Safe driving isn’t perfect, and even the most careful drivers sometimes get their cars scratched for various reasons. It can be both frustrating and annoying to see your vehicle showcasing a big, ugly scratch because of someone else’s clumsy driving, especially if it just got a new paint job or a wax finish.
Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to high repair fees to fix a few deep scratches. With this guide, you can learn how to fix deep scratches on your car.
Bear in mind, while these practices are effective, large or very deep scratches may require professional service for a complete repair. However, these tips should repair most scratches. Let’s cover a few different methods for fixing deep scratches in your car.
How To Fix Deep Scratches by Using a Scratch Repair Kit
If your car’s scratches aren’t too deep, you might be able to use a standard scratch repair kit to fix it. These are convenient solutions that can be purchased from most auto supply stores.
Scratch repair kits have all the things you need to remove shallow to moderately deep scratches, including scratch removal polish and paste, touch-up paint, and buffers. However, these kits are not the best for fixing intense scratches, so assess the severity of the scratch before purchasing a repair kit.
1. Clean The Area Around the Scratches
Start by thoroughly cleaning the area around the scratches on your car. Regular soap and water will work just fine for this step. Washing the scratch and surrounding area will remove any debris remaining in or around the scratch, so you don’t accidentally rub it into your paint or polish.
2. Apply Scratch Remover
After cleaning the area thoroughly, take your scratch removal paste from the scratch repair kit and apply some to a microfiber cloth, or one of the buffing pads that came with your kit. Do not apply the paste directly to your scratches, as this can damage your paint.
3. Use The Buffing Cloth to Remove the Scratches
Next, take the buffing pad or microfiber cloth and rub the scratch removal paste onto and over the scratches.
The scratch removal polish will work by removing a thin layer of your car’s clear coat (the coat of material on top of its primary paint) so that the surface of the scratch becomes smooth and even. Others may work by smoothing over the edges of scratches. Regardless, either method should have no adverse effects on your paint.
Take your time and scrub into the scratches. It may take several minutes to begin seeing positive results.
4. Remove Any Extra Polish
After buffing the scratches out to the best of your ability, remove any extra polish that’s visible to prevent it from affecting your car’s color or clear coat.
How To Fix Deep Scratches on A Car?
It’s no secret that car paint scratches easily. Ever set a grocery bag on your roof, hood, or trunk lid and then slide it off? You know the result: Instant scratches.
But don’t freak out. You might be able to remove these minor paint scratches yourself in less than an hour and for less than $30. To see if your scratches qualify for this DIY repair, run your fingernail across the scratch. If your nail glides across the scratch without catching in it, it’s a minor scratch that will polish out. But if the scratch catches your fingernail, it’s a job for a body shop.
If your scratch qualifies, pick up 3,000-grit sandpaper, rubbing and polishing compound, and polishing pads. You’ll also need a portable drill or dual action (DA) polisher unit. You can buy most of the components off-the-shelf at any auto parts store. Or you can buy a complete scratch removal kit.
You may have heard about the toothpaste method for removing scratches. This only works for really shallow scratches. Toothpaste is just as abrasive as 3,000-grit sandpaper and works as a polishing compound.
If you don’t have the necessary tools and materials, this is a great option to remove small scratches. Tools You’ll Need a Cordless drill and Polishing compound Pads. Materials You’ll Need 3000-grit sandpaper, Microfiber towel, Polishing compound, Rubbing compound.
1. Sand the car paint scratch
Wet the scratch and sandpaper and lightly sand until the finish looks dull and the scratch is no longer obvious. Then clean the surface with a microfiber towel.
2. Apply compound
Squirt rubbing compound onto the polishing pad and spread it around with the pad. Then run the polisher or drill at 1,200 rpm until you get a light haze. Follow up with a polishing compound to restore the shine.
How to Remove Small Car Scratches
Small scratches are just big enough to stop your fingernail in our test. These scratches have dug down into the base coat. But don’t worry, you can still get them out using basic tools and materials. Remember to wash your car before attempting to remove the scratch. See the simple process below.
