How To Do Your Own Car Scratch Repair

 woman worried about how to remove scratches from car

Interested in doing your own car scratch repair? We’ll show you how! 

Here you are, having bought your car, admiring how shiny and brilliant it looks in the parking lot. How impeccable, what a perfect finish everything has, you can even see your own reflection. What colors, what texture, what scent! 

Fast forward a few years…

Here you are, years later, looking at the same car, yet not feeling the same things as you once did. The paint has faded, finishings look less glossy, and there are all sorts of scratches on the surface that simply don’t do it justice. Some may be just small scratches, but others are downright deep and look impossible to get rid of.

So you start thinking: is car scratch repair for you? Does it even work? Can you learn how to remove scratches from a car by yourself?

All these are valid questions, especially if you’re already noticing scratches forming on your car’s paint coat. In this article, we will answer each and every one of them while also offering additional information that could be useful to you when looking to better care for your car.

What Causes Car Scratches And Why Should You Care?

Before we delve into the ins and outs of car scratch repair, let us go through the reasons why these scratches appear in the first place.

They may come as a surprise, especially if you are very diligent when it comes to car care and doing all you can to look after your beautiful vehicle. However, scratches, regardless if they’re barely noticeable or if they’ve created serious damage, occur for several reasons.

Let’s take a closer look at what enables the appearance of scratches on your car’s surface, so we can, later on, show you how to remove them.

Incorrect Washing And Drying

As odd as it may sound, the most common cause behind car scratches is improper washing and drying. 

The car’s paint is more susceptible to marks than you’d otherwise think, and this is why the sponge you use may leave scratches on the car’s paint.

When you wash your car, it’s just as important as what you use to wash it with, and how you wash it. It’s always best to use a microfiber towel specially designed to carry out tasks like this with utmost finesse and minimum risk to your car’s paint. Once you choose the ideal cloth, you also need to decide on the cleaning product you’ll use. In this case, it’s best that you use a professional detailing car soap.

If you don’t want to resort to car scratch repair, you need to know what can cause these scratches on your vehicle. 

Drying Your Car: Do’s And Don’ts

This is why drying your car needs consideration, proper technique, and materials chosen to do the job. If you don’t dry your car properly, your car’s surface is bound to show some micro-scratches sooner or later. 

Keep in mind that letting your car dry all by itself is probably the least recommended of all solutions. This is the surefire way for your car to get those unpleasant water spots that can become permanent if not treated. 

What you want to do instead is either dry the car manually by wiping it with a large microfiber cloth or by drying the car with a compressor or leaf blower. If you choose the latter option, make sure you start from the top and work your way to the bottom.

Car scratch repair only becomes necessary if you’re using all the wrong materials in washing and drying your car. 

Unfortunately, many people use paper towels to dry their cars. However, this couldn’t be more damaging for the paint coat, as these kinds of towels basically act like sandpaper on your car’s surface. 

Another wrong way to dry your car implies using a squeegee, which is similarly harsh on your car’s factory paint coat. 

Last but not least, there’s also the chamois, which a lot of people use to dry their car. But, they don’t know that it doesn’t stay quite as soft as a microfiber towel between uses, so it may cause important damage to the car’s paint finish.

Road Debris 

Car scratch repair is not entirely avoidable but can be postponed when you know all the factors that can cause your car to need it and thus steer clear from them. 

Another culprit behind scratches is the debris you face when taking your car out on the roads. Regardless if you live in the countryside or in a large city, road debris is unavoidable and so is the fact that it will relentlessly adhere to your car.

Debris can be caused by different substances and materials, and it’s mostly rough in texture, which is why it’s so bad for your car. 

Of course, there are also rock chips that will bounce off your car from the road. Depending on their size, and your speed, these rock chips can leave marks on your car’s surface. Deeper scratches like this can only be corrected with car scratch repair.

