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How to Fix Scratches on Your Car

20 May 2015, 10:17

Car paint or paintwork repairs

Getting a scratch on your car is incredibly annoying, especially if the paintwork is new and the scratch was not your fault.

Having the whole vehicle repainted is expensive and can seem to be a drastic option for one or two smallish marks. But even if your car has deep scratches or key marks along the side, there are ways in which you can repair them at home, without costing you huge amounts of money and which provide excellent results.


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You will have your paintwork looking as good as new in next to no time by following this simple how-to guide:

  1. Assemble the materials that you will need to complete the job:

    • 1 can of clear coat car paint
    • 1 clean cloth
    • Rubbing compound
    • Alcohol wipe
    • Car polish
    • Microfibre cloths
    • Pads to apply the wax and polish
    • Scratch repair kit
    • Masking tape
    • Newspapers
    • Paint to match the colour of your vehicle
  2. Wash your car thoroughly. The cleaner the paintwork is, the better the results will be. If you have a lot of dirt on the car then the scratch repair materials will not stick as well, or you could be left with an uneven finish.
  3. If the scratch goes through the clear coating on the car and into the paintwork, you will be able to feel that it has a sharp edge on each side of the scratch. You will need to start by smoothing this out. Apply some of the rubbing compound to a clean cloth and rub at the scratch in small circular motions. Be careful not to apply too much pressure so that you don’t end up making the scratch worse by damaging the surrounding paintwork.
  4. Once the scratch feels much smoother to the touch, wipe away the rubbing compound which has been left on the surface of the car. The area surrounding the scratch will now appear much duller, but this will be corrected later on.
  5. Clean the section again, making sure to remove all of the rubbing compound from within and around the scratch. You don’t want to have any trapped inside the crevice of the scratch itself as this will have a negative impact on the final results.

    How to Fix Scratches on Your Car
  6. Take masking tape and apply it to either side of the scratch, following the line of the scratch exactly. Using masking tape which has some give in it – the rolls they make for lining curves is particularly good for this – will make it easier to follow the line precisely. The more accurate you are in leaving only the scratch itself uncovered, the better the final results will be. If there is more than one scratch on your car in a small area then you will only be able to repair one at a time.

    The paint takes a week to dry fully and until then you will not be able to apply masking tape over the top of it without ruining all of your hard work.
  7. Take an alcohol wipe, antiseptic wipes or a glasses cleaner work equally well here, and wipe the scratch clean once again.
  8. Apply 3 or 4 coats of car paint in even layers to the scratch. The thinner each coat is, the more even the overall finish will be.
  9. Leave to dry for at least 10 minutes.
  10. Once dry, apply 3 or 4 coats of clear coat, again in thin, even layers. Take your time if you need to and remember that since it is clear, you may not be able to see it once you have sprayed it on. Have faith that it has been applied and don’t keep adding layer upon layer just because you can’t see it.
  11. Carefully remove the masking tape before the clear coat dries. Letting it dry first could mean that you just pull off the layers of paint from the scratch as you remove the tape.
  12. You will need to leave the paint and the clear coat for at least a week before you do anything else to them. Otherwise you will just remove the paint from the scratch and will have to start all over again.
  13. Once you have waited 7 days, you can use the scratch repair kit that you have purchased, following the instructions carefully.
  14. You will then be able to polish and apply wax to the scratch and the area around it, rubbing it in in small circles, and you should end up with a mark which is barely visible from a distance.

    If you take your time throughout all of the steps then you could end up with a result which is just as effective as having the whole car repainted, and in the worst case scenario the scratch will only be visible if you are really looking for it.


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