How To Repair Deep Scratches On Car – Paint repair options range from simple tinted waxes and As-Seen-On-TV miracle pens to multi-stage treatments that match your car’s exact color. As someone who is handy with a wrench, I went with the latter and tested the Automotive Touchup kit on my 1993 Ford Bronco. It costs about $50 depending on the supplies you need, compared to $5,000 for a professional repaint versatile. This collection of aerosol cans and sandpaper is as close as you can get to a paint booth appointment. Here’s how it works and if it’s worth it.

Unless the car you’re restoring is over 20 years old or has been custom painted, the paint is almost certainly clear-coated catalyzed enamel. Artificially hardened by toxic chemicals, it is stable within hours of factory application.

How To Repair Deep Scratches On Car

How To Repair Deep Scratches On Car

On the other hand, the paint you’re applying, whether it’s a primer, tint, or clear, is a varnish. Varnishes dry because the solvent evaporates, leaving the solids behind. Although they may feel firm and smooth within a few minutes, they will continue to shrink for a while. Let the varnishes dry at least overnight so they can shrink before adding another coat. If you need multiple coats to build up the full thickness paint coat for the repair, one coat per day is best. Of course, be sure. The amounts of solvents used are small, but work in a well-ventilated area. Be sure to clean the area with solvent before starting.

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Somewhere on your car should be the factory paint code, perhaps on a sticker or metal plate under the hood or on the door sill. This will help a lot in finding the right contact.

If you can’t match the color on the aftermarket paint display at the auto parts store, your next step, although expensive, is the parts counter at the car dealership, at least if you have a car that’s less than 10 up to 15 years. Old.

If you’re really stumped, a car paint dealer can custom mix you a pint; take a sample, such as a gas cap or a mirror. I also got great matches from and their motorcycle counterpart,, where you can mail order pens and bottles, aerosol or quart cans, or larger cans of matching paint.

Minor scratches, those that don’t go through the clearcoat in color, or areas of low gloss or orange peel texture can often simply be buffed out with compound. Yes, this removes some of the clear coat, so sand the minimum area needed or you will need to spray some of the protective top coat. Clean the panel thoroughly after you are done to remove the abrasive compound.

Scratch Repair Car

You will need to get some suitable paint. The same procedure can be used to repair primer coat scratches by first brushing on a coat of primer, then sanding off the excess until it just covers the bottom of the scratch. Don’t skip that step: You’ll get poor adhesion and/or rust.

As with any serious contact device, there is a lot of material involved. The box for my black Bronco (color code M1724A) includes prep solvent, rubbing compound, sandpaper with various grits, rubber gloves, a tack cloth to collect dust, pre-taped plastic to block messy splatter ( like blue tape for your car paint), and cans of primer, base coat, and clear coat.

All this suggests a lot of work, which turns out to be correct. I watch one of Automotive Touchup’s how-to videos and print out the instructions. I take everything out, then pick out the ugliest scratches and a spot of rust on the hood. I wipe them down with solvent and a rag, then tape a perimeter to protect my beloved Eddie Bauer fender emblem.

How To Repair Deep Scratches On Car

It feels so wrong to lean on a 180-grit folded piece of fenders, but that’s what you have to do. You make the scratch much, much worse before you make it better. I have huge, horrible white spots on my Bronco’s fenders, door, hood, and back panel. But it’s cathartic, in a way, to grind down to bare metal in the name of making your car beautiful again.

What To Do When Someone Scratches Your Car

To the sprinkles. The first is the black colored sand primer. I fill the sandpaper scores with something resembling the original black, immediately putting me at ease.

I add three coats of metal in total, waiting five to ten minutes for each to dry before applying the next. This is an ongoing theme of touch work: Spend two minutes painting and then ten minutes waiting to do another two minutes of painting.

That way, a man could, hypothetically, consume several Founders IPAs throughout the day during a job.

Primer gives way to base coat, which means more aerosol cans. Each application seals the pigment and protective layers underneath. Between sprays, sand with finer and finer sandpaper.

Car Scratch Repair

In the end, you’re sanding with 1,500-grit wet sand, which feels smoother than a sheet of construction paper. At each interval, you get closer to the gloss of the factory finish. The final coat of clear finishes your work with a glossy shell.

The clear coat dries overnight and I hit my work with rubbing compound to bring out the shine. And it shines, which brings me to an unexpected dilemma: The touch-up job looks better than the original paint.

Inevitably, nine coats of new paint look better than the decades-old factory black. For work in general, I say, success. Actually, a lot of success. The directions say an all-purpose wax will help it blend. Last step: Give it hell with the orbital buffer and hope it blends.

How To Repair Deep Scratches On Car

Of course, if you’re not going to prep and paint an entire part of your car, you can try a scratch removal product like Meguiar’s ScratchX 2.0.

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Check out two sections of the Ford’s tailgate completely scratched. The right was treated with Scratch X, the left is how the whole thing looked before. It can’t handle deeper dings and scratches, but the light stuff disappears and turns into a glossy black.

To fix a deep scratch without diving into a full repaint, you can also try a paint pen. This corner of my Bronco looks like it was filled with an angle grinder, so I bought a Dupli-Color color pen to improve the situation.

The ink pen comes with an abrasive tip so you can roughen the surface to accept ink. Depending on your car, you may be able to match the exact paint code. But I realized with the 26 year old paint, it wasn’t an exact match to itself anyway, so I went with Universal Black.

My brushwork can leave something to be desired (you can either use a pen tip for finer scratches, or a brush for the big ones), but this section looks 100 percent better than before. Give it a few coats and some wax and it will definitely improve the look and protect the metal.

Ways To Repair A Deep Scratch On Car

Senior editor and columnist. He is now stationed in North Carolina, but still remembers how to turn right. He owns a 2009 GEM e4 and once drove 206 mph. These facts are mutually exclusive.

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How To Repair Deep Scratches On Car

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Most people don’t realize how destructive everyday items can be to a car’s thin coat, including items as mundane as studs in your jeans, keys hanging from your belt, or your belt buckle. The only way to ensure your paint never scratches is to put it in a closed environment, which frankly isn’t much fun.

Eventually, we’ll probably have to fix a scratch or two. As with any project, you can choose the best, best, or best way to do a paint repair.

Basically, this method revolves around serious preparation and a willingness to make things worse before they get better. A good paint needs a solid foundation; ironically, a deep scratch is best treated by removing a little more material.

Uses the abrasive tip of a $15 ink pen, but the same effect can be achieved with careful use of sandpaper. (I recommend wet sanding in situations like this because it tends to remove material a bit more slowly and thus helps protect the overzealous from removing too much material.) The goal is to remove the jagged edges of the scratch and create a smooth “.grough profile” side on which to apply touch-up paint.

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After that smoothing

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