How to Fix a Car Paint Scratch

A clean and well-maintained car not only helps its owner make a good impression wherever they may go, it can also do a lot to ensure the car performs well throughout its lifespan. There are plenty of things that can cause a car to deteriorate before its time however. Issues like paint scratches may not seem very serious or problematic at first, but they can potentially lead to issues with your car’s bodywork and overall integrity. If a paint scratch is allowed to rust, it can mean major auto body repairs in the not too distant future. Fortunately, there is a simple way to fix car paint scratches before they become a major issue for your vehicle.

Assess the Depth of the Scratch

The first thing you should do when you notice a scratch on your car’s paint finish is determine how deep the scratch happens to be. A shallow scratch is usually something that can be fixed at home in a few easy steps. Anything that reaches deeper into the paint finish should be looked at by a trained professional. Run your fingernail along the surface of the scratch. If your nail catches in the scratch, it may mean the scratch has reached through the protective clear coats and into the paint itself. These scratches are often too deep to fix at home.

Prep for Paint Repairs

Once you’ve determined whether or not you are able to fix the scratch on your own, you can prepare for repairs by cleaning and sanding the affected surface. Begin by washing the surface of the car thoroughly. This will prevent dust and dirt from contaminating the new paint and sealer coat and causing problems in the future. You should then sand the area directly around the scratch edges to create a smooth surface on which you can apply new paint and sealer. A 2000 grit wet sandpaper is usually the best choice to use on this type of project.

Shallow Scratch Repair

Once the area is clean and sanded, you can finish your repairs if the scratch is shallow and only happens to affect the clear coat surface. You can then dab a small amount of rubbing compound which can be purchased at a local hardware or auto body repair shop onto the scratch. Start with a small amount and add more if necessary to prevent unnecessary removal of existing clear coat. Once the space is clear of any excess clear coat, you can apply a new clear coat finish using wipe on car wax. Wipe in a circular motion until the wax becomes invisible. After you let the wax dry it should repel any water, and will make the shallow scratch disappear.

Deep Scratch Repair

Some scratches that go deeper may need a few new layers applied before the clear coat finish. In these cases, you should purchase a paint and primer touch up kit for your car that matches the existing colour. Once you have the kit, you can apply the new primer, paint and clear coat sealer to a clean and sanded area in and around the scratch. First add the primer and let it dry overnight. You can then add the touch up paint after shaking it well and dabbing it so it covers the edges of the chip or scratch. Once the area is filled with enough paint layers and has had a chance to dry completely, give it another layer of clear coat to finish it completely. You can then add a new wax layer to the entire vehicle to give it a universally bright new finish.

For scratches that are too deep to adequately repair and finish at home, be sure to bring your car to the autobody repair experts in Vancouver at Spotlite Collision. Our team specializes in performing paint scratch and chip repairs that are virtually invisible. We also specialize in paint and body repairs for all European vehicle models, so don’t hesitate to bring your car to our shop the next time you need any major or minor body damage fixed right away.