Stone chips and scratches are unavoidable, but you can do something about the steady decline they cause to the value of your car.
The most effective cure is a bodyshop respray. Yet this is an expensive option, and can cost several hundred pounds. If you are unable to stretch that far, mobile SMART (Small and Medium Area Repair Techniques) operators do an excellent job on a wide variety of scuffs, dings and dents.
For even less outlay, there are several DIY options, ranging from pastes to full primer and paint repairs. But are they a false economy? We put eight to the test to find out.
Repairing paintwork is not the kind of job you want to rush into, and potentially make a mess of – so before trying each product, we rated their instructions. Some required more in-depth procedures than others, and we were keen to ensure that those which involved making a repair look worse before it got better spelled this out clearly.
We put each option through its paces and assessed the end result. As well as appearance, we took into account whether the repair was permanent or needed repeating a few weeks later. We also considered whether the effort required, and the price, justified the results.
There is nothing to choose between the Mer and Farécla stone chip kits. Both give excellent results, and the instructions supplied make the processes accessible to beginners.
Mer took the top spot purely down to the fact it supplied a DVD, rather than a video. The only problem with both is cost – once you have added in the price of paint, it’s possible that they will work out as expensive as a SMART fix.
That’s why Turtle Wax, which finishes third, is also worth investigating. For less than £10, Color Magic will transform a dog-eared car – albeit not permanently.