DIY Scratch Repair: How To Fix Scratches On Your Car

DIY Scratch Repair: How To Fix Scratches On Your Car

Unsightly nicks, scuffs, and scratches can be real eyesores on your car or truck, but taking them to be fixed by a pro can end up costing you a lot out of pocket. Instead, save your money by learning how to fix scratches on your car. It’s easy, won’t break the bank, and will get your ride looking slick again.

Here is your DIY guide for how-to fix scratches on your car.

How to Assess If You Can Do Your Own Car Scratch Repair

Don’t bother taking your car into the dealer or auto repair shop just for them to tell you your paint’s finish must be fixed by them (at a hefty cost). In many cases, the car’s scratch can be fixed yourself.

Here’s how to tell:

  • If you run a fingernail over the scratch and it doesn’t catch, you only have a surface scratch. This is easily repaired yourself.
  • If your fingernail catches, then you have a deeper scratch. Depending on the size and severity of the scratch, you can still possibly repair this yourself with the right products and some patience. It may take a day or two to get your scratch repairs cured.
  • If you have large scratches such as from a key or having brushed your car against a hard or sharp object, you may want to leave your car scratch repair to the professionals.

Car Scratch Repair for Small Scratches

blue car with small scratch

Tobias Toft:

There are a few tried and true ways to repair small nicks and scuffs on your car’s paint job. Here are a few easy things to try before you move on to more involved methods.

  • A Shoe Polish Shine: This won’t remove scratches, but will hide them.
  • The Old Toothpaste Trick: Since whitening toothpaste is mildly abrasive, it’s a great product for buffing small scratches out of your paint. First, wash and dry the area. Second, apply a quarter-sized drop of toothpaste onto a damp microfiber towel. Third, rub the scratched area in a circular motion. Fourth, rinse and repeat.
  • WD40 Magic: Spray a bit on and wipe the scratch away. It may take a couple of tries, but it might just work wonders.

Car Scratch Repair for Deeper Nicks, Chips, and Scuffs

If the above methods don’t accomplish the task or your car is suffering from a deeper nick, chip, or scuff, purchasing a car scratch removal kit is the next route to take. These kits can be bought at an auto supply store or in the auto supply aisle at your supermarket.

These kits come with either a single product (usually a one-step tinted wax) or as a collection of aerosol cans, sandpaper, and buffing cloths that will give you as close to a professional paint job as possible for an at-home DIYer.

If you go with the more inclusive kit, you’ll find yourself needing to take a few steps, with waiting periods in between to ensure proper curing.

  1. Sanding: Using 180-grit sandpaper, grind down to bare metal.
  1. Priming: Use a black-tinted sandable primer to fill in the sandpaper scores. This will require three coats with a 5-10 minute wait period in between.
  1. Coating: Apply a base coat and seal in the pigment. Between sprays, wet-sand with 1,500-grit sandpaper.
  1. Rubbing: Bring out the shine by letting the clear coat dry overnight and rub in the final compound. Hit it with an orbital buffer to help it blend in with the rest of your paint.

When to Call a Car Scratch Repair Professional

When you simply can’t fix scratches on your car, like when the scratches are very deep or cover a large area, it’s time to call in the car scratch repair professional.

In addition, it can be virtually impossible to match manufacturers paint and coatings, so if you want a meticulous finish, that’s another time to call in the car scratch repair professional. Not only will a qualified shop eliminate the potential for lasting damage (such as rusting of the uncovered metal), but the pros will make your car look new again which also helps to maintain its value over the long term.

Now that you know how to fix scratches on your car (or when to take it into a pro), check out Wade Auto’s popular car and truck accessories to add even more value to your vehicle.

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