Inconveniences And Everyday Situations

car in the forest at risk of getting a car scratch

Then there are also small accidents and unwilling gestures that will cause your car’s paint to lose its integrity and show scratches instead. 

For example, you can place your shopping bag on top of your car while you search for the keys. Or you can brush against some branches while you’re driving through a forest. 

The list of small, yet impactful events that can occur to affect the quality of your paint is virtually endless. These all may go beyond the clear coat and cut straight into the paint.

These types of things may not happen while you’re still a fresh new owner and you’re taking care of your car with exceeding consideration. Once the newness dissipates, any car owner will become less mindful of their car and will run into situations like these. 

This is why it’s only natural that, at some point, you start asking yourself if car scratch repair is for you and what it implies.

Compound Residue 

Although it may seem difficult to believe, some car care products will leave residue compounds behind that will ultimately scratch your car. These compounds are pretty rough, so they will negatively impact the integrity of your car’s paint.

How Can You Successfully Prevent Car Scratches?

As we believe it’s always better to prevent than to treat, our aim is to show you what you can do to keep your car scratch-free for as long as possible. 

Be Mindful Of Your Driving And Parking

Driving carefully and with consideration avoiding shrubbery, branches, or any other light brush-offs is the best way to avoid scratches.

You should also look for a parking spot that’s away from crowds, where people won’t need to closely avoid your car to get where they need to go. It’s also a good idea to avoid parking too close to other cars, since opening the doors in such tight conditions may result in scratching the paint finish. 

In reality, it’s small mishaps like this that will have any car owner looking into car scratch repair as soon as they can.

Wash Your Car Regularly

When we’re talking about car care, regular washes are the Holy Grail for keeping your car looking nice and shiny. Wash your car using a hose and then gently wipe off any debris or contaminants using a soft cloth. Try to do this as often as possible and as soon as you see that road grime and dust have settled on your car’s surface.

Only Opt For High-Quality Cleaning Products

The automotive industry is rich in all sorts of car detailing products that seem miraculous thanks to the powerful marketing behind them. However, you should pay close attention to what kind of cleaning products you’re using since many of them are pretty abrasive and will harm your car’s paint. 

Before you know it, car scratch repair will be the only solution at your disposal. Not that it would be too bad or a difficult process, but it’s best to avoid getting there if you can. So make sure to only shop for premium quality! Read all the reviews you need to, look at the components on the label, and research each product. 

Only then should you confidently purchase them. Pacing yourself like this may feel uncomfortable on the spot, but will pay off in the long term.

Wax, Polish, And Ceramic Coat Your Car 

If you really want proper protection against scratches and keep the DIY car scratch repair process at bay for as long as possible, you need to make sure you’re really invested in car care and detailing. Doing this implies waxing, polishing, and ceramic coating your car

First of all, if you want to give it your all and go through the complete process of car detailing, you should go through all three of the procedures mentioned above:

First Of All, Start With Waxing

Applying wax to your car ensures the paint is thoroughly protected by this strong layer that’s specially designed to keep scratches, swirls, and water spots at bay. If you want optimum results, you may want to go for the natural type of wax, carnauba wax, and apply it manually by using a dual-action polisher. 

Waxing with the dual action polisher is the first of the most important steps that can keep you away from car scratch repair. At least for a while. 

Waxing is an absolute must for all car owners and it’s recommended that you do it at least every other three months. Some types of wax are meant to be used a lot more frequently, and this is why you need to check your own specific brand and its manufacturer’s instructions.

Continue By Polishing Your Car

The process of polishing should not be skipped either since it’s meant to give your car that beautiful gloss so many car owners love. The car scratch repair process is also about that, for that matter.

If you want to polish your car and have great results, then a high-quality polishing compound should do just fine for this task and can only be used after you’ve waxed your car. 

Apply it in a small circular motion, and the result should not disappoint. When done properly, a polishing session should remove all other imperfections and blemishes after the washing session. There are three types of buffing pads you can use for this: foam, wool, and microfiber. Choose the pad that best fits your needs.

