Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


The Complete Guide to Identifying and Repairing Different Types of Car Scratches - Vol.473

As car owners, we all strive to keep our vehicles in pristine condition. However, scratches are an unfortunate reality of daily driving. Whether caused by accidental brushes with obstacles or intentional acts of vandalism, car scratches can be a source of frustration. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of car scratches and provide practical tips on how to fix them. Whether you're a proud car owner or working in the car export industry, this article aims to equip you with the knowledge to restore your vehicle's beauty and maintain its value.

1. Surface Scratches:

Surface scratches, also known as clear coat scratches, are the most common type of damage. These scratches affect only the clear protective layer on top of the paint. They are generally shallow and do not penetrate the actual paint layer. To fix surface scratches:

  • a) Clean the affected area: Use a mild car wash soap and water to thoroughly clean the scratched area, ensuring no debris remains.
  • b) Apply a rubbing compound: Using a soft cloth or applicator pad, gently rub a quality rubbing compound onto the scratched surface. This will help remove the scratches by leveling the clear coat.
  • c) Polish and protect: Once the rubbing compound has done its job, apply a high-quality car polish to restore shine and protect the newly repaired area.

2. Keyed Scratches:

Keyed scratches are deeper and more severe than surface scratches. They occur when a sharp object, such as a key or metal tool, deeply gouges the paint layer. Repairing keyed scratches requires a more comprehensive approach:

  • a) Clean and sand the area: Clean the scratched area and lightly sand it with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges and create a clean surface for repair.
  • b) Apply a primer: Use an automotive primer to fill in the scratched area and provide a smooth foundation for paint.
  • c) Color match and paint: Consult with a professional or refer to your vehicle's paint code to obtain an exact color match. Apply the paint carefully and allow it to dry completely.
  • d) Polish and protect: After the paint has dried, use a fine-grit sandpaper to blend the repair with the surrounding paint. Finish by applying a clear coat or automotive wax to protect the repaired area.

3. Deep Scratches:

Deep scratches penetrate both the clear coat and the paint layer, often revealing the bare metal underneath. These scratches can be challenging to repair and may require professional assistance. However, if you decide to tackle them yourself:

  • a) Clean and prepare the surface: Clean the area thoroughly and remove any loose paint or debris. Use a rust converter or primer designed for metal surfaces to prevent rust formation.
  • b) Apply touch-up paint: Using a small brush or pen applicator, carefully fill the scratch with touch-up paint that matches your car's color. Allow it to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • c) Wet sand and blend: Wet sand the repaired area with fine-grit sandpaper to level the surface. Gradually blend the edges of the repair into the surrounding paint.
  • d) Finish and protect: Polish the repaired area to restore shine, then apply a clear coat or automotive wax to protect the surface.

Whether you encounter surface scratches, keyed scratches, or deep scratches, knowing how to identify and repair them can save you time and money. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you'll be equipped to tackle various types of car scratches and restore your vehicle's appearance. Remember, for more severe scratches or if you're uncertain about the repair process, it's always wise to consult a professional. With these skills in hand, you can proudly maintain your car's value and ensure a long-lasting, beautiful ride.

Whatever you choose, remember that is your best partner for finding your dream car. With over 20 years of experience, offers high-quality used Japanese cars at affordable prices, low mileage, comprehensive inspection reports, and fast worldwide delivery. Visit today and discover why thousands of customers trust them for their car needs.

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