Is it OK if I scratch my car?
How to remove scratches from your paintwork
Ever come back from an afternoon’s shopping to find your car’s been dinged in the car park? Or maybe you’ve driven a little too fast down a gravelled road and ended up with a scratch on your bodywork?
It might seem like the odd scratch on your paintwork is simply an unavoidable part of modern driving, but that doesn’t make those unsightly scrapes any easier to stomach.
Can you fix it yourself or is it best left to a garage? Here’s our ultimate guide on what to do if your car’s been scratched.
What should I do if my car’s been scratched?
If your paintwork’s been scraped or scratched, the chances are it’s been done accidentally, either by another motorist or from stones and gravel hitting your car while driving.
If you suspect your car’s been deliberately vandalised, or it’s been more seriously damaged, you may want to file a police report and contact your insurance company to see if your policy covers vandalism.
Can I fix car scratches myself?
That depends on the scratch and how deep it goes into the paintwork. There are three layers of paintwork on your car: clear coat, base coat, primer and beneath these is the metal body panel.
For smaller surface scratches and scrapes, you might be able to fix at home with the help of either a scratch removal kit or even a humble tube of toothpaste.
If the scratch is deeper, or you’d rather entrust the job to the professionals, you might prefer to check your vehicle into a local garage. It might seem costly, but it could be the best way to help smooth out that scratch. Some mobile mechanics can even carry out the job on your driveway or from your place of work.
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How do I fix a car scratch with toothpaste?
Firstly, you need work out how deep the scratch on your car is by running your fingers over it. If your fingernails do not catch then the scratch is in the clear coat of paintwork and toothpaste may be able to help:
- Wash and dry the affected area to ensure that you don’t end up rubbing any debris or dirt into the scratch and making it worse. Use warm soapy water and then rinse down before drying with a clean, dry cloth.
- Next, take a dampened microfibre cloth and squeeze on roughly a 2p-sized amount of toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste works best but if you don’t have any then try any toothpaste you have in your bathroom.
- Rub the toothpaste into the scratch in a circular motion, applying just enough pressure to ensure the toothpaste is well-distributed across the affected area.
- Once you’ve finished rubbing out the scratches, rinse the area thoroughly with soapy water to make sure you remove any excess toothpaste and then dry with a dry microfibre cloth.
If the scratches remain, repeat the process up to two more times, being sure to rinse and dry between applications to check your progress. Don’t repeat more than twice to avoid any lasting damage to your paintwork.
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How do I use a scratch remover?
If the scratch is deeper than the clear coat and has gone onto the base coat, you might prefer to leave the toothpaste in the bathroom and use a dedicated scratch removal product, instead.
If you want to try using a scratch removal product, follow these steps:
- First, wash and dry the affected area to ensure you don’t end up rubbing any debris or dirt into the scratch and making it worse. Use warm soapy water and then rinse down before drying with a clean, dry cloth.
- Before applying any scratch removal agent, you should also read the manufacturer’s guidelines and check if any buffing tool or pad is sold with the agent to use on your paintwork.
- Usually, you would apply around a 2p’s worth of product to the buffing pad and ensure that the product is evenly distributed around the pad to ensure even application.
- Next, rub the product into the affected area using a circular motion, making sure you don’t change direction, to ensure an even covering.
- Once you’ve finished, it’s important you don’t allow any excess product to dry on the car in case it affects the paintwork, so clean any product away with a clean microfibre cloth.
Before repeating the process, read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you don’t over-apply and end up unwittingly damaging your paintwork.
How do I repair a deeper scratch?
If the scratch on your car is more severe and has gone deeper than the clear or base coat and into the primer or metal body panel, you may want to consider taking your vehicle into a local mechanic and letting the professionals do the job.
To help you find a mechanic you can trust, the RAC Approved Garage Network only includes garages that provide quality work and exceptional customer service, giving you peace of mind if your car needs attention.
How much does it cost to repair a scratch on my car?
That obviously depends on the severity of the scratch and how you want to deal with it. Using toothpaste to repair a minor scratch will only set you back a couple of pounds, while a scratch removal agent will cost around a tenner.
More severe, deeper scratches will likely cost a fair bit more, but could be well worth it if you want your motor looking good as new in no time.
Will my insurance pay for scratches on my car?
This depends on your policy, although the excess on many policies would be more than paying for the work yourself, meaning that making a claim is pointless.
Some insurers offer a separate scratch and dent product which allows you to get minor dents and scrapes fixed without claiming on your main policy, usually in the comfort of your own driveway.
If your MOT is due or if you would like to book your vehicle in for a full car service, you can book online with your local RAC Approved Garage today.
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Can toothpaste remove scratches from car?
If your fingernails do not catch then the scratch is in the clear coat of paintwork and toothpaste may be able to help. Whitening toothpaste works best but any brand will do the job. You will neeed to rub the toothpaste into the scratch and then rinse the area thoroughly with soapy water to make sure you remove any excess toothpaste and then dry with a dry microfibre cloth. If the scratches remain, repeat the process up to two more times, being sure to rinse and dry between applications to check your progress. Don’t repeat more than twice to avoid any lasting damage to your paintwork.
Can WD-40 remove scratches on car?
WD-40 can be used to remove scratches on cars, but it should not be used as a primary scratch remover. WD-40 helps to dissolve the top layer of paint, allowing the underlying paint to be exposed. This can help to reduce the visibility of scratches, but it is not an effective solution for deep scratches.
