How To Remove Deep Scratches From Your Car

Finding the most effective and easy way to get rid of deep scratches in my car paint

No matter how careful you are with your vehicle, it may eventually get deep scratches.

First, there will be that moment of frustration and annoyance once you spot the mess. Then, in most cases, you will start beating yourself up or wonder how it could have happened.

However, you don’t have to be so harsh on yourself. Vehicles may not be as hard as we assume and can easily be scratch by things we would never have guessed would cause such damage.

For example, can you imagine a grocery bag scratching your car once you slide it off? Probably not, but that can happen.

Loose pebbles could also scratch your car unapologetically. Other times, you are busy driving while following every rule and instruction given by the authorities.

Then, out of nowhere, a driver who cares little about them shows up, and their unruliness leaves you with deep scratches.

What next? Fortunately, that’s something you can solve. These are your options of how to remove deep scratches from your car:

  • Moderate scratches by buffing off the light
  • Fill up deep gouges
  • Painting over the scratches

Let’s look at these options and learn much more about removing deep scratches from your car in detail.

Can Deep Scratches On My Car Go Away?

Whether your car is old or new, having a deep scratch doesn’t sit well with you.

Upon noticing the scratch, what comes to your mind is the concern as to whether that’s it or you can still redeem your car. Fortunately, the answer to the question is a resounding yes.

Deep scratches don’t mean that you should throw your car away. All is not lost, and your situation can be fixed.

There are various products out there that can do the job quite well. You will also be spoilt with ways of removing them.

Sometimes, just knowing that a problem is solvable is in itself a source of release. So, you have no reason to worry because it is possible to remove deep scratches from your car.

Can A DYI Remove Deep Scratches From A Car?

Unless it is an extreme situation, you don’t need to visit a body shop to remove deep scratches from your car. On the contrary, you can remove the scratches yourself using various methods.

However, how deep the scratch differs from one car to the other and plays a huge role when determining the method to use.

That depth can be measured by the surface of the car that the scratch has affected.

So, the best thing to discuss before getting into the details of removing deep scratches is to discuss the car surface.

Clearcoat

It is the topmost layer of your car service, and as the name suggests, it is transparent with neither pigments nor resin.

As a result, it protects your car from external damage, including the UV rays from the sun. It also protects the layer beneath it from being scratched.

Usually, its thickness ranges from 1.5 mils and two mils.

Basecoat

This layer is usually beneath the clearcoat and is responsible for the color of your car. Its thickness is generally between 4 mils and six mills.

Thanks to its anti-oxidant property, the moisture can’t damage this layer despite missing in some cars.

Sealer

Beneath the basecoat is the sealer. Without it, it might be challenging to accomplish a smooth glossy finish with your basecoat.

Its role is to ensure that the metal that makes the car neither oxidates nor rusts. Its other role is to promote the adhesiveness of the paint on your car’s body.

Consequently, you get an excellent finish look upon painting your car.

Primer

It is necessary to have this layer before applying any layer of paint. It does a perfect job by filling in any imperfections on your car surface.

Base Layer

This is the actual body of your car. You will be surprised to learn what all the other layers are trying to hide. The body isn’t as pretty as most people assume.

It is mainly made of aluminum alloy, steel, or other alloys. A for the bumpers, both rear and front, the materials can be plastics or fiberglass.

The depth of the scratch depends on which layer is affected. Once it goes beyond the clearcoat and affects the basecoat, that’s a deep cut. Sometimes, it can be deep enough to reach the base layer.

How Can I Tell If The Scratch Is Light Or Deep?

When it comes to car damages, we always assume the worst. However, you might be surprised to learn that the scratch isn’t as serious as you would imagine.

So how do you tell if you are dealing with a light or a deep scratch? This is what to consider.

  • What’s the color of the scratched area? If it is white, the scratch has affected the basecoat.
  • Does the scratch catch your fingernail once you run it across the affected area? If nodding, the scratch most likely goes beyond the clear coat.
  • Is the scratch only visible at a certain angle? If the answer is a resounding yes, the scratch is most likely light.

However, regardless of the depth, you don’t have to take the car to a repair shop. Instead, there are various ways of solving the issue. So, let’s take a look at your alternatives as a DIY.

How Can I Repair A Light Scratch?

First of all, you need several things to get started:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Scratch remover
  • Polishing compound

Once you gather the things, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Remove any loose particle on the scratched area to avoid further damage by wiping the scratch with a microfiber cloth.
  2. Apply the scratch remover on the affected area and avoid doing it generously.
  3. Wipe the remover after 15 to 20 seconds. It is advisable to do it gently and in circular motions.
  4. Check if the scratch is gone and if not, repeat steps 2 and 3.
  5. Once it is done, make the area even by applying the polishing compound in a small amount.

