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Minor scratches on your car can reveal paint for metal underneath, which can reduce your car’s resale value. Most nicks and scratches can be easily repaired by visiting an auto repair shop. However, it’s important to get them fixed as soon as possible, as waiting too long can lead to further damage. Scratches can be annoying and expensive, regardless of the size or age of your car. However, they can also be a great source of pride and investment. With proper tools and techniques, you can remove scratches to keep your car looking its best and show off your personal style and pride in your car. In this post, you’ll learn more about the different types of car scratches, how they happen, and how to repair scratches on your car.
Common Types of Car Scratches
- Clear Coat Scratches: The most common type of scratch is a clear coat scratch. This type of scratch is caused by damage to the top layer of the car’s detail work, which protects the color coat underneath. If the clear coat is damaged, the color coat will fade and become dull. The best way to fix a clear coat scratch is to polish it with a rubbing compound, which removes the damaged layer and restores the color coat to its original condition.
- Primer Scratches: Primer scratches are another type of scratch that protect your car paint from rust and corrosion. If the scratch has penetrated the primer, it will need to be repaired as soon as possible. The earlier the scratch is fixed, the less likely it is to form rust.
- Paint Scratch: You’ve tried everything you can to avoid paint scratches on your car, but you can’t seem to get rid of them. The worst type of scratch a car can have is one that passes through the paint. If you scratch your car’s paint hard enough, you can see the metal of the car’s body. If you don’t have a Paint Scratch Repair Kit, this is going to be a complex repair.
- Glass Scratch: Your car glass isn’t the only part of your car that can be scratched. In addition to the metal of your car and the paint job, your car glass can also be scratched. It is a common scratch that happens when you use a dirty or an abrasive cloth while cleaning your car.
How Do Cars Get Scratched?
Cars get scratched as soon as they leave the dealership lot. Here are five common causes of car scratches:
- Improper washing: It’s important to maintain your vehicle’s appearance and overall maintenance. Going to an automatic car wash is a quick and easy way to do this. However, not all automatic car washes are equal. For instance, a company may use poorly maintained brushes that trap dirt, causing car scratches as they run along your car’s exterior.
- Road debris: When you’re behind another motorist on the road, there’s a chance that small pebbles or stones will be kicked up by their tires onto your vehicle. It can cause damage to your bumper, hood, and roof. There’s not much you can do to prevent this except to leave more space and avoid following large trucks.
- Unintentional contact: Whether it’s rubbing up against your fender with your coat zipper or missing the keyhole when you’re trying to unlock your door, accidents can happen. Fortunately, they’re easy to fix.
- Vandalism: An act of someone intentionally damaging your vehicle with a sharp object (such as a key) and scratching the paint on your car. This type of damage is usually very serious and costly to repair.
- Collision: If you’ve been involved in a collision, it’s no surprise that you’ll have scratches on your car. Unless it’s a minor collision, you’ll most likely need to call in a professional body shop.
Easy Ways to Fix Scratches
Before going into fix-it mode, get to know the four primary methods for how to repair car scratch damage first:
- Buffing: If you have a minor car scratch or surface blemish, such as a scratch left by a fingernail around a door handle, buffing is a simple and inexpensive way to remove it. Wash and dry your car, then use liquid scratch remover (or another rubbing compound) on a clean microfiber towel. Rub the towel against the affected section for about 60 seconds, then let dry and buff off any excess.
- Detailing: Professional detailing can make your car look brand new, from the inside to the outside. Professionals use a variety of polishes and pads, as well as polishing machines, all of which are fast and effective in removing a thin layer of clear coat which is a surface car scratch. It helps to level out the area and keep it clean.
- Car Scratch Repair Kits: If you can feel the scratch by running a fingernail across it, a car scratch repair kit from an auto supply or repair shop may be needed. Though the contents may differ by brand, generally, there will be smooth putty to fill in the cavity, a liquid leveler to remove excess putty, a clear coat applicator and ultra-fine sandpaper to wet-sand off any uneven lacquer.
- Car Wash Soap: A car wash soap is formulated to get rid of dirt, grime and other contaminants from your car’s surface without damaging the paint leaving streaks or spots behind.
Paint Jobs: If you’ve got car scratches that are too deep or too numerous, you may want to consider a paint job at your local body shop. Although the cost varies by project and business, this service involves taking off the existing paint and putting on a fresh coat.
Finally, it’s important to note that all of these methods are effective only in the case of minor scratches and imperfections. If there’s significant damage, you’ll want a professional to inspect the damage including wheel alignment. Depending on your vehicle’s overall condition, weather conditions and many other variables, deep coating damage can cause corrosion and some bad and expensive side effects.