Scratches. If you’ve owned a car, a truck, or any automobile you’ve likely had them. They range from mildly annoying to potentially disastrous. Whether it’s a little nick or a deep gouge, it’s smart to identify and take care of your vehicle scratches before they become larger problems. Today we’ll help you identify scratches, and decide what your best course of action is to fix them! Let’s go (and rub gently in a circular motion)!
Before we get into repairs, let’s talk about the types of scratches. Like a snowflake, every scratch is unique, but we can, essentially, boil scratches down to three separate types.
CLEAR COAT SCRATCH
This is the shallowest of the three and, in most cases, the easiest to repair. For the uninitiated, a clear coat is a thin, protective coat that protects a vehicle’s paint from things like UV rays from sunlight, dust, and even acid rain. And while a clear coat provides some protection, it is still very susceptible to nicks and scratches. It’s even possible to scratch some clear coats with your fingernail (yeah…don’t do that). Clear coat scratches are generally considered to be minor blemishes.
As you might expect, this is deeper than just a clear coat scratch. This scratch has gone through the clear coat and has penetrated the actual paint of the vehicle. In some cases, this scratch will also puncture the primer coat beneath the paint. These are more serious, as the scratch has now exposed the paint (or even the primer) to the elements. Without repair, these deeper scratches can be the impetus for rust body issues down the road.
Naturally, this is a deep gouge that protrudes all the way through the protective coats of clear coat, paint, and primer. This type of scratch has actually dug into the vehicles’ metal bodywork. You could almost think about this type of scratch as an open wound on your vehicle. Without treatment and repair, this type of “wound” on your car can lead to serious (and expensive) problems with your vehicle’s bodywork.
HOW DO I REPAIR THESE SCRATCHES?
So, just like the types of scratches, there are, of course, different ways to repair the scratches. These options range from relatively simple DIY fixes to professional repairs.
For minor scrapes and blemishes, like a clear coat scratch, for example, buffing will usually do the trick. This involves applying some type of liquid scratch remover or appropriate rubbing compound to a clean microfiber cloth and gently rubbing until the scratches disappear. This type of upkeep is particularly helpful for touching up fingernail scratches around door handles, for instance. Buffing is also the least expensive of the repair methods.
Scratch repair kits and another DIY option for scratches that are deeper than minor clear coat blemishes. For example, if you can feel the scratch when you lightly run a fingernail over it, you probably need a repair kit. These are kits sold at auto supply stores or repair shops, which contain products and instructions to repair the scratch. These kits are, generally, more involved than simply buffing and care should be taken (especially by beginners) so more harm isn’t done to the vehicle’s exterior. These repair kits are slightly more expensive (usually 20-30 dollars).
In the event that you’ve got a serious, deep scratch, or too many scratches to fix on your own, professional repair is likely the best option. In this case, the existing paint is stripped away from the area (or the entire body panel, depending on location) and a new coat of paint is applied. Yes, repainting can be an expensive option. But by choosing a qualified, experienced body shop, you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting the job done correctly and with high-quality materials.
And, of course, for the best paint and bodywork look no further than Eustis Body Shop. Our I-CAR Gold Class Certified Technicians will get your vehicle back to its original glory and get you back on the road in style. If you have any questions, stop in at any of our 6 locations across Central and Eastern Nebraska or contact us or get a free quote here!