Car Scratch Repair: Don’t Fret the Small Scuffs

Car Scratch Repair: Don't Fret the Small Scuffs

With almost 264 million registered vehicles, the U.S. is no doubt a car-loving nation. In fact, for many of the country’s 225 million licensed drivers, their rides are more of a necessity than a luxury.

Unfortunately, this is also a huge reason for the six million car accidents that take place in the U.S. each year. While not all lead to injuries, most still cause serious property damage.

Even a minor fender-bender can already leave scratches on your ride’s paint job! Worse, a single, one-inch dent can set you back between $60 and $110.

Luckily, there are a few car scratch repair hacks that you can in your own garage. There’s even one that can safeguard your ride from future damages.

Ready to learn all about these tricks on how to remove scratches from your car? Then let’s get this guide started!

Car Scratch Repair À La McGyver: Use Toothpaste for Tiny Scratches

If toothpaste can remove scratches on phones and mirrors, can it get rid of a minor paint scratch too?

That depends on the severity of the scratch – if you’re only dealing with tiny and shallow ones, it can be a DIY solution.

The concept behind toothpaste serving as a car scratch remover is that it acts like an abrasive. Think car polish, for instance, which is an abrasive that removes grease, dirt, and even scrapes.

This abrasive-like action of a toothpaste smooths out the top-most layer of a surface. It gently rubs away minute particles of that surface’s layer, giving it a clearer and shinier look.

“Gentle” is the keyword here, so keep that in mind as you do the steps below to deal with a light scratch using a toothpaste.

  1. Give the scratched area a thorough washing to get rid of dirt and debris.
  2. Place a good amount of regular toothpaste on a clean, damp cloth (like a brand-new microfiber towel).
  3. Rub the toothpaste on using a gentle, circular motion.
  4. Rinse off the area using clean water and dry it off using a fresh towel.
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The entire process may take a while and you may also have to repeat it two to three more times. Also, set your expectations that while this could reduce the appearance of the scratch, it may not 100% get rid of it.

Invest in a Top-of-the-Line Scratch Repair Kit

The car care products market, which is now worth $85.1 billion, is full of paint scratch-removal kits. These can be your go-to products to remove scratches from a car that the toothpaste trick won’t. You’ll easily find these kits at your local auto supply store.

You can ask your trusty mechanic for advice on which type of kit is best suited for your ride. If you don’t know a mechanic, you can also ask the guys at the local auto supply shop for help.

With a high-quality scratch repair kit in hand, proceed with the following steps:

  1. Thoroughly clean the affected area and make sure there’s no dirt or debris left on the surface.
  2. Using a clean microfiber towel, dry off the area completely.
  3. Squeeze out a dollop (about the size of a quarter) of the scratch remover solution on to the applicator pad.
  4. Work the solution for about 30 seconds on the scratch and surrounding areas. You can either do it using circular motions or on a straight line. Go with what’s most comfortable for you, but just make sure you don’t go from circular to straight.
  5. Once you see a thin, see-through film on the surface, you can wipe this residue off with a clean towel.

Don’t panic if the first run doesn’t get rid of the damage right away. Like with the toothpaste hack, you may need to do this entire process a couple more times. What’s important is to start light – so long as you see an improvement, that means you did it right.

Lay on the Liner for Existing and Future Scratches

You likely know that bedliners exist to protect truck beds from scratches and dents. But did you know that folks around the world now also use these as a full-exterior coating?

That’s right. Vehicle owners now spray these products on the entire exterior of their rides!

After all, the materials used in bedliners adhere and bonds with both paint and metal. This then creates a solid barrier that protects paint and parts from impact damages. And because they’re sprayed on, they act much like a layer of paint that covers scratches.

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As such, using a sprayed-in liner not only protects your car paint job — it also gives it a scratch-free look. You can learn more here on how these liners work and how they can prevent future scratches and damages.

As for liner application, it does come with more steps than the previous two. Also, each spray-in liner manufacturer has its own specific application instructions.

All require thorough cleaning and drying of the application area though. For instance, if the scratches are on your truck bed, make sure the bed is completely clean and free of debris. You’d likely need to sand or scuff the surface to prepare it (and then clean it again) before spraying on the product.

If you consider the great protective properties of liners though, this prep work is worth it. So, for a longer-term, more effective solution against scratches, go with a bedliner!

Try these Solutions Now to Deal with those Car Scratches

If you’ve grown tired of always seeing those ugly marks on your ride’s paint job, give these hacks a try. For scratches that you can see but can’t really feel, you may want to start with the toothpaste trick first. If you can feel the scratch though, you may have to spend a bit more money for a scratch repair kit.

For a longer-lasting car scratch repair and damage prevention, consider the liner technique. It’ll cost you more than a scratch repair kit, but it’s a good investment for your precious ride.

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