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How To Repair A Car Paint Scratch For Less Than £30

Compact Cars, Bridgend

October 17, 2016 at 9:51 AM

How to Repair Your Scratched Car


So, you were trying to squeeze into a tiny gap at the Supermarket because some guy in a Transit van parked across two spaces and you really needed a loaf of bread? Don't worry, at Compact Cars, we've got you covered with this step-by-step guide that'll get your scratch repaired, maybe before your spouse even notices it's there.

Anatomy of a Scratch

You need to identify the depth; a scratch that only removes clear coat is quite easy to deal with whilst one that's removed colour or primer can be a little more difficult (read: time-consuming). 

Finding the Factory Paint Code

Break the factory paint code - don't worry you don't need to be Alan Turing. Simply search the car for the colour plate: focus on stickers, plaques and the doorsill as they're common places. It might be worth checking out the habits of you car maker; BMW, for instance, tends to put the code under the hood whereas Toyota favours the driver's door sill. If you're struggling it's worth taking to the net to streamline the process. 

Clear Coat Scratch

If you're here, your scratch didn't even hit the colour and you're dealing with a clear coat scratch. You won't need paint but you will need caution because this is fixed by polishing:

Step 1:

If you've dealt with cars before you'll know to clean the area, removing particulate matter, before starting. Once you've removed dirt etc. you can add some polishing compound to your pad if you have compound lying around but you've misplaced the pad that came with it, you can always just use a microfiber cloth.
Sand the area
Wipe off excess dust from sandpaper


You'll be left with a dull patch



Apply compound and polish off with a microfibre cloth


Step 2:

Once the area is clean and you've got pad-in-hand it's time to polish. Give it at least 2 dozen strokes before buffing the area and surveying what you've done and whether it needs to be done again. It's important to be cautious and this stage and not just keep going without stopping to take a look because it is possible to over do it.
Apply polish
Polish by hand or by attaching a polish disk to the end of an electric drill
Give one final buff with a microfibre cloth!

Base Coat/Primer Scratch

If you're here, you weren't so lucky. Take the factory paint code you found earlier and go to your favourite parts shop and match it up. Note: If you're repairing a primer scratch start by brushing in primer and sanding it to the bottom of the scratch.

Step 1:

Similarly to a clear coat scratch you should start by cleaning to affected area, only this time, you're going to use some solvent to rid of oils (or wax). Once this is done, you can apply your colour/primer - concentrate - it is necessary to create some overlap but you want to keep that as small as possible.
Touching up with a fine paint brush
With a touch-up pen

Step 2:

After a night of curing, the paint is ready for sanding. Grab some wet-or-dry (600/1000 grit) and wrap it around a uniform piece of rubber to sand the new paint down until it blends into the rest of the coat. 

Step 3:

Use compound, on the are to keep the sanding contained. If the scratch isn't evenly filled just repeat the process until it is (remember to leaving curing time) and then after about a month, apply wax.

Step 4:

If you or the scratch removed the clear coat, simply, mask the area, spray on and sand excess. Repeat this for 2 or more coats with a full day of curing in between each.


If Your Car Is Too Scratched To Repair And You're Thinking Of Replacing It

If you're thinking it's time to start looking for your next car, feel free to browse our inventory of used cars.

If you need finance and you would like to explore our pay as you drive scheme click here.

Category: Blog