How to Fix a Scratch on a Car

Published by Jeff Torres

Published on

Tips for Removing Different Types of Scratches

How to Fix a Scratch on a Car

If you finally decided to fix that scratch on your car that has been poking your eye for quite a while, you’ve found the right article. We will tell you how to fix a scratch on a car quickly and without worries.

Depending on the severity of the scratch, we will look at different approaches and give you advice on how to tackle every one of them, so keep on reading.

Tips for Removing Different Types of Scratches

Identify the Type of the Scratch

Depending on the type of scratch, you will need to have a different approach to removing it successfully. And even though you can repair all the below scratches successfully, the level of repair will vary depending on how severe the scratch is. 

Clearcoat scratch

This is the most common type of scratch you will encounter on a car. It is also the easiest to fix. 

These scratches can usually be caused by inappropriate use of a pressure washer or a very light grind on a hard surface. Another cause of clear coat scratches may be the use of sponges that are filled with dirt. When rubbed onto the surface of a car, they can create these minor scratches known as swirls. 

We suggest you always use clean sponges or clean, soft cloth when rubbing your car’s surface. 

Paint deep scratch

If the scratch goes beyond and penetrates the clear coat, it will most likely damage the paint coat of a car. This is the type of scratch for which you will need professional help, as you will be unable to fix it yourself. 

This type of scratch occurs when you grind the surface of your vehicle a little too hard against another surface like a guard rail for example, or another car. Scratches like these are most commonly caused by car keys being deliberately dragged along the car’s surface. 

To easily recognize this type of scratch, analyze it carefully. If the primer is visible where the scratch is, then it is a paint scratch. 

Primer scratch

This type of scratch runs pretty deep. This means you will be able to feel it when you pass your fingers over it.

This type of scratch will require a more delicate touch to blend all that scratched area with the non-scratched one. A body filler will most definitely have to be used in this case, followed by quite a bit of wet sanding, which poses the dilemma of whether or not you should try to tackle this sort of feat yourself. 

Visible metal scratch

The visible metal scratch is usually the indicator that it is time to take your vehicle to a body shop. And you should do that as quickly as possible because exposed metal is vulnerable to oxidation and corrosion. 

If you see a metal scratch on your car, one small tip would be to use a clear coat spray as a temporary fix. This will act as a band-aid, shielding the scratch until you get it repaired. 

How to Fix a Scratch on a Car

Tips for Removing Different Types of Scratches

How to remove a clear coat scratch

This is the most straightforward scratch that you can remove by yourself. All you need to do is to buy a can of clear coat spray. It is an excellent option to buy as both a clear coat and a hardener. Then you simply spray over the scratch to renew the damaged layer. 

Keep in mind to shield the area around the scratch by taping it off. This way, you will prevent over spraying the undamaged area. And that is the easiest way to learn how to fix a scratch on a car. 

To give the spot temporary protection until you buy the clear coat spray, you can use car wax to seal the scratch. This way, you will prevent any possible spreading until you permanently fix it. 

Fixing a paint scratch

To repair a paint scratch, the first thing you need to do is sand the scratch down with an abrasive compound and fine-grit sandpaper, and after that, apply the paint using a paint spray. 

The easiest way to go about this type of scratch is to buy a scratch repair kit. This kit will contain all the necessary materials you will need to fix the scratch yourselves. Keep in mind that you will also need a can of paint, with the color of your car. 

The car color will most likely have a number printed out on the driver’s side door or in the service manual, so keep a lookout for that. 

To fix the paint scratch, make sure to:

  • Clean the scratch area thoroughly
  • With a sponge dipped in a scratch remover, slowly and gently rub the scratched area
  • After that, clean the area off with a soft and dry microfiber cloth
  • Lastly, polish the area with some wax to protect it and give it gloss

These instructions are general, and if the scratch repair kit provides you with a different set of steps to follow, then make sure to follow them correctly. 

How to fix deep scratches

The primer or bare metal kinds of scratches are also called deep scratches. If you decide to fix the scratch yourself, you will have to clean and fill the scratch. Then you will have to paint the base color and the clear coat spray, with a touch of buffering at the end

However, we recommend letting a professional car repair shop do this job. After all, the process is not simple and needs a bit of experience and skilled hands. It’s better to pay a bit more money than to cause even more damage, wouldn’t you say? 

Other items you can use to fix scratches temporarily

  1. Toothpaste – You can use several items to fix a minor scratch without purchasing a particular product. One of those items is simply toothpaste. And the grittier texture of the toothpaste, the better. We recommend using a whitening toothpaste and gently applying it to the scratch’s surface to buff it out in circular motions. 
  2. Nail Polish – Nail polish comes in many different color varieties, and it is the easiest way to fix a scratch. Simply match the color of the polish with the color of your car, and apply several coats with at least 15-20 minutes of drying time in between. This will give you a pleasant result for those minor hard-to-see scratches. 


We hope our article was helpful, and it solved your problem on how to fix a scratch on a car. Bear in mind that we only wanted to give you some general guidelines to follow. For more detail, please follow the instructions on the scratch repair kit, or pay attention to your car body repair professional.

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