How To Remove Scratches From Car
How do you remove scratches from your cars finish? Well, there are three basic methods, and two main reasons to perform them. The three methods are refinishing, touch up, and polishing. The two reasons are cosmetic, and to protect the metal from corrosion. Scratches that are too long, or big will be hard to remove and still be cosmetically pleasing, so they usually are best refinished. For our purposes we will leave refinishing to the professionals as it is a very involved process. The two processes we will address are touch up and polishing. Touch up is not so much removing a scratch as it is filling it in with paint so that it all blends together. Polishing involves the wearing down of the surfaces surrounding the scratch so that it blends back in. We will deal with each process separately.
The materials needed for the processes include:
- Automotive rubbing compound
- Automotive wax
- Touchup paint
- Clearcoat topcoat - if the car requires it.
- Touch up brush, if the paint does not come with one
- Appropriate cleaner/thinner for the paint
Polishing the scratch out is performed when the scratch is not too deep, or down through the paint to the primer, or bare metal. Care must be taken when polishing large scratches as you can "burn" the finish. This means you can wear down the paint finishes to expose the primer, causing a blemish in the finish. So work slowly and inspect often on larger scratches. One thing to understand here is that if you do not wax your vehicle on a regular basis, polishing out a scratch is going to show up as much brighter and polished looking than the rest of the car's finish. The steps in polishing are as follows.
- Inspect the scratch. If the scratch is not through to bare metal or primer you may continue. If it is it will need to be touched up or refinished.
- Put a small amount of rubbing compound on a soft cloth and polish in a circular motion. Do not use heavy pressure, let the compound work. Take care not to over rub and go through the cars finish. Once the scratch disappears move on to the next step.
- Wax over the area. Waxing the area will blend it in with the rest of the finish.
Touching up the car requires the addition of paint to cover a scratch. The paint color codes, and if it needs both a base coat (color) and clear coat will generally be found in the owners manual. Sometimes it is found on tags in the glove box or car body. If you cannot find it, go to an automotive paint store or dealership and they will help you find what you need. The process is as follows:
- Using the brush add a very fine line of paint to the scratch. If the car requires clear coat do not fill the scratch completely. If it does not, fill the scratch completely. Clean the brush with the thinner or cleaner after using so that it may be used later.
- Allow base coat to dry. Follow the instructions on the paint and let it dry for the required time.
- Add clear coat if required. Follow the instructions and add clear coat if needed. Let it dry per the instructions on the product. Clean the brush after use.
- Polish the touch up area. After the paint has dried, this is very important. If you polish before the paint is dry it will simply gum up and wreck the touched up area. Follow the instructions in the polishing area. The idea here is not to remove a scratch, but to blend in the paint to the surrounding finish.
If done slowly and carefully these procedures can result in removing a scratch from the finish of your car. They can be more or less successful depending upon the size and depth of the scratch.