Scratches on your car are an unavoidable peril that comes with car ownership, but you do not have to live with those unsightly imperfections if you do not want to! Of course auto body shops are always an excellent option, but if you want to save some money or prefer doing things yourself, it is often not a very difficult do-it-yourself project to get rid of car scratches quickly and easily. Follow these steps to see how!
1. Determine the damage.
The first step is to determine the extent of the damage to the coat of paint. The depth and size will determine what needs to be done for the repairs. The coat of your car consists of four basic layers, including the outer clear coat, the colour, the primer, and the steel.
Naturally, the deeper the scratch goes, the more difficult it will be to repair. A deep scratch may not even be able to be repaired. This method of scratch repair is useful for thin scratches that don’t go too far below the colour of paint.
If you can’t tell how severe your scratch is, visit a trustworthy body shop and have them give you a quote on the repair. A little bit of probing and you should be able to pull what you need to know from the technician. You never know, they may even have the materials that you need to repair it yourself and you can still support a local business while also saving yourself a little bit of money.
2. Clean the damaged area.
The next step is to clean the area. The last thing that you want to do is start working and end up grinding more dirt particles into the finish, thus causing more scratches. A mild detergent and lots of water with a soft sponge or cloth will do the trick followed up with a thorough water rinse.
Be sure that you are working in a relatively clean area and be aware of where you are setting down your cloth or sponge. If it hits the ground, your best bet is to grab a fresh clean one. Rags are cheap, but grinding a stone into your paint can be expensive and extremely frustrating! Don’t make that mistake by accident.
3. Sand it smooth.
This is a step that may not be needed if your scratch is very superficial. If this is the case, a quick buff might be all that’s needed before the next step.
If you can feel a rough surface, then it is time to sand that down. Run your fingernail across the surface of the scratch and if it catches, then you’ve got a rough surface.
When clean and dry, a fine sandpaper of grit 2000 or higher can be used to smooth the scratch. Deep scratches may require a coarser grit to begin with to get it leveled down. Be very careful though, sanding down too much can cause harm to the paint colour
When sanding, keep in mind that the idea is to remove as little as possible. As soon as it feels smooth to the touch, stop. The clear coat is there for a reason: removing it will affect the shine and you’ll spot your work area easily if you remove too much.
4. Polish it up.
Now that it is sanded smooth, it is time to polish. Purchase a polish from any auto supply store or an online merchant. Directions for their use are often found printed on the packaging so make sure to read the bottle before cracking it open. Nu Finish Liquid Car is a well-known and trusted product that often rates as one of the best. It can also refresh the look of your car if you enjoy the look of a shiny car!
A buffer can make this step go much smoother, but be sure to start slowly and make sure to use the directed amount of polish. It’s usually a good idea to practice your buffing technique on a painted surface that is not immediately visible. If you need a good spot to experiment on, open your car door and practice on the threshold area.
5. Make it shine!
Almost done! Clean off the excess polish with water or a soft cloth and follow that up with an application of car wax to seal the surface.
You’ve likely seen it on shelves and if you’ve never used it, Turtle Wax has been a leading car wax used around the world for generations. One trick to using it, and any wax, is to work in small areas. If you leave it on a spot for too long, it can dry and require even more effort to remove it.
Apply it to a very small area (about the size of a postcard) with a soft cloth, and then wait a few moments. As soon as you see it start to dry, buff it off quickly. You’ll get a gorgeous, slick shine with minimal effort!
Once you’ve finished with the scratched area, your car may look odd with only one bright, shiny spot. You might as well continue polishing and waxing the rest of your car! Use the same methods to polish and wax as you used for your scratch, working in small areas until you’ve done every surface. Your car will look like you just rolled it off the lot!
Nu Polish and Turtle Wax both claim that you only really need to polish or wax once per year, so a day’s worth of work for a year’s worth of shine shouldn’t be too much of investment. Make it a yearly tradition to give your car a well-needed makeover!
And that’s it! These directions may be exactly what you need for those scratches but you may need to tailor the steps to fit the specific damage to your car. A light scratch may only require a buffing with polish to be repaired while others may need more extensive work. Be sure to check with your local body shop if anything seems too daunting though, we don’t ever want to make things worse!