How to fix a scratch in my car’s paint?

By Product Expert | Posted in DIY Maintenance on Friday, February 19th, 2021 at 7:36 am
Person inspecting long scratch

Touching Up a Scratch in Your Vehicle’s Paint Job: Step-by-Step Guide

Before we start, let’s get this out of the way: touching up a scratch at home isn’t a replacement for professional painting and refinishing. However, unless the car you’re trying to touch up is precious to you (like with a classic or luxury vehicle), then the following fix will adequately repair most scratches, even deep ones.

Here’s how to fix a scratch in your vehicle’s paint.


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Man inspecting car

Filling in a Car Paint Scratch

What you’ll need:

  • Prep spray
  • Dry sandpaper (1500 grit) or sanding pen
  • Wet sandpaper for polishing
  • Primer
  • Color-matched paint or paint touch-up pen
  • Clear coat touch-up pen
  • Clean, lint-free rags
  • Painter’s tape (optional)

How to repair the scratch:

  1. Clean the immediate area with a degreasing detergent (such as dish soap) to remove dirt, as well as wax and silicone from the paint.

  2. Remove all paint chips, rust, debris, etc., from the scratch.

  3. Spray the scratch with prep spray.

  4. With sandpaper or sanding pen, sand down to base paint layer if only the clear coat is scratched or to exposed metal if the scratch extends into the paint proper.

  5. Spray the sanded area with prep spray and wipe clean with rag.

  6. If there is exposed metal, apply primer to the scratch/chip and let it dry.

    If there is not exposed metal, skip this step.

  7. Apply touch-up paint to scratch in small dabs and let the paint dry each time.

    Leave about half the depth of the scratch unfilled for clear coat.

  8. Apply clear coat, carefully wiping away any excess that is applied.

  9. Once dried, level out the clear coat with wet sandpaper.

  10. Once leveled, buff out the repaired area.

And that’s it. If you want to make sure that the primer, paint, and clear coat stay confined to one area, make sure to use painter’s tape around the area beforehand.

Does Your Vehicle Need Some TLC?

If your car is having automotive trouble, schedule an appointment at CrossPointe. Our excellent service technicians can get you back on the road in no time. And don’t forget to check out Service Specials beforehand!

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