If it doesn’t give great results, then you are most likely dealing with deep scratches. There are ways of fixing them too. Let’s dive into them.

How To Fix Deep Scratches On Your Vehicle

For this task, you will need more things and aggressive ones, for that matter. They include:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Touch-up paint
  • Foam sanding block
  • Sandpaper
  • Filler Putty
  • Paint leveler
  • Masking tape
  • Automotive specialty wax

There are two steps to do once you gather the necessary tools.

Step 1: Filling Up Deep Gouges

  • Use a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol to clean the scratched area.
  • Surround the affected area with masking tape leaving a margin of around 1 inch on either side.
  • Sand down the affected area with sandpaper wrapped around the foam sanding block. Ensure that you use the 1500-grade. Do it gently without going beyond the area within the masking tape. Equally important, do it in small circular motions. Keep in mind that this is not to remove the clearcoat but to reduce it to some extent.
  • Use a filler putty to fill the scratch and avoid using too much of it. Leave it for between 15 minutes and 20 minutes to dry.
  • Remove the excess filler putty leaving behind a filled-in scratch. That’s where the pain leveler comes in since it does the job perfectly.

Step 2: Using Touch-Up Pain On The Scratches

These are the steps to follow:

  • Use a fine brush to apply touch-up paint on the repaired scratch. Ensure that the paint is thin, and use the tip of your brush to dab that paints into the area. See to it that it conceals every part of the scratch and at the same time makes sure that it is thin and light.
  • Leave it untouched for 8 to 12 hours to give room for the paint to dry. Preferably, leave it overnight since very few people use their cars at night. That gives the area enough time to dry and set.
  • Confirm if there is a need for an extra coating. If yes, add one and even a second coating for an excellent finish.
  • Seal the painted area with a clearcoat applicator. Gliding the tip of your pen down the length of the new paint line ensures that the sealant layer is thin and, above all, even. Please don’t put too much pressure while at it lest it does more harm than good.
  • Scratch the area with wet sandpaper, usually 1500-grade or 2000-grade. Do it gently and in small swirling motions.

I found a good video, watch this below:

Scratch Removers Vs. Polishing Compounds

When removing deep scratches from your car, you will most likely use scratch removers and polishing compounds hand in hand.

As far as how they work is concerned, there is a similarity between the two.

They both rub and polish compounds. However, they differ in formulations and instructions to follow since the two are meant for different tasks.

Scratch removers, as the name suggests, repair scratches. Additionally, they remove finish blemishes.

On the other hand, polishing compounds come in handy when dealing with a dull finish or oxidation.

How Does A Scratch Remover Works?

One must admit that a scratch remover does wonders when it comes to removing deep scratches from a car.

However, it is far from magic. Instead, it is formulated in such a way that it fixes a scratch easily.

For instance, it has polishing agents whose concentration differs from one model to the other. Its role is to remove various light imperfections on the surface of your car.

In addition to that, it contains clear polymers or wax, which comes in to fill any deep abrasion as the scratch remover fixes the imperfections.

You are at liberty to use them on a particular area or the entire surface of your car, depending on what you plan to achieve.

However, they usually require one step to apply, and a single application is often enough.

Nevertheless, their cleansing, as well as polishing properties, are often mild.

Consequently, removing relatively strong oxidation may be something hard to achieve we a scratch remover. That’s where the rubbing and polishing compounds come in.

5 Factors To Consider When Selecting A Deep Scratch Remover That Will Work Best On Your Car

Don’t be surprised to find a wide range of scratch removers upon visiting a store.

But, how do you decide what to take and what to leave on the counter? That can definitely be a daunting task unless you have some insights.

To make the right choice, these are things to consider:

1. Nature Of The Scratch

The formulation of a scratch remover differs from one model to the other.

Consider whether you are fixing deep scratches or light ones when choosing one. If light, go for a mild scratch remover and vice versa.

2. Application

Have you ever applied a scratch remover before, or will this be your first time? If not the first time, how was your experience, and do you possess the right skills for applying it?

Once you answer those questions, you will easily know which one to buy. After all, it will help you decide which remover you can apply easily.

In most cases, people go for the ones which are easy to apply. It saves time and gives great results as one hardly makes any mistakes when applying it.

3. Versatility

Why be so specific when you can get a jack of all trades?

Some scratch removers are applicable in many other things besides cars. They can be used on trucks, tractors, trailers, and motorcycles, just to mention a few.

Therefore, if you have other car models, settling for one with various uses will make much sense, no doubt.

But, equally important, some work on various surfaces, whereas others only work on black ones. So, again, choose wisely to avoid choosing the wrong one.

4. Kit Or Otherwise

The choice you make in this case depends on what you already have. For instance, you don’t need a kit if you have polish or abrasives. A scratch remover will be enough in this case.

However, if you don’t have such things, buying a kit is the most suitable decision.

