Let's face it, there's nothing worse than discovering that your car has a scratch on it. It has to be one of the most common types of damage to a vehicle, and also one of the most irritating. Whether it's just a light scratch or a couple of swirls, they can ruin your car's paintwork and they could end up even affecting the value of your car. The good news is, they can be removed and you don't necessarily have to fork out for an expert.
Here's our ultimate guide on what to do if your car’s been scratched.
Can I fix car scratches myself?
Whether or not you can remove scratches yourself from your car's paintwork depends on the scratch itself and how deep it goes into the paintwork, according to the RAC. For example, for light scratches and swirls, you could probably fix these yourself at home with either the help of a scratch removal product or some toothpaste.
However, if the scratch is slightly deeper it might be worth using something a bit stronger than toothpaste or a scratch repair product, such as turtle wax. Your car has three layers of paintwork, the clear coat, base coat, and primer, and beneath these is the metal body panel. If your vehicle has a deep scratch, underneath the clear coat, it might be worth checking into your local garage to help smooth out any imperfections. This might sound costly, but for deep scratches, this could be the best way.
How do I fix a car scratch with toothpaste?
Did you know that you can use toothpaste to remove surface scratches from your car? Depending on how deep your scratch is on your car, toothpaste might be a good option. If you run your finger over the scratches, you should be able to tell if they are surface scratches or deep scratches. According to wiki How, if light pressure from your finger does not catch on the scratch, then the scratch is on the surface of your car's paint, and considered to be a minor scratch and toothpaste could be the answer.
Thanks to the abrasive quality of toothpaste, particularly whitening toothpaste, according to the AA, it is often enough to smooth out the slightly jagged edge of a small scratch. Before applying toothpaste, it's important to make sure to apply it to a clean surface that doesn't have any debris or dirt on it. If it's clean, then using a damp microfiber cloth, you could apply a quarter-sized amount and rub the toothpaste around the affected area in a circular motion, and clean or wipe up any excess toothpaste as you go says Cash Cars Buyer.
If the scratches remain, car paint might do the job of covering them, or you could try this process a couple more times just to see if it helps. Repeating the process any more than this may cause damage to the car paintwork itself.
How do I use a scratch remover?
If your scratch looks like it's gone into the base coat, you might need something a bit stronger than toothpaste and you might need a dedicated scratch removal product instead. There are specific products out there on the market that you can use specifically for removing scratches from your car.
If you are using a scratch repair product to remove scratches to your car paint be sure to:
- Wash your car so there is no dirt or debris in the scratch. Any dirt or debris left on the surface when you buff it will only result in more scratches. Be sure to use a microfiber cloth.
- Normally, around a two-pence coin size amount of scratch remover product is enough to add to your buffing pad, ensuring that the product is evenly distributed and applied to your car scratches.
- Rub the product into the scratched area in circular motions and once finished, be sure not to allow any excess product to dry on your car, in case it affects your car paintwork and make sure you clean it off with a cloth or microfiber towel.
According to Turtle Wax, a scratch removal kit is usually a one-step, single-application formula, that allows quick and easy paintwork finish improvement. It's always a good idea to read the manufacturer’s instructions for a complete guide to ensure you don’t over-apply and end up damaging your paintwork.
How do I repair a deeper scratch?
If you have deeper scratch abrasions on your car surfaces, they may require more attention than shallow scratches, and perhaps may need a sanding and polishing regime or a paint repair, says Turtle Wax. If the scratch looks like it's gone into the primer or metal body panel, it might be time to consider letting a mechanic fix the job for you or you could also use a scratch repair pen too.
You can find coloured scratch repair pens that specifically match your car. Touch-up pens can also be used on cars too, in conjunction with cutting compounds to cover over the damage, and a clearcoat pen can be used as a final step to seal over the top more effectively, says the AA.
According to Car Buzz, removing deep paint scratches is more about respraying the area. While they don't recommend carrying out paint repairs at home without the correct tools, they do consider that there are times when it's not viable to send a car to a professional for a deep scratch.
How much does it cost to repair a scratch on my car?
The cost of repairing a scratch on your car's surface can depend on the severity of the scratched area. For example, if you decided to use toothpaste to help you fix some small scratches, then this won't set you back very much at all. Whereas, if the scratch is a bit deeper, then you could be looking at a scratch removal product costing anything from around a tenner. If we're talking more severe, deeper scratches, this will likely cost a fair bit but could be well worth it if you want your motor looking as good as new says the RAC.
However, if we're looking at your paint type, (pearls and metallics are more expensive and more difficult to apply correctly), you may need a professional polisher or detailer, which alone could end up costing hundreds or thousands depending on the extent of the damage, obviously deeper scratches are likely to cost more to remove than light scratches. Usually, the more you pay, the better the quality you can expect with fixing your scratches. You might end up paying more upfront, but if it's a job done well, you'll save yourself from hopefully having to redo it again.
Although the cost of removing a car scratch can be costly, whether it's for shallow scratches or you find yourself needing to buy a scratch removal kit, it will cost. It will cost a fair bit more if it's a big job and you need to go to the body shop to help fix the damage your scratches may have caused, but you can save too if the damage is only minor and you can find a solution you can afford.