The Dummies’ Guide to Covering Car Scratches

by / Tuesday, 14 October 2014 / Published in Metal Parts

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No matter how smooth you are at parking or how careful you drive on the road, scratches will end up on your vehicle’s precious paint job on way or another. It’s a sad reality for car owners, but the good news is that you don’t have to visit the shop and empty your wallet to have this problem fixed.

If the scratch isn’t big enough to make Wolverine your first suspect, then you can cover it up on your own, provided that you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools. Screw up though and you may end up paying for a more expensive bill. But no worries, because this beginner’s guide will make sure that you get everything right. Let’s begin!

Understand your Cars’ Injury

You know what’s worse than having ugly scratches saying hello to the pedestrians of the world? Bogus results from cheap, ineffective cover ups. Before anything else, analyze your car’s injury by identifying the length and depth of the scratch, the paint of the car, and the metal parts that it potentially damaged.

Now, your car’s exterior paint has different layers. It’s the anatomy of your car consisting of the metal panel itself, the paint primer, base coat and a topical clear coat. Unless your car is either at least 20 years old or has a custom paint job, this anatomy is pretty much standard for all vehicles. Nonetheless, knowing these layers will help you figure out how to cover scratches up depending on their depth.

Identify the Paint Type

If you’re considering to retouch the paint job yourself, you should find your cars’ factory-paint code somewhere under the hood or near the door sill. This can help you find your car’s exact paint color shade, resulting in a seamless retouch. Simple enough, right?

Covering Up Minor Scratches

You’ll know that a particular scratch is only a minor one if only the top coat was damaged. The first step to remedy this is to clean the surface, making sure that the bits of loose paint are removed. Next up is to arm yourself with the right tools, one of which is the water and oil-displacing spray of WD-40.

Another option is to use a polishing compound where you can manually buff those scratches. It would require some elbow grease, so be gentle. You wouldn’t want to sand off its entire perimeter.

Covering up Abrasive Scratches

Unlike minor scratches which affect only the top layer of your car’s coat, abrasive scratches reach down to the base-coat or primer layer of your paint job. Metal scratches are difficult to work with, as little mishaps could result to rust. Further damage to the car’s aesthetics can happen if primers and buffing aren’t done right, so it would be best to leave this to the professionals.

No amount of tips and tricks and hacks from the Internet will be helpful if you fail to determine the extent of your car’s scratches. Did you know that some scratches are so insignificant that some owners would just cover them up with stylish vinyl?

Anyway, we hope this guide was useful to you. If you have any questions whatsoever about car maintenance, simply ask away on the comment section below. We would love to hear from you!

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