How to Fix Paint Scratches on Your Car
The paint on your car has two important jobs. First, it keeps the car looking great day after day. With a quality paint job, your vehicle will look nice and will be a source of pride – especially after a fresh wash. But paint is not only about aesthetics. Beyond the visual, paint also helps to protect the condition of your car. It keeps water away from directly contacting the metal, which could lead to corrosion. So, maintaining a solid layer of paint around the vehicle will go a long way toward both keeping the car looking great and maintaining its condition over the coming years.
When the inevitable scratch damages your paint job, it’s helpful to know how to address that issue promptly. In this article, we’ll provide some basic instructions on how to fix paint scratches quickly and easily. And, if you are interested in avoiding some future scratches, consider adding a carport or other metal building from Carport Kingdom. You can start with our Build & Price tool and you’re always welcome to contact us directly with any questions.
Identifying the Type of Scratch
The first task you need to address is determining what kind of scratch you are facing. While you will get better at this task with experience, you should be able to make a pretty good determination even on your first try. To help you get started, we’ve broken down car paint scratches into three general categories –
This is a paint scratch that goes all the way down to the bare metal of the vehicle’s body below. It generally requires a pretty significant event to cause a scratch this deep – so you won’t be dealing with this big of an issue simply because you drove too close to a tree in your driveway and gently brushed some branches. While these kinds of scratches are uncommon, they are also very difficult to fix. Most likely, you’ll need to get professional help to properly fix a scratch that has made its way to the bare metal level.
In this case, your scratch has made it down to the paint, but not through to the bare metal. A moderate impact is needed to scratch your car in this manner, such as when someone opens their car door into your vehicle on accident. Scratches at this level may be able to be repaired on a DIY basis, but that will depend on the size of the area affected. A small scratch that goes down to the paint is much easier to fix than one that runs along an entire side panel.
With any luck, this is what you will be dealing with more often than not. A surface scratch is one that has only impacted the clear coat layer that protects your paint – but not the paint itself. With the right supplies – more on that in a moment – you can easily repair these kinds of scratches and repair the health of your clear coat.
Addressing Surface Scratches
If you determine that your scratches are only in the clear coat layer, you’ll need to pick up a few supplies and you can get started on the fix right away. Here’s what you’ll need –
- Rubbing and polishing compound
- Clean towel
- Scrubbing pad
You can pick up all of these items at your local auto supply store, and none of it should be very expensive. Start by using the rubbing compound on the scrubbing pad, and work it over the affected area in a circular pattern. Then, wipe off the area and move to the polishing compound to repeat the process and create a nice shine. As long as the scratches were as light as you believed, the area should look much better and you can wrap up the project.
More Advanced Repairs
When dealing with scratches that go down into the paint and below, you are going to need more supplies – and more effort – to get good results. And, as mentioned above, you might not be able to fix all scratches on your own. You’ll be much happier with the results you get fixing serious scratches if you simply take the car to a body shop to be fixed up.
The big differences here as opposed to above are that you’ll need to sand down to the paint level and you will need paint that matches the body of your vehicle. On that second point, look in your owner’s manual for a paint color code that you can use to shop for some appropriate touch-up paint. If you can’t find it in the owner’s manual, some online searching for your car’s make, model, and year should reveal the info you need.
For sanding, get a very high-grit sandpaper – perhaps around 2,000 – and go over the area in a circular motion to work your way down to the paint level. Then, the touch-up paint can be used, and the compounds can be applied to hopefully create an appealing shine in that area of your vehicle once again.
Prevent Scratches from Happening in the First Place
Fortunately, if you’re dealing with scratches, there are some simple solutions that should have your car’s paint in better condition in no time at all. After you go through the trouble of repairing them, remember to do your best from letting them happen in the first place.
When shopping, park in places that may be a little further away from the store. Most people aren’t willing to walk, so that means fewer car doors hitting your own. And of course, remember to consider an enclosed carport made by Carport Kingdom. Gone will be the days of cats nesting on the roof of your car or incidents with unwanted items making contact with your vehicle. Learn more about our carports today and remember to explore our free Build & Price tool. We hope to serve you soon!