Throughout the lifetime of a car, it's going to pick up some imperfections in its paintwork as a result of being exposed to the elements. It's almost inevitable that while you're driving it will also get some scratches from stones flicked up by the tyres, overgrown hedges or careless passengers.
Paintwork is like a protective skin for your car, and exposed metal can allow corrosion and rusting to take hold of the bodywork. As such, it's important to try and treat a scratch as soon as you notice it.
With more care being bought on finance than ever before, a car's appearance and resale value has taken on greater significance, so it's in your interest to keep the bodywork clean and scratch-free.
Repairing a scratch can be delicate work, and there are instances where it's advisable to employ a professional; however, there is some work that you can do yourself for a relatively low cost.
HOW DEEP IS THE SCRATCH?
At this point you don't need to worry about how long the scratch is; you need to be more concerned with how deep it is. The deeper the scratch, the more damage has been done to the paintwork. It also means that the repair job will be more complex.
A car's factory paint finish is usually made up of three layers:
- Primer and corrosion preventer
- Clear Coat / Laquer
- Base Coat and Primer
When you run your fingernail over the scratch, you need to feel how deep it is. If it's no greater than the thickness of a piece of paper, it's likely that only the clear coat is damaged. This is good news, especially if you want to attempt a DIY repair.
However, if the scratch feels more like a ridge, the base coat and primer may have been penetrated. As mentioned before, this requires a more complex repait job, so in order to get the best results, it's advisable to leave it to a professional.
HOW TO REPAIR A CLEAR COAT CAR PAINT SCRATCH
A clear coat scratch is one that didn't even hit the colour, so you won't need paint for this repair job. Before you start however, there is a list of equipment you'll need to have on hand to tackle a clear coat scratch:
- Scratch removing liquid (e.g. T-Cut or AutoGylm Paint Renovator)
- Clean lint-free cloth
- Car wax
Avoid treating scratches in the rain or when it's particularly hot, cold or windy. All of these factors can affect the quality of the finish.
If you've dealt with cars before, you'll know that you need to clean the area first, removing particulate matter before starting. Sand the area with some standard sandpaper and wipe off the excess dust leaving you with a dull patch
Scratch removing liquid, also known as a cutting compound, is applied a little differently to wax. Using the clean, lint-free cloth, add a small amount of your cutting compound and apply to the affected area in gentle circular motions until you can't see the scratch anymore. The deeper the scratch, the longer this process will take.
NOTE: Most scratch repair kits work by abrading through the clear coar layer and blending in paint from the base coat to fill in the scratch. If you run too hard for too long with the cutting compound, you could damage the car's paintwork permanently.
Allow the scratch removing liquid to dry once the scratch has gone. Brush away any dried excess.
Apply the car wax to the area you've been working on. The cutting compound will have removed some of the protection offered by the topcoat.
If you're getting to the end of your finance agreement, don't want to spend the money on repairing the scratch on your car, or are just looking to upgrade, don't hesitate to browse our inventory of used cars.