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Has anyone used paint pens?

I recently scratched the passenger back right hand side against a yellow pillar and it left some long scratches on my vehicle. I initially had a claim out with my insurance for repair (with a $500 deductible). After speaking with a couple people, they suggested using a paint pen. The process does not seem too cumbersome. The scratched are under a dime size in width. I am not sure what they other rule-outs to using this method are but thought I would ask for the experts feedback on whether anyone has used paint pens and if it worth trying before shelling out hundreds of dollars at the auto shop.

Picture of damage?

I do not have a way to upload photos. I’m sorry :frowning:

I’ve used them. They turn a scratch that can be seen from 20’ away to a scratch that can be seen from 5’ away.


Agree with @MikeInNH, it is an OK repair for a car you don’t care that much how it looks. It will NOT be a factory-fresh paint repair.

Take that description and decide whether you can accept that or not.

An alternative is to try it and see. You can always take it to a body shop for a proper repair. They will just sand off the touchup much like they’d sand out the scratch.

There are touch up paints that have a pen part and a brush part. I have never been able to get good results with the pen part. Just use the “brush” part with a nicer brush you get from the arts store. This is all about a steady hand and plenty of time.

I agree with the others. The paint pen results will be noticeable.

You might want to try going over the scratches with polishing compound to see what happens. I wouldn’t use rubbing compound unless you know what you’re doing.


IMHO the brush ones do a better job than the pen ones, but neither will make a scratch disappear.

You don’t mention the age of the Kia or your driving environment, but paint fades as it’s exposed to the sun anyway and even a pro can have a hard time doing a perfect match, especially of it’s a fancy paint (like “pealescent” or “glitter” finishes) and especially if it’s the paint on a plastic panel (the “flex agent” used can affect the paint’s tone). And some colors are tougher to match than others.

In summary, if the quality of the repair is very important, go to a reputable pro. But still, don’t have unrealistic expectations. Even a pro can’t do miracles.
If you just want it to look decent again, I recommend the brush touch up paint in the little bottles. They work as good as anything I’ve used.

If you have yellow pain transfer from the post you bumped, Lion’s suggestion is an excellent one. I use a well-wetted round sponge on a variable speed drill (at low speed) with dobs of polishing compound.

NOTE: do not confuse “polishing compound” with “car polish”. Polishing compound is a media with very fine abrasive and no wax. Car polish is generally a waxing product. The parts store guy should be able to help you with the selection. Use this modestly until you get comfortable with it. You want to remove the yellow transfer, not buff through the car’s paint.

for small chips/scratches I found toothpick to work better than that brush: it allows for much better control to compare to cheap brush these bottles have

you could also consider an inexpensive fine artistic brush

Agree with galant about the pen part being worthless. Good for small nicks but anything else will show. Better of with sanding priming and using a spray can. Then sand with 2000 grit and polish.

Go to Walmart. Buy a quart of lacquer thinner in the auto department. Lacquer thinner will not harm the original paint, but will remove the transferred yellow paint. I just did the right front corner of my neighbors airport car, removing transfered white paint; and he’s a body man, I also did my friends Lincoln bumper removing white paint from a black car.

Lacquer thinner will remove any touch up paint. Therefore you can remove the transfered paint, and touch up with any method you like. If you don’t like the results wipe it off with the thinner.

In any touch up work, 90% of success comes with the preparation.View some you tube videos The preparation is a lot of work Remove the transfered paint, Maybe you can live with the results.

I’ve used them, but my only goal was to prevent the exposed metal from rusting. As a cosmetic repair tool, they suck. If you want the repair to look nice, you’re going to have to take it to a body shop and pay for a true repair.

I keep a bottle of touchup paint (with brush) in my trunk toolbox just for this purpose. It’s been my experience that if you touch up the scratch immediately it won’t rust even after many years.

And, should I want to drill the sheetmetal like when I added the right side mirror to my pickup many years ago (they weren’t required back then) I coat the hole with the touchup paint before putting the screws is and no sign of rust ever develops. I drilled a few holes in my trucks for various aftermarket hardware and never had a hint of rust at the holes, even 17 years later.