An excellent kit should have various things, including a rubbing compound, polish, microfiber pads, sanding blocks, or sandpaper.

5. Price

Always go for a scratch remover that you can afford.

However, don’t compromise its quality in the process of doing so. Instead, balance the price and the quality since a great scratch removal is always worth every penny.

As long as you consider those factors, you can rest assured that you will take home the right scratch remover for your car.

Some Of The Best Scratch Removers To Buy

Here are recommendations of the best removers to remove deep scratches from your car.

1. Meguiar’s G17216 16 Oz Ultimate Compound

If you want to eliminate swirls and scratches on the surface of your car, this product will not disappoint.

On the contrary, it will get rid of the scratch or any other imperfections efficiently and effectively. Moreover, it is quite affordable yet gives excellent results.

When the paint on your car has lost its glory, restore it with this product.

It is safe on your hands and doesn’t damage the clearcoat either. Coupled with a polishing compound, your car will shine as if it is new.

Features:

  • It is versatile as you can use it on cars, SUVs, or trucks
  • It doesn’t require a polisher to apply it
  • Its micro-abrasive technology gives excellent results
  • The scratch remover fixes a wide range of imperfections

Directions:

  • Do the job while under a shade
  • Ensure that the surface of the car is also cool
  • The coating should be thin and even
  • Use the soft form and apply it in a circular motion with average pressure
  • Apply slight friction to eliminate dep scratches
  • Perform circular motion gently for 1 to 2 minutes
  • Wipe it off before it dries
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2. Turtle Wax 50734 Complete Compound, Polishing & Scratch Kit

Another great option for restoring the shine of your car is this product. From light scratches to oxidation, the product can handle many imperfections on car surfaces.

In addition, it won’t damage your car finish since it lacks a scratching property.

You are at liberty to use it on painted chrome, metal, or car finish. The kit comes with a scratch repair pen to sought out the issue easily.

Features:

  • Ideal for restoring faded finishes
  • Ease of use
  • Removes stubborn stains, scratches, and blemishes

Directions:

  • You should wash and dry the car before use
  • First, try it on a small area to test if it is okay with your car
  • You can use it together with a rubbing compound to get better results
  • Apply wax on the area after use
I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
10/01/2021 03:05 pm GMT

3. Trinova Scratch Swirl Remover

It is ideal for removing contaminants and unwanted substances such as oxidation, water spots, paint transfers, scuffs, swirls, and deep scratches.

Its formulation includes only chemicals that are safe for you and your car.

As a matter of fact, you can also use your hands to apply it. Alternatively, use a dual-action orbital polisher. Regardless of what you use to apply, you can rest assured that the results will be excellent.

Features:

  • Easy applications
  • It works perfectly in all paint colors
  • It is affordable yet effective

Directions:

  • Wash and dry your car before using this scratch remover on it
  • Shake the remover well before use
  • Add only three drops to the applicator
  • Apply it in a circular manner
  • Buff it until it diminishes
  • Use a dry, clean microfibre cloth to wipe it
I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
10/01/2021 03:05 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Toothpaste Remove Deep Scratches From The Surface Of A Car?

One way of removing a deep scratch is by using toothpaste. This is how it works.

It is effective for the job since it has an abrasive property. Therefore, it works as soft sandpaper and removes the scratches from your car.

It mixes with the surface of your vehicle and fills up various spaces. Nevertheless, it can disappoint if you are fixing too deep scratches.

How Much Does It Cost For A Professional To Remove Deep Scratches From My Car?

Since the deepness differs from one case to another, removing deep scratches isn’t a fixed price either. If the clear coat or the scuff is affected, the price range is $150 to $300.

On the other hand, a scratched primer could cost you between $500 and $1000 to fix. However, a relatively deep scratch can cost you as much as $2500.

It is important to note that that’s the average cost per scratch. So, therefore, the more scratches, the higher the cost.

What Happens If I Don’t Remove A Deep Scratch From My Car?

Various layers cover a car’s body to protect it from the outside world and avoid cases such as corrosion. However, a deep scratch means that the layers are no longer there.

Therefore, there are high chances of the affected area corroding, which may increase the rate at which your car wears off.

On the other hand, it may cost you a lot of money if you decide to resell it. z

The buyer will use it as an excuse to pay less for your car. It is no secret that the price of fixing it will be less than what you stand to lose when selling your car.

Conclusion

The next time you see a deep scratch on your car, you surely have no reason to panic.

That’s because you can easily fix it even on your own. All you need is affordable products and simple tools the get it done.

Given how expensive it is to seek professional assistance and the dire consequences of leaving a deep scratch unattended, doing the fixing yourself is a lot more cost-effective.

Luckily, you now have a step-by-step guide on how to go about it.

Use the guide to turn a scratched, unpleasant car to almost new. Don’t forget to follow the directions when using any of our recommended scratch removers.

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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