Go The Extra Mile With Ceramic Coating

If you’re a car owner and absolutely want the best for your car in terms of protection and gloss, then ceramic coating is a must.

Although it doesn’t mean you won’t need to wash your car anymore, it does mean that your car will have sturdy and long-lasting protection against a wide range of scratches. 

The need for car scratch repair may be kept at bay for a really long time thanks to ceramic coating. When ceramic coating your car, make sure you’re only using the best products available on the market. Our recommendations are Nexgen Ceramic Spray and Torque Detail which are, seriously, a cut above the rest of the ceramic sprays available out there. 

This is due to their high silicon dioxide content, which makes the ceramic coating last four times longer than it would when applying average products.

By following these, you’re sure to keep yourself away from going deeper into car scratch repair for as long as possible. However, both surface scratches and deeper scratches can easily show up on your car and once this happens, it’s understandable that you may want to do something about it and correct them. 

How Do I Remove Deep Scratches From My Car?

man doing car scratch repair

Finally, seeing scratches on your car shouldn’t feel intimidating. On the contrary, you can take comfort in knowing that you can either go to a shop, or you can do it by yourself in the comfort of your own garage. 

Simply follow the steps we recommend with attention and dedication since these are the secret ingredients to the perfect car scratch repair results. Fortunately, there are plenty of high-quality products on the market that can help remove light scratches easily and successfully. These scratch removers come at accessible prices, and they’re quite simple to use. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to deeper scratches, you’ll need to get your hands deeper into the mix. Still, DIY car scratch repair can definitely be done. What we mean by this is that you’ll need to go through two steps to correct deeper scratches on your car. This is recommended especially if you have several deep scratches.

1. Sanding Your Car

Before you can apply a new coat of paint to your car, you’ll first need to clear the canvas, so to speak. You can do this by sanding its surface using sandpaper. Low grit sandpaper will be your best friend here since it smooths the imperfections and creates a new play arena. 

You’ll need to look for 80-300 grit sandpaper — this will easily strip off the paint and primer of your vehicle. Sanding your car by hand gives you a satisfaction that’s difficult to match any other way. You’re basically stripping everything off it and starting over. This is what DIY car scratch repair is all about, after all. 

Wrap the sheet of sandpaper around a piece of wood to create a sanding block that’s easier to maneuver. 

Before you sand your car, make sure you wash it properly with professional soap and a wash mitt. Of course, you can also sand the area locally, where the deep scratch found its way onto the surface of your car.

2.  Repainting

Repainting your car can be a shorter task or a more extensive one, and it can vary from car to car and situation to situation. What’s your specific situation? After all, what will your car scratch repair process look like?

Repainting The Entire Car

First of all, be sure to tape the surfaces you don’t want to be painted, such as wheels, windows, door handles, and so on. 

If you’re doing the entire car, you can proceed with painting it whole. To do this, you’ll need to first apply primer. Choose one that’s corrosion-resistant and self-etching. This will enable the paint to better stick to the surface of the car and become more long-lasting. 

Allow the primer to cure properly — you should find instructions on the primer bottle. 

Now you can sand the primer, but only lightly since a heavier hand can expose the metal and that’s not what you want. 

Wipe all the primed surfaces with a cloth that you put a bit of thinner on.

Afterward, you can proceed with applying the paint. When using your paint gun, make sure you’re doing it from at least 6 inches away from the vehicle’s surface. Use a side-to-side sweeping motion and apply your paint in thin, even coats. Repeat this until you get three or four solid coats on the surface of your car. Allow a curing time that’s according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Lightly sand once again before your last layer and then wipe with a clean cloth, so you can then proceed to apply lacquer in the same fashion as when you applied the paint.

Remove all your masking tape, and then carefully buff out all painted surfaces. If you’d also like to finish off this job by giving your car that beautiful glossy touch, be sure to also use a rubbing compound.

