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You don't have to be a repair professional to fix scratches on your car.

All you need is a little elbow grease and a good scratch removal kit.

Maintaining your vehicle’s painted finish is important 1, 2

Your car’s paint/clear coat finish does more than keep your vehicle looking good; it protects the surface from future corrosion. If a scratch is left untreated, rust can develop along the scratch line. Once that happens, if not repaired, rust can spread beyond the scratch.

Minor scratches3

If the scratch hasn’t exposed your car’s metal or primer, it’s probably a clear-coat scratch. Fixing car scratches like this is fairly easy. It can be rubbed or polished out without having to repaint.

Tip: Slow and steady wins the race here. If you rub too hard or fast, you risk damaging your car’s basecoat.

Fixing deep scratches on a car is another matter

If the scratch extends down into the primer layer or the bare metal, consider taking your car to a professional repair shop. Fixing deep scratches typically requires leveling the scratch with filler material, repainting, applying a new clear-coat layer and buffing. Unless you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer, fixing deep scratches on a car is best left to an experienced repair person.If you have comprehensive insurance for your vehicle, it often covers fixing car scratches.

Scratch repair kits4

There are many repair kits on the market for fixing car scratches. Generally, they consist of an abrasive (such as rubbing compound and fine grit sand paper) and a polisher (paste or spray wax). Some kits also contain special applicators, polishing cloths and an aerosol can of clear coat. Always follow the directions that came with your repair kit.

Tip: Don’t scrimp on quality. Buy the best repair materials or kit that you can afford.

How to fix a car scratch – the basic steps5

This is a quick overview of the process used to fix a car scratch. It’s not intended to be a step-by-step guide. Always follow the directions that came with your repair kit.

  1. Wash and thoroughly dry your vehicle.
  2. Apply a small amount of scratch remover onto a foam applicator pad.
  3. Rub the scratch remover into the scratched area, gently working it into the scratches. 
  4. When finished, buff the area with a clean dry terry towel or microfiber cloth.
  5. Finally, polish the area with paste or spray wax to restore luster.

What about marks?6

Marks are paint or rubber smudges left on the surface of your finish when an object (like another car’s bumper) scrapes your finish but does not penetrate the clear coat. Marks are easy to repair and can usually be cleaned off with lacquer thinner or acetone. Again, go slowly to avoid damaging your vehicle’s finish.

Learn More

The Dummies' Guide to Covering Car Scratches

Sources

1 How to Repair a Deep Scratch

2, 4 Car Scratch Remover Review

3, 6  Car Scratch Repair- Pros and Cons of Touch-Up Paint

5 How to Safely Remove Fine Scratches from Your Car's Pain

Additional Sources

I Have Foggy Headlights! What Do I Do?

 

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