How To Fix Deep Scratches On A Car

Your car is obviously going to suffer a bit of surface wear and tear – no matter how strict your car maintenance routine is.

Sometimes you’ll be lucky and escape with only minor surface scuffs and tiny scratches. These ones are easy to fix on your own by doing some pretty basic car repairs.

But sometimes you’ll end up with deeper scratches and these can be pretty challenging to fix properly. Especially if you’re looking for a long term solution and not a short term fix.

I've created a quick rundown about how you can tackle them.

The four layers of a car’s finish

So, first of all, you need to understand the structure of a car’s finish. It’s usually made up of four separate layers:

  1. The bare metal of the car’s body
  2. A basic undercoat or primer layer
  3. A paint layer
  4. A clear, protective layer

Deep scratches are usually defined as ones which have scraped through the first three layers of finish, letting you see bare metal. If you’ve got a particularly deep scratch, you probably won’t be able to repair this very easily by yourself.

Actually, If I’m being brutally honest, okay, you probably can repair it yourself, but it’s not likely to last very long or look very good. You’d be much better off getting a professional bodyshop to have a look at it because they’ll have the professional expertise and right kit to solve the problem.

Here’s what to do if you want to try and fix the problem yourself though:

1. Assess the depth of the scratch

Get an idea of how deep the scratch is, how many layers of the finish it has penetrated and what type of repair would be best.

2. Get a paint touch-up pen, matching the colour of your car

After you’ve worked out what type of repair you need to make, and you’ve decided it’s a deep scratch one, you’ll need to get the paint touch-up pen that matches the exact colour code of your car. Most decent car shops sell these pens, so finding one shouldn’t be too difficult (unless you’re driving a really obscure car, like a 80s Delorean or something).

3. Apply this to the scratch

Once you’ve got the right touch-up pen, apply a layer of paint (and primer if you need it) to the scratch making sure that you get it coated evenly.

4. Apply thin layers of clear coat

When the layer of paint is dry, it’s time to apply the final clear coats which will protect it. Again, make sure that these are applied slowly and evenly so that you don’t end up with lumps and bumps everywhere.

5. Buff the surface until the scratch is level with the rest of the car’s paintwork

After the final clear coat layers have dried, you’ll need to do some final buffing to get the level of the paint level matching that of the rest of the car.

Or, you could get a professional bodyshop to fix the problem

A professional bodyshop is probably the best option to choose if you want an actual fix to the problem and not just apply a sticking plaster to the problem. A good bodyshop will have years of experience of fixing deeper scratches so that they aren’t noticeable.

If you’re lucky enough, you might even find that your insurance policy actually covers the cost of getting scratches repaired – some comprehensive insurance policies do.