When talking about the DIY scratch removal process, this is everything you need to know to efficiently complete this process at home. 

Repainting Just a Section

However, if you have a single deep scratch and you need to apply a local fix, you may as well work your magic locally, without needing to do the entire car. First of all, identify the scratch and clean the area by washing it thoroughly. 

Be gentle around the scratch itself, so you don’t make it even deeper. Dry out the area and the scratch by patting it with a dry microfiber towel. 

Use a Scratch Repair Kit

A visit to your local auto shop or a quick online search will return lots of specific products designed for a hassle-free and efficient car scratch repair session. These kits can help you either buff out or fill in these scratches, while also helping you remove swirl marks and other blemishes. 

The best of these kits also include a quality pad and are created to suit most car paint colors. Apart from correcting the scratch, they are also meant to restore the gloss and shine to your car.

Afterward, you can apply a rubbing compound locally and buff it out until you get an even surface. You need to buff the area with care and consideration. If you apply too much pressure, you will end up removing the paint instead of sealing it to the car’s surface. 

Use Touch-Up Paint

As the last part of the car scratch repair process, you also have the option of using touch-up paint.

In case the rubbing compound didn’t really perform as an efficient scratch remover, you can still cover the scratch with touch-up paint. If the scratch is deep, you may want to proceed the same way you would with a full-car paint job and start by applying a touch-up primer first.

A touch-up clear coat is also recommended on top of the touch-up primer and touch-up paint. Once you’ve done all this, the area should look smoother, and the scratch should now be nearly, if not all, invisible.

What Is The Best Scratch Repair For Cars?

As we’ve said before, there are two ways to fix your car scratches, depending on their severity. If they’re light scratches, you can easily pick a high-quality car scratch repair kit from the Internet or your local detailer’s. 

If they’re not and you’re actually dealing with deeper scratches, then you can proceed to sand and repaint your car by yourself. You can either do so locally or dive into this process for the entire car.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair a Scratch On a Car?

If you’re planning on taking your scratched car to the detailer’s, you can expect a hefty price to pay to have your car in the impeccable state it once was in. 

If we’re talking about a surface scratch, we’ll estimate the price to be around $150. However, if we’re considering the stuff nightmares are made of — like the deep scratches that everyone dreads — the car scratch repair job can cost you somewhere between $2,500 – $3,500. This sum of money is not an amount that everyone can afford, and even if you did, it doesn’t necessarily mean you also need to pay it. 

However, when you go at it by yourself, you can certainly expect these numbers to drop. 

The price will definitely be lower when you do your own car scratch repair. Moreover, you will be able to estimate the exact cost by looking at the materials and tools you will need. 

Consider the sanding paper, the microfiber towels, the paint itself, the primer, and perhaps even the scratch repair kit. Include instead the touch-up primer, paint, and clear coat if you want to repair locally only. 

This is how you estimate your costs before actually doing your car scratch repair job, so you don’t have to spend too much money. This is actually what’s most attractive about the DIY part of the process, and why more car owners are becoming interested in fixing their own car scratches.

In The End, Is It Worth Fixing Scratches On The Car?

All in all, is it worth going at it by yourself and fixing your car scratches all alone? 

Absolutely! First of all, the costs will be much more permissive. Plus, a DIY car scratch repair job will enable you to set some money aside and reinvest it in your car.

Secondly, you get a satisfaction that’s difficult to rival. Knowing you had scratches on your car, regardless if they’re lighter or deeper, and seeing how you single-handedly made them disappear is something only car owners can understand.

Now that you’ve learned how to remove scratches from a car, all you need to do is implement the steps above and become a witness to your car’s miraculous transformation. 

What was once affected and scratched, will now become smooth and free of imperfections. What more can you want for yourself and your car?

If you have any questions at all on how to do your own car scratch repair, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll be glad to offer you any other information you need to see your car as smooth and shiny as it deserves to be.

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