Materials You’ll Need
- Microfiber towel
- Polishing compound
- Rubbing compound
1. Apply Scratch-Removal Product. Dab a quarter-sized bead onto the scrubbing pad and apply directly to the scratch. Work the product into the scratched area, as well as the surrounding area.
2. Wipe away the residue. Wipe away any residue with a microfiber towel.
3. Repeat two to three times. It’s safe to do this method a couple of times. You may see a slight difference in the scratch after trying it once but it hasn’t gone away completely. Give it a couple more goes and the scratch will be harder and harder to see.
Otherwise, you can use DingGo to find specialists in your local area who can repair the scratch for you.
How to Remove Deep Car Scratches
Deep paint scratches are much harder to handle but can still be eradicated with some patience. If you can see down to the metal panel, then this is the method for you. As with all of these methods, wash your car before attempting to remove a scratch.
1. Sand the scratched area
Sand with 2,000-grit sandpaper until you reach your car’s metal panel. Always sand in the direction of the scratch; there is no need to make more scratches.
2. Spray primer and then paint onto the sanded area
Mask off the area with paper and masking tape to prevent spreading paint/primer to any other area. Spray automotive primer onto the area and let it dry. Next, spray the area with your car’s matching paint. It can be difficult to find the correct paint shade, but your manufacturer’s specs will give you the code that matches your paint. Lay a heavy amount of paint onto the area and let dry.
3. Polish until the area matches the rest of the car
Make the newly-painted area match the rest of your car by polishing the spot. Lay a quarter-sized bead onto a polishing pad or microfiber towel and rub in a circular motion until all the polish is removed.
Other Methods for Scratch Removal
If you find yourself needing additional options for fixing a deep scratch, there are various methods beyond a scratch repair kit that can be used to help remove scratches.
If you have much deeper than average gouges to take care of, you’ll need to use different materials. We’d recommend using a glazing putty, which can fill in the gouges and allow you to repaint your car’s damaged surface. This is the best method for scratch repair if you can see the bare metal underneath the scratch area.
Here’s how to go about the process.
1. Apply A Glazing Putty
You can pick up glazing putty at most auto repair shops or supply stores. To use glazing putty, first thoroughly clean the scratch with rubbing alcohol. This will remove any residual wax and dirt from the scratch and surrounding areas. Remember to use a soft microfiber cloth to prevent damaging your paint.
Next, fill in the scratch with your glazing putty. As opposed to a scratch removal paste, you want to put the putty directly onto your car’s surface. A dime-sized amount will typically suffice for most scratch sizes.
Use a spreader tool or squeegee to spread it into the gouge smoothly. The putty should fill the scratch space and help restore it to its original structure. Allow the putty to cure for two or three minutes, giving it time to harden without interruption.
2. Remove Excess Putty
To achieve a smooth surface, you must remove any excess putty that remains. You can use a liquid paint leveler or a similar fluid to get the job done. Apply the liquid paint leveler, and continue using it with a microfiber cloth until the scratch appears like a flat, colored line with the area around it looking transparent. Once completed, you can then paint over any scratches you’ve filled in, if desired.
3. Paint Over Scratches
No matter which method you choose to repair the scratches on your car, you will eventually need to paint over them. You can often do this with basic touch-up paint, which typically comes with top-tier scratch removal kits.
For more significant or more visibly apparent scratches, you may want to consider having them touched up by a professional. Touch-ups can be tricky when it comes to color matching, so when you have larger scratches that need to be blended with your current paint color, it’s often best to leave it to the pros.
4. Use a Fine Brush to Touch Up Paint
If you choose to apply the touch-up paint yourself, make sure you use a fine-bristle paintbrush to apply your paint. If one was not supplied in your touch-up kit, you can find inexpensive micro brushes at most auto parts retailers.
Using your fine-bristle brush, apply the touch-up paint gently and carefully to cover the desired area. When finished, allow it to dry for between 8 and 12 hours. Once dry, you can apply a wax layer to help seal and protect the newly applied paint.