I recently had something hit the side door of my Model 3 near the top and take a gouge out of the paint. All that paint protection film I have on the front of the car, the lower rockers, behind the wheels, etc. and I end up getting hit near the top of a door. Figures. I went by the Tesla service center for something else and they had some black touch up paint so I asked them to fill in the gouge for the time being and they did. Not a particularly graceful job but at least it was protecting the car from having the primer or metal underneath exposed until I could do something about it. One of the service guys told me that he thought there were new paint kits available from Tesla and sure enough there are and Black was available – Woot! I ordered one. Yes, I know the price is $55!
Why $55? Well it isn’t just a bottle of touch up paint but rather a kit to help you fix rock chips our gouges like the one I had. Here is what comes in the kit:
The kit comes with a bottle of paint, a bottle of removal solution (likely some type of thinner mixed with a mild polish), a smoothing squeegee, a paint brush, a white polishing cloth and a grey microfiber buffing towel and directions.
Here is what my paint gouge looked like after having some paint touchup work done by the Tesla service center and then I polished that down to get rid of the high spots before starting with the Tesla kit. If you hadn’t had any touch up work done then there would be no reason for you to polish first like I did.
Here is a picture of the gouge from another angle. I have no idea if it was some sort of sharp high speed rock on the highway or if someone in a parking lot drug something across my car gouging the paint, but whatever the cause it didn’t look pretty.
The first thing you do is apply paint into the rock chip or in my case a linear gouge until the paint is higher than the rest of the surface of the car. The following image shows the gouge filled with paint but before I smoothed/leveled it out.
The next step is to take the red rubber squeegee supplied and drag that across the surface of the car smoothing out the surface of the touch up paint. This will smear some paint onto the rubber and will smear some paint beyond the rock chip our gouge itself. I used the white polish cloth with a little bit of the solvent/polish solution to remove that excess paint from the rubber squeegee and from around the rock chip, but NOT the rock chip itself. You want to let the paint dry first before doing that.
After the paint dries it usually contracts a little bit which means the level of the paint in the chip has likely dropped back down below the surface of the rest of the paint on the car. I ended up touching up the gouge again and again filling paint, using the squeegee to level it off and then letting it dry. Depending on the depth (mine was deep) of the rock chip or gouge you may need to repeat this process a couple of times.
Finally you use the white polish cloth to remove any excess paint and then the buffing cloth to clean the whole surface. As you can see in the picture above (mostly a reflection of my garage wall in the black paint) the gouge is now much less noticeable than it was originally and that’s what I wanted. Do I think the kit was worth it? Sure, it worked well for this gouge, and was less expensive than having some body shop try and fix it, and I have plenty of paint and solvent left to touch up many more spots although I hope those are few and far between since my Model 3 has clear paint protection film on most of the surfaces that are likely to take hits. While my touchup was not perfect meaning not completely invisible, it was much better than what the service center did with just a brush and I’m sure with more practice my results would get even better. I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have suggestions for future articles, please let me know!