There is nothing quite as devastating as getting a scratch on your car, especially a deep or long scratch. Fortunately, getting a scratch, even a bad one, doesn’t mean that you will have to repaint your entire car or even just that panel. Just as car dent repair can be done without painting, so can fixing scratches depending the damage.

How Deep is the Scratch?

The first thing that’s done in car paintless scratch repair is to assess the scratch and determine how deep it is.  Your car has three basic layers of paint: primer, colored paint, and a clear coat on the top. Very shallow scratches don’t go beyond the clear coat, and will need the least amount of work to repair — usually just some polish. Deeper scratches, those that penetrate the color coat or even the primer, will require more labor and touch-up paint to fill in gouges in the paint.

Polishing Out Shallow Scratches

Scratches that don’t go beyond the clear coat can often be removed with a polishing compound. After washing the area thoroughly, apply the polishing compound to the area with the scratch and use a rotary buffer, stopping frequently to check your progress. Remember that you are buffing away the very surface of the clear coat — and the scratch along with it — so be careful to only polish as much as you need to in order to remove the scratch.

Using Touch up Paint and Wet Sanding

For scratches that go down to the color coat or even the primer coat, you will have to fill in the gouges with touch up paint. If you are not comfortable working with paint and wet sanding your car, you should leave this part to car paintless scratch repair professionals.
First, you will need to fill in the missing paint — and primer, if the scratch is that deep. To make sure you get an exact match to your car’s paint, locate the paint code, usually located on a sticker or plaque that can be found on the door jamb or under the hood. Using this code, you can buy touch-up paint that will match exactly.
Be careful applying the paint, so that you don’t overlap too much with the existing paint. Allow the touch-up paint to dry overnight between coats. Once the paint is dry, the area can be wet sanded with 600 to 1000 grit sandpaper, depending on how much paint needs to be removed. The goal is to make the surface — which is now uneven from the touch up paint — smooth again.
Once the excess paint has been smoothed away, the process might have to be repeated to fill any low spots.  When the surface is smooth and you are satisfied with the results, polish with compound as described above to create a glossy finish.

Finishing the Job: Applying Clear Coat

Since you have sanded through the clear coat and applied new paint, you will need to restore the clear coat in that area. If you bought a scratch repair kit, it may have come with a clear coat product, or you can buy a spray can of it at an automotive parts store. Apply several light coats, allowing each to dry fully and wet sanding between coats, and then finish up with a final polish.
Scratches don’t have to permanently mark your car’s paint job! If you have the time and the confidence, you can do the repair yourself, or call an auto dent repair and scratch repair specialist for a professional assessment of what is needed to restore your car’s finish.
ColorMate Auto Appearance Specialists provides same day car paint scratch repair services including paint and bumper repair, headlight restoration, rim repair, paint perfecting and car interior repairs in Miami-Dade, Broward, and West Palm Beach County. Schedule an appointment for a free estimate on quality car interior and cosmetic repairs.