How To Fix Deep Scratches On A Car

Safe driving isn’t perfect, and even the most careful drivers sometimes get their cars scratched for various reasons. It can be both frustrating and annoying to see your vehicle showcasing a big, ugly scratch because of someone else's clumsy driving, especially if it just got a new paint job or a wax finish.

how to fix a deep scratch on a car

Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to high repair fees to fix a few deep scratches. With this guide, you can learn how to fix deep scratches on your car. 

Bear in mind, while these practices are effective, large or very deep scratches may require professional service for a complete repair. However, these tips should repair most scratches. Let’s cover a few different methods for fixing deep scratches in your car.

Use A Scratch Repair Kit

If your car’s scratches aren’t too deep, you might be able to use a standard scratch repair kit to fix it. These are convenient solutions that can be purchased from most auto supply stores.

Scratch repair kits have all the things you need to remove shallow to moderately deep scratches, including scratch removal polish and paste, touch-up paint, and buffers. However, these kits are not the best for fixing intense scratches, so assess the severity of the scratch before purchasing a repair kit.

Clean The Area Around The Scratches

Start by thoroughly cleaning the area around the scratches on your car. Regular soap and water will work just fine for this step. Washing the scratch and surrounding area will remove any debris remaining in or around the scratch, so you don’t accidentally rub it into your paint or polish.

Apply Scratch Remover

After cleaning the area thoroughly, take your scratch removal paste from the scratch repair kit and apply some to a microfiber cloth, or one of the buffing pads that came with your kit. Do not apply the paste directly to your scratches, as this can damage your paint.

Use The Buffing Cloth To Remove The Scratches

Next, take the buffing pad or microfiber cloth and rub the scratch removal paste onto and over the scratches.

The scratch removal polish will work by removing a thin layer of your car’s clear coat (the coat of material on top of its primary paint) so that the surface of the scratch becomes smooth and even. Others may work by smoothing over the edges of scratches. Regardless, either method should have no adverse effects on your paint.

Take your time and scrub into the scratches. It may take several minutes to begin seeing positive results.

Remove Any Extra Polish

After buffing the scratches out to the best of your ability, remove any extra polish that’s visible to prevent it from affecting your car’s color or clear coat. 

Other Methods For Scratch Removal

If you find yourself needing additional options for fixing a deep scratch, there are various methods beyond a scratch repair kit that can be used to help remove scratches.

If you have much deeper than average gouges to take care of, you’ll need to use different materials. We’d recommend using a glazing putty, which can fill in the gouges and allow you to repaint your car’s damaged surface. This is the best method for scratch repair if you can see the bare metal underneath the scratch area.

Here’s how to go about the process.

Apply A Glazing Putty

You can pick up glazing putty at most auto repair shops or supply stores. To use glazing putty, first thoroughly clean the scratch with rubbing alcohol. This will remove any residual wax and dirt from the scratch and surrounding areas. Remember to use a soft and microfiber cloth to prevent damaging your paint.

Next, fill in the scratch with your glazing putty. As opposed to a scratch removal paste, you want to put the putty directly onto your car’s surface. A dime-sized amount will typically suffice for most scratch sizes. 

Use a spreader tool or squeegee to spread it into the gouge smoothly. The putty should fill the scratch space and help restore it to its original structure. Allow the putty to cure for two or three minutes, giving it time to harden without interruption.

Remove Excess Putty

To achieve a smooth surface, you must remove any excess putty that remains. You can use a liquid paint leveler or a similar fluid to get the job done. Apply the liquid paint leveler, and continue using it with a microfiber cloth until the scratch appears like a flat, colored line with the area around it looking transparent. Once completed, you can then paint over any scratches you’ve filled in, if desired.

Paint Over Scratches

No matter which method you choose to repair the scratches on your car, you will eventually need to paint over them. You can often do this with basic touch-up paint, which typically comes with top-tier scratch removal kits. For more significant or more visibly apparent scratches, you may want to consider having them touched up by a professional. Touch-ups can be tricky when it comes to color matching, so when you have larger scratches that need to be blended with your current paint color, it’s often best to leave it to the pros. 

Use a Fine Brush to Touch Up Paint

If you choose to apply the touch-up paint yourself, make sure you use a fine-bristle paint brush to apply your paint. If one was not supplied in your touch-up kit, you can find inexpensive micro brushes at most auto parts retailers.

Using your fine-bristle brush, apply the touch-up paint gently and carefully to cover the desired area. When finished, allow it to dry for between 8 and 12 hours. Once dry, you can apply a wax layer to help seal and protect the newly applied paint. 

Summary

Though it takes a little bit of elbow grease, fixing deep scratches on your car is an achievable task that doesn’t always require the expense or expertise of an auto body repair shop. However, be sure to consider how deep your scratch is and whether a home repair is worth the time and effort before buying any of these supplies. An accurate and honest assessment of the severity will save you a lot of time, money, and effort, no matter which route you decide to take.