Scratches happen even to the most careful driver and doting car owner. But no need to feel like it’s the end of your car and your wallet every time it happens because you have to get it done to the car repair shop and we know how much it would cost. You can actually do it yourself, here’s how.
Assess The Damage
Before you even do anything, you should check if you could actually do something about the damage first. While majority of scratches can be repaired, there are certain types of scratches, like deep paint scratch that can no longer be repaired without needing an overall paint job. When that happens, it’s best that you seek professional car repair to make sure everything is done thorough especially the paint protection application as this can be delicate. If you’re not sure about the depth of the scratch, it’s best to assume that it’s one level deeper than you think.
Prepare The Things You’ll Need
For Shallow Scratch
· Clean cloth
· Rubbing compound
· Soap and water
For Deeper Scratches
· Painter’s tape
· Sandpaper (1500-grit)
· Scuffing pad
· Touch-up kit of paint
Prepare The Car
· Wash the exterior of your car using the bucket of soap and water. This will keep any dust and dirt from causing any more abrasion on your car’s paint.
· When you’re done washing, wipe it dry to star sanding. Sanding the area surrounding the scratch smoothens the area you want to work on which allows a consistent look when you apply the new paint.
· If the affected area isn’t big though or is only up to the clear coat, you can just use toothpaste. No need to sand the area.
· For small scratches, all you need is toothpaste because it has the same abrasive properties as fine sandpaper. Just dab a small amount of toothpaste onto a cotton swab or clean cloth and rub it onto the affected area in a circular motion.
· For scratches that take up a larger area, you’ll want to use sandpaper. Use fine sandpaper – one that is 2000-grit should work fine. Sandpapers that are coarser could inadvertently remove further layers of the exterior, causing further damage and more money spent on repairs. Using small, circular strokes, rub the sandpaper around the affected area, wiping occasionally with a clean cloth to remove any flecks of paint or primer that been removed.
Repair Light Scratches
· Clean the car’s surface and remove possible debris.
· Get a tape (masking tape is ideal) to cover areas near the scratch.
· Apply a bit of polishing compound to the microfiber cloth. Rub the compound on the area in small, vigorous circles. You should begin to notice the scratch disappear. When the scratch is completely gone, you can move on to waxing.
· Polish the scratch. You can do this by applying wax to the repaired area. This is basically replacing the worn down clear coat.
· Wash the vehicle again after to see if you did it right. You’ll know this if the part you just waxed is repelling the water.
Repair Deep Scratches
· Don’t forget to obtain your touch-up paint from a reputable automotive parts retailer or body shop. Match it up with your car’s paint code that you will find on a placard under the hood or on the driver’s side door pillar.
· Sand the area as described above for deeper scratches.
· Scuff the surface. To further break down the affected area and prepare it for new paint, use a scuffing pad. Scuffing pads create a rough surface, which is easier for the paint to stick to. Rub the scuff pad along the path of the scratch back and forth until the surface feels rough to the touch.
· Tape off areas where you don’t want the paint to get onto like the headlights.
· Apply primer. This is necessary if the damage have gone through the primer. Let the primer dry overnight before you begin painting.
· Shake the touch-up paint well to ensure that it will leave an even color deposit.
· Dab the touch-up paint onto the paint chip. Be light handed to make sure that just enough paint is being applied that covers all edges of the chip. Let it dry for at least 15 minutes before you apply another layer. Be sure to use thin layers, slowing building up until the replacement paint matches the original paint.
· Re-apply clear coat. Ones you’ve matched the paint and have let it dry for at least 2 days you can now apply the clear coat. Replacement clear coat typically comes in an aerosol can and can be sprayed directly onto the vehicle.
· Wax the whole vehicle. To prevent a small section of your car from being shinier than the rest of your paint, apply a coat of wax to the whole car.