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15 Steps To Get Rid Of Paint Scratches From Your Car

We like it when our cars are spotless and look new. But that feeling soon disappears when you discover an annoying scratch that takes away a part of the car. While you may take it to a professional to fix, trying to get the car back in shape yourself is often the cheaper option. Swipe …

We like it when our cars are spotless and look new. But that feeling soon disappears when you discover an annoying scratch that takes away a part of the car. While you may take it to a professional to fix, trying to get the car back in shape yourself is often the cheaper option. Swipe through for the steps that can help you achieve this in no time.

Understanding Types of Scratches


Scratches differ in their depth and impact on the car’s layers. Superficial damages that only affect the clear coat often do not affect the paint color. Dents that reach the paint may allow moisture to get to the metal, increasing the risk of rust. Deep dents that expose the metal are the most severe and usually require color matching.

Assessing the Damage


Examine the damage under a bright light for accurate assessment. Bright light reveals how the dent affects the surface by highlighting irregularities and distortions. Deep scratches will cause a noticeable distortion in the reflection, indicating significant abrasion to the paint layers. Conversely, lighter ones may only cause minor disruptions in the light reflection, signifying less severe scratches.

Gathering Materials


Prepare by collecting sandpaper, a clear coat pen, polishing and rubbing compounds, and possibly touch-up paint. Choosing the right sandpaper ensures you do not inadvertently remove too much of the car’s paint. Consider adding a plastic filler applicator, a paint thickness gauge, and different grades of microfiber cloths.

Cleaning the Area

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After washing the car with automotive soap and water, use a detailing clay bar to remove stubborn contaminants that regular washing may miss. This step eliminates microscopic debris embedded in the top coat, ensuring a pristine surface for the work. A clean surface prevents any extra impairment during sanding and application of repair products.

Applying Masking Tape


Use high-quality, automotive-grade masking tape to avoid leaving adhesive residues, which are sometimes hard to remove and might damage the car’s finish. Carefully apply the tape to create a buffer zone around the dent, extending slightly beyond the affected portion. This step will protect the surrounding paintwork and keep the damaged site contained.

Sanding the Scratch


Start by sanding the gash with finer grit sandpaper, such as 3000 grit, to remove the clear coat around it. If the dint isn’t smoothing out, you may cautiously move to a coarser grit, like 2000 grit. Keep the affected part well-lubricated with soapy water throughout the sanding process to minimize friction and prevent the sandpaper from causing additional marks.

Using a Scratch Repair Kit

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These kits include all necessary components, such as base paint and a clear coat pen. Begin by applying the color-matched paint to the dint, ensuring it is level with the outer parts. Let dry thoroughly according to the kit’s instructions. Following this, apply the clear coat using the provided pen.

Applying a Rubbing Compound


Use a clean microfiber cloth or a foam applicator when applying a rubbing compound. Dab a small amount onto the fabric, then work it into the scratch in a dual-action motion. After that, use a clean section of the cloth to buff the repairs, removing any excess compound gently.

Wet Sanding Technique

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This technique involves using wet sandpaper and a lubricant to gently sand the repaired area, gradually smoothing out any unevenness and feathering the edges of the new paint into the surrounding paintwork. Maintaining a delicate touch and precise movements during wet sanding is essential to avoid removing too much paint or damaging the surrounding areas.

Dual-Action Polishing Machine


If you are adept with power tools, a dual-action polishing machine can provide a more uniform result than hand smoothening. Always begin with a less abrasive product and only increase the abrasiveness if necessary. Additionally, when operating the machine, move it regularly in an overlapping pattern to avoid heat build-up, which can damage the paint.

Waxing the Area


Select a suitable wax for your car’s specific paint type. Choosing a high-quality carnauba wax can enhance the depth and shine if your vehicle has a darker paint finish. For lighter-colored paints, consider synthetic polymer wax, which offers a more durable layer of protection that withstands the elements longer and is less prone to showing dirt and smudges.

Touch-up Paint for Deeper Gashes 

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Touch-up paint is essential to prevent rust when dealing with deeper scratches. Instead of smearing one thick layer of paint, try applying several thin layers, a little at a time. This technique ensures that each layer can dry and cure fully before you use the next, significantly reducing the risk of the paint running or forming drips.

Final Inspection

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Conduct a final inspection of your repair work under various lighting conditions to ensure the repaired area merges perfectly with the unaffected parts. You may need to refine the area if you notice any discrepancies in shade or texture or if the mark appears visible from certain angles. In that case, try reapplying touch-up paint, additional sanding, or more polishing.

Maintenance Tips


To maintain your car’s paint quality, always park it in a garage or under a cover whenever possible. The shade will shield it from the harmful effects of UV rays and environmental pollutants like bird droppings, tree sap, and industrial fallout. Furthermore, applying a sealant provides additional protection against these elements.

When to Seek Professional Help


If the fault remains visible or any step in the repair process results in unevenness or a mismatch in texture or hue, it may be time to take the car to a body shop. Professionals have advanced tools and techniques to achieve a flawless finish, such as paint-matching technology and high-grade spray equipment.