How to Remove Deep Scratches from Your Car

Kyrian Ufoh

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How to Remove Deep Scratches from Your Car

Last updated on: June 10, 2024

Although car scratches are inevitable and one of the most common types of car damage, nobody wants to find a scratch on their car. Scratches can be ugly to look at and might diminish the value of your car. They can happen anytime, from something as minor as keys in your pocket to a rough rock on the road.

With this guide, you can learn several ways to remove the deepest scratches from your car and restore its appearance, some of them without scheduling an expensive appointment at a car repair shop.

Types of Car Scratches

To properly remove and care for scratches on your car, you must first identify your scratch type. Scratches are classified depending on their severity. While some cause notable damage over time and are incredibly difficult to restore, others are simply cosmetic and easy to deal with.

Three main scratches can occur on your car: Clear Coat Scratches, Base Coat Scratches, and Primer Scratches. However, you can remove any scratch on your car with the right tools and techniques.

  1. Clear Coat Scratches

The easiest coat to scratch and generally the least severe type of car scratch is the clear coat (the outermost layer). This layer is designed to protect the underlying color layer. So, while these scratches might appear severe, they don’t typically reach the base coat. This scratch can be easily removed with the right tools and techniques. With the right tools and techniques, it can be easily fixed.

  1. Base Coat Scratches

Base coat scratches are typically more severe and noticeable, penetrating through the clear coat. Although they are deeper, they don’t expose the primer coat yet, but if left untreated, they can expose your car to the risk of rust and further damage. Repairing these scratches often needs color-matched touch-up paint. Also, you need more careful, detailed work to blend the repair with the surrounding area seamlessly.

  1. Primer Coat Scratches

A primer scratch is the most severe type of scratch your car can incur. This can be very detrimental to your car’s bare metal surface. These deep scratches go through the clear coat, past the base coat, and down to the primer layer.

They are the most difficult to repair and may require professional help. If the primer is scratched and the metal underneath is exposed, the area quickly becomes susceptible to rust. If left untreated, rust can start forming on a primer scratch within a few days. Rust is not only unattractive but also causes permanent damage.

Guide to Removing Deep Scratches from a Car

Deep Scratches from Car

  1. Cleaning the Surrounding Area

Wash and dry the surrounding area with a microfiber towel to get any dust or dirt particles in the scratch. Be gentle around the scratch itself so you don’t aggravate the damage in any way. To ensure the area is thoroughly clean and prepped, swab it with rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining cleanser or dirt.

  1. Using A Touch-Up Paint

Touch-up paint can do a lot to cover up scratches. It is usually available in colors to match almost any vehicle paint and comes in spray paint, paint pens, or small bottles with attached brushes. Paint pens are naturally preferred rather than spray paint for scratches as they allow for precise application of the paint.

Depending on the depth of your scratch, a touch-up primer might be helpful to apply before the touch-up paint. But before application, prep the surface first with another wash or a swab of rubbing alcohol. This is to ensure the last of the buffing compound is removed. After priming and painting, add some touch-up clear coat and wax to ensure it shines like it is almost new.

  1. Using A Scratch Repair Kit

These kits, sourced from professional auto shops, contain all the tools you need to buff out or fill in scratches on your car. They usually contain a compound to remove scratches, a buffing pad or microfiber cloth, and sometimes extra solutions for polishing or a clear coat applicator. Applying the included polish or wax can restore the shine to your paint job, protecting the area against impending scratches and scuffs.

  1. Apply Rubbing Compound or Glazing Putty

Always entirely clean the scratched area, then apply a bit of rubbing compound to a microfiber cloth or buffing pad. This is a better way to manage the product than directly from scratch.

Apply the compound in a circular motion, then gently buff the area with the provided pad. The compound is mildly abrasive, and by buffing it into the scratched area, it smooths out the rough edges of the scratch, creating a more uniform surface.

This process not only removes the scratch but also helps blend the area with the surrounding paintwork. Try not to buff too hard or too much, as these compounds can remove paint. Finally, using the included polish or wax will bring back the shine to your paint job and protect it from future scratches and scuffs.

Glazing putty works by filling in scratches on the car’s surface. A dime-sized amount of glazing putty is enough for most scratches and