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First ride of the year went great, but during messing around in the garage I managed to drop some shit from my garage attic on to the tank. Tank is dented with a large amount of chipped paint. Any suggestions on covering this up on the cheap?
 

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Sealing the hole in the paint is critical to preventing rust. I would get the touch up paint for your bike from color rite, and fill that in before trying anything else. Gloss black will never be perfect, but you can make that less obvious. If you're careful you can make that look decent from a few feet.

The trick is to use the least amount of paint on the brush as you can..... Touch the bare metal in the middle of the damage with the brush stationary and let the paint flow off the brush. Just enough for it to flow to the damaged edges of the paint, so it can flow into the cracks and seal the edges.

Let that layer dry for at least half an hour. Patience is key. So is moderation.

If you use this technique, it will take more coats than you would think to bring the surface in the damage near the height of the good paint. The color will be close but not perfect, and you could end up with a lip at the edges..... None of which will matter under a tank bag.
 

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Much better than the cost of a new tank. If you decide it bothers you enough, you can at some later point have the tank fixed by a body shop.... No rust gives you all the time in the world to make a decision.
 

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As RJ noted, touching up the bare metal is critical ASAP, as it requires no time at all for rust to start its cancerous ways.

Sometimes a body shop can 'pop' out the dented portion to a significant degree - no it won't look stock, it will only be better than it presently is - using compressed air. Before you try something like that, the tank has to be emptied of fuel, then washed to remove all the petroleum aromatics. Otherwise you could cause an explosion.

If you're a picky bugger (like a lot of us are), this route may not do the trick.

But, you still want to cover the bare metal with paint before you do anything else.
 
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