Americans certainly love their cars. Many of us spend countless hours each and every year cleaning and maintaining our vehicles, especially in the summertime. One of the worst feelings in the world is coming up to your car in a parking lot or other place just to find that the paint has been scratched. Although taking care of a scratch isn’t as easy as a quick car wash, you can do it yourself and avoid a costly auto body shop repair or insurance claim. All scratches should be repaired immediately in order to prevent further damage, such as paint chipping or rusting. Following these simple guidelines will help you repair that scratch all by yourself.
First you’ll need to determine the severity of the scratch you intend to repair. Light surface scratches are obviously much easier to repair than deep ones. If you have a deep scratch, you’re going to need some additional materials, so you should be prepared ahead of time so you don’t have to make an extra trip to the parts store. You can tell how deep a scratch is by running your fingernail gently over the damaged area. Exposed metal indicates an extremely bad gouge and may be more difficult to fix.
There are a couple options when it comes to supplies. Some places will offer full repair kits that include everything you need to fix a scratch, but can often be very costly. Your other choice is to purchase all of the supplies individually. You’re going to need some high quality polish, filler compound (for deep scratches), a super fine grit sanding pad, a small paintbrush, and some touch up paint that matches your vehicle.
You’ll start by washing the damaged area with a very mild soap and water. Simple dish soap will suffice. Clean the area thoroughly, but don’t apply excessive pressure because you don’t want to cause any chipping or flaking. Lightly sand the area until the lowest point of the scratch is level with the surrounding area. Carefully apply filler if the scratch is deep. When that’s set and dry, sand the area smooth. With an extremely steady hand, apply the touch up paint to the damaged area. After that has dried, use the polish to restore shine. A good coat of wax or polish will help protect the repaired area from further damage. Once you’re done, take a few steps back and determine if the damage is still noticeable. If you’re having any major issues with the repair, you may want to consult a professional.