costs $16.95, and that's more touch-up than most of us will ever need.


AutomotiveTouchUp also offers low-cost related products like rubbing compound for $2.99, ultra-fine wet sandpaper for $3.39, a paint prep wipe for $1.79, and a tube of four micro-dabbers for $1.19.


By the way, those micro-dabbers are the best buck you'll ever spend on your car. They make filling in tiny rock chips a breeze, and you'll use just a tiny amount of paint.


I ordered the whole kit, with my Mercedes color (Selenite Gray), dabbers, clearcoat, sandable primer, sandpaper, rubbing compound and a prep wipe. I got it all in case I ever need to touch up a bigger problem, but for this DIY exercise I used the prep wipe, color touchup, and a dabber to fill in those chips.


The bottle of paint comes with a brush in the cap, but the size of the brush is much larger than the chips in the front of my C-Class. The micro-dabber is the perfect solution. Make sure to shake the bottle very well for several minutes to stir up any paint that may have settled.


To do my repairs I just took the cap off and set it near the rock chips. The small amount of paint that was clinging to the cap was plenty for the dabber. The biggest chip was perhaps 2 millimeters across, but very visible. I collected some paint on my dabber and was able to fill in that chip in two stages. Several smaller chips were precisely filled with a single touch of the dabber.


After letting the paint dry for about 5-10 minutes, it's good to go back over and see if the paint has shrunk into the chip, and put on another layer to bring it level with the surrounding paint.


When you're done, you'll probably still be able to see where you were working, but it will be the correct color, your car's metal will be protected, and no one else will notice. That's not a bad result for less than $20 worth of supplies and 15 minutes of your time. If you want even better results, there are instructions on the site about using the rubbing compound and clear coat to achieve near-perfect repairs.