Unless it’s wrapped in bubble wrap, your car is likely to pick up some scratches or stone chips here and there.

These imperfections can detract from the appearance and can soon rust if not dealt with quickly. But don’t despair! If you’re wondering how to repair keyed car scratches, how to repair scratched car rims, how to repair scratched plastic car trims or how to repair scratch on car with touch up paint, you’ve come to the right place.

Our guide is here to help you get your vehicle in tip-top condition again.

Types of car scratches

Each type of car scratch requires a different treatment. It’s important to identify the type of scratch you have so that you know how to fix it.

Clear-coat scratches – these are tiny and shallow scratches on the paint’s surface and are usually straightforward to fix.

Primer scratches – these scratches are slightly deeper and expose the car’s primer coating. These scratches are likely to rust if not fixed in time.

Paint scratches – these scratches are the deepest and cut through the paint’s primer work to expose the car’s bare metal or plastic. It’s recommended that these scratches be fixed straight away to avoid corrosion damage spreading to the rest of the car.

Before you start, you will need

The deeper your car scratch, the more time and equipment you’ll need to fix it.

Firstly, observe and feel the scratch to identify the type you’re dealing with. If you see any signs of rust, you’ll want to apply a rust converter and allow it to dry before repairing your scratch.

Before you start to fix your scratch, make sure the area is completely clean. And then depending on how deep your scratch is, you’ll need:

  • Rust converter (if applicable)
  • Microfibre towel
  • Polishing compound
  • Rubbing compound
  • 1,500 and 2,000-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Water
  • Car wax

Fixing minor and light car scratches

If you’re wondering how to repair minor scratches on car paint, fret not. Light scratches are the easiest to fix. It involves removing a little bit of the clear coat to smooth the whole area and make the scratch disappear.

Step 1: After washing your car and drying thoroughly, apply sandpaper to the area to level the surface scratches.

Step 2: Sand in the direction of the scratch and rinse the area regularly until you’ve reached the bottom of the scratch.

Step 3: After sanding, rinse and dry the area with a microfibre cloth and apply a rubbing compound to the area to remove any sandpaper scratches. Wash the area again and apply car wax.

If the small scratches are very minor, you can buy touch-up paint. Make sure to get the exact shade by finding the car’s paint code on an information plate that’s fixed to the inside of the driver’s door, inside the bonnet or in the boot. To apply:

  1. Clean the area thoroughly with soapy water and dry.
  2. Use a wax and grease remover in a circular motion.
  3. Apply paint with a thin brush or sharp-pointed utensil.
  4. Let it dry and apply another coat.
  5. Apply a thin clear coat over the car paint repair area.
  6. Apply rubbing compound to polish the newly painted area.

How do I repair a deeper scratch on my car?

How to repair deep scratches on cars depends on the severity of the scratches. If the base coat and primer coats are exposed, it’s worth bringing in the professionals.

You can take your vehicle into your local garage, but it’s wise to shop around to get the best deal. Make sure to also read customer reviews so that you know you’re using a trusted provider — one that knows how to repair large scratches on cars properly.

Frequently asked questions about car scratches

Now that you know about the different types of car scratches and scratch repairs, you’ll hopefully feel more confident if your vehicle encounters any scrapes. Find your next car here.