Therefore, for light scratches, you can use WD-40 to help reduce the visibility of the scratch. Simply spray the WD-40 onto the scratched area and use a soft, clean cloth to buff it in circles. You should then use a wax or polish to protect the area and help the paint blend in with the rest of the car.
5 Easy Ways of Protecting Your Car from Scratches
There’s no doubt that our cars are among our most precious belongings. While some of us completely forbid snacks or beverages inside our vehicles, others keep three different kinds of towels in the glove compartment because they cannot stand the tiniest dust.
However, while we go to great lengths to provide the utmost care to our vehicles, they constantly get exposed to many hazards within city traffic and on highways. So scratches are one of these hazards—and perhaps the most frustrating. Scratched and chipped car paint creates an unattractive look, leading to more significant problems like rusting if the scratch is deep enough to expose the metal under the paint.
1.Choose Your Parking Spots Wisely
You may be a master of parallel parking, but not everybody is. When you park your car in an area with high pedestrian traffic or close to other vehicles; an opening door, a scraping handbag, or another driver who’s trying to park in a narrow space can easily scratch your car’s paintwork or cause even deeper damage.
So, in order to protect your car from scratches, you can try leaving it in a garage instead of the sides of the streets, choosing quieter areas in parking lots, and using alternative means of transportation when you’re visiting crowded places like malls.
It’s a known fact that direct exposure to sunlight can harm car paint, but if you’re frequently parking your vehicle under trees to avoid the sun, you may want to rethink your decision. A variety of damaging factors can cause scratches—such as fruits, seeds, and resin dropping onto the surface of your vehicle—and a tree branch that breaks and falls on your car can definitely make for a bad surprise.
2.Practice Defensive Driving Techniques
Defensive driving techniques are composed of a set of tips, some of which are well-known and practiced, while some are widely overlooked. In addition to some golden traffic rules like fastening your seatbelt and abiding by the speed limit, defensive driving also comprises practical skills like predicting any potential mistakes by other drivers.
By adhering to these techniques at all times, you can minimize your car’s risk of sustaining damages. You can prevent scratches that would occur on the road to a great extent by keeping a safe and reasonable distance from other vehicles around you.
3.Clean Your Car Regularly Using the Right Methods
Do you know how frequently you should be washing your car? Frankly, there’s no straight answer to this question, as each vehicle can be a different case. However, cleaning your car too frequently—and incorrectly—can cause as much damage as leaving it covered in dust and dirt.
As a matter of fact, most small scratches that are not direct results of accidents and bumps tend to occur during the washing process. Particularly the abrasive brushes used in automatic car washes can easily scratch the paintwork of your vehicle. This is why another way to prevent scratches on a car is simply to wash your car by hand whenever possible.
Some of the most common mistakes made while washing a vehicle are “dusting” the surface with a dry cloth, or rubbing the car directly with a sponge before first rinsing away the dust and dirt. In order to prevent scratches from ruining your paintwork, you should avoid such practices, and always opt for high-quality, non-abrasive cleaning products.
4.Protect Your Vehicle with Ceramic Coating
If you haven’t yet discovered ceramic coating solutions, you can apply this invisible layer on your vehicle—no matter how old it is—to protect it from scratches, UV rays, and corrosion.
What’s more, you don’t need to receive professional help to benefit from the advantages of ceramic coating; you can easily apply practical car surface protection products such as Nasiol ZR53 Nano Ceramic Coating to the surface of your vehicle, providing it with anti-scratch, high-gloss, water-repellent, and chemical-resistant properties. This incredibly thin transparent layer remains effective for 3+ years, making the cleaning process much easier and prolonging the lifespan of the paintwork.
The durable ceramic coating offers much longer protection than car wax products do, hence providing car enthusiasts with much more than just an aesthetically pleasing, glossy vehicle.
5.Make Small Changes to Your Habits
Let’s not forget some small rules that we tend to have a hard time following whenever we come home with our hands full of groceries, or when we’re packing the car before a long road trip. Every object that we place on top of the car’s surface, even for a short time, carries the risk of abrading the paintwork. If you want to avoid car scratches, do not put anything on your car, lean or sit on it, and try not to touch the painted surfaces too much. Yes, it’s rather hard to believe it, but if you’re not using the door handles while opening and closing the doors, even that might lead to scratches!
Another habit that you may want to change to prevent car scratches is the use of car covers. Not only do they offer no protection against the scratches that might occur on the road, but they might actually be doing more harm than good. Any fabric placed over a car—especially if the car hasn’t been washed just recently—increases the risk of scratches due to the friction of the dust, dirt, and other particles on either surface. Aside from potential wind flap damage to the car paint, a similar result can also be expected every time you cover and uncover the vehicle.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
There are many products out there that claim to remove scratches from the surfaces of a variety of vehicles ranging from cars and motorcycles to minivans, SUVs, RVs, and trucks—all after the damage is done. While some of these products effectively remove scratches and marks, most “quick fixes” do more harm than good.
Unfortunately, many car owners only start wondering how to remove scratches when it’s already too late, whereas preventive measures can actually go a long way. If you pay attention to how to protect your car before it sustains damage, you can effectively help it stand the test of time by resisting scratches and retaining its brand new look for many years.
If you really want to protect your car you should also read our «Maintenance Tips that will Extend the Life of Your Car» blog content!