Whether you’re a seasoned car enthusiast or a casual driver, scratches on your car’s exterior
can be frustrating. Fortunately, you can repair minor scratches and spots on your car yourself using the right tools and techniques. It not only saves your time but your money as well.
Al Zaabi Autocare values your time and money by providing some tips and tricks for DIY (Do-it-yourself) car scratch repair. You can use them to keep your car looking at its best.
Types of Scratches
Before continuing with any DIY car scratch repair, it is essential to know what type of scratch your car has. Some of the types are given below:
- Clear Coat Scratches – These scratches are the most common and least severe type of car scratches, which may get repaired easily. You can fix it using scratch remover or polishing to address these scratches.
- Primer Scratches – A primer scratch extends beyond the clear coat. You may require additional steps to repair this type of car scratch; for instance, applying touch-up paint before polishing.
- Paint Scratch – These scratches pass through the clear coat and primer to an actual paint and may expose the metal underneath. This kind of scratch requires a car professional to repair, including touch-up paint and a clear coat.
- Key Scratch/Deep Scratch – These scratches are more severe than the previous ones, reaching the metal body of the car. Repairing this scratch requires professional assistance, such as filling the scratch, sanding, clear coating, and painting.
- Swirl Marks – These are circular scratches, which are often caused by improper drying or washing techniques. You can fix it using a swirl remover or polishing.
- Spider Web/Crack-like Scratches – These are like spider webs or cracks. Your car can have these scratches when a harder object grazes or scraps the paint’s surface.
- Scuff Marks – These are shallow scratches caused by rubbing against another object. These can be easily buffed out with rubbing components or polishing.
- Oxidation Scratches – This occurs when the clear coat breaks down over time and leads to dull and hazy patches on your car’s paint. These can be addressed with polishing and applying a new layer of wax.
DIY Tips and Tricks to Remove Car Scratches
Multiple DIY hacks can be used to remove car scratches; however, below are the easy, helpful, and commonly used ones.
Determine the Depth of Scratch
Before attempting any DIY car scratch repair, it’s important to determine the depth of the scratch. To do this, run your fingernail over the scratch. If you can feel the scratch with your fingernail, it is considered deep and may require a more extensive repair.
If you cannot feel the scratch with your fingernail, it is considered shallow and may only need a light touch-up. Knowing the depth of the scratch will help you determine which DIY car scratch repair method is most appropriate for the job.
Once you have determined the depth of the scratch, the next step is to clean the area. Use gentle soap and warm water to clean the area around the scratch thoroughly. Make sure to remove any dirt, grime, or debris from the scratch, as this can prevent the repair material from adhering properly.
Once the area is clean, use a microfiber cloth to dry the area completely. It’s essential to have a clean and dry surface before attempting any DIY car scratch repair.
Use Petroleum Jelly
If your car requires a minor surface scratch repair, you can get the advantage of using petroleum jelly. Make sure you have properly cleaned the compromised area with soapy water. Then, apply petroleum jelly to a cotton swab and rub it gently into the scratch.
Use a Scratch Remover
When dealing with shallow scratches, a scratch remover is a great DIY car scratch repair solution. Scratch removers come in various forms, such as creams, liquids, or pens. Choose a scratch remover that matches the color of your car and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Apply a small amount of the scratch remover to the affected area and use a microfiber cloth to rub the product into the scratch gently. Be sure to avoid applying too much pressure or rubbing too hard, as this can cause further damage to the paint.
Once you have worked the product into the scratch, wipe away any excess with a clean cloth. The scratch remover should effectively fill in the scratch and leave behind a smooth finish.
Use a Touch-up Pen
Another DIY solution for shallow scratches is a touch-up pen. Touch-up pens are available in various colors to match your car’s paint. They work by filling in the scratches with color-matched paint.
Before using a touch-up pen, clean the area around the scratch thoroughly and ensure that the surface is completely dry. Shake the touch-up pen well before using it, and then apply the paint directly onto the scratch, being careful to avoid applying too much.
Once the paint is applied, use a fine-tip brush to feather out the edges of the paint and blend it with the surrounding area. Allow the paint to dry completely before applying a clear coat to protect the repair.
Toothpaste is a popular DIY hack for shallow scratches on cars. However, it is important to note that this method may not work for all types of scratches and may not provide long-lasting results. Start by cleaning the affected area with a damp cloth and dry it thoroughly.
Then, apply a small amount of toothpaste directly onto the scratch and use a clean cloth to gently rub the toothpaste into the scratch in a circular motion. After rubbing for a few minutes, wipe away the excess toothpaste with a clean cloth.
Inspect the area and repeat the process if necessary. Toothpaste contains a mild abrasive that can remove minor scratches by gently polishing the surface of the paint.
Sand the Scratch
Sanding the scratch is an option for deeper scratches that cannot be fixed with a scratch remover or touch-up pen. Start by cleaning the affected area with soap and water and dry it thoroughly.
Then, use fine-grit sandpaper to gently sand the scratch until the surface is smooth and level with the surrounding area. Be careful not to sand too much or too hard, as this can damage the surrounding paint.
Once the scratch is sanded, use a clean cloth to wipe away any dust and debris. Next, apply a layer of primer to the sanded area and let it dry completely.
Finally, apply touch-up paint that matches the color of your car, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Sanding a scratch can be a delicate process and requires a steady hand and patience.
Fill the Scratch
Filling the scratch is an option for deeper scratches that cannot be fixed with a scratch remover or touch-up pen. After cleaning the affected area and drying it, apply a small amount of automotive body filler to the scratch using a plastic putty knife or similar tool.
Be sure to spread the filler evenly across the scratch and allow it to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the filler is dry, use fine-grit sandpaper to gently sand the surface until it is smooth and level with the surrounding area.
Buff the Area
Buffing is the process of using a buffer and a polishing compound to remove scratches from the surface of your car. Before buffing, ensure that the scratch is clean and dry.
You can use mild soap and water to clean the area or a specialized cleaning solution for automotive paint. Then, apply a small amount of polishing compound onto a clean and soft buffing pad.
Start buffing the scratched area with the polishing compound in a circular motion, using light pressure to get the expected results. After buffing the scratched area, you can apply a clear coat to provide extra protection and give a glossy finish to the surface.
The clear coat is a transparent paint that is usually applied on top of the colored paint to protect it from the elements and scratches. To apply the clear coat, first, ensure that the surface is clean and dry.
Then, spray a light layer of clear coat over the area. Hold the can about 8-10 inches away from the surface and use a sweeping motion to apply the clear coat. Be sure to overlap each pass slightly to ensure even coverage.
Don’t overlook the severity of a scratch; it varies. Some scratches can be fixed easily, and some need professional assistance. If you’re unsure about the best approach to continue with fixing the car scratch, consult with us via call at +971 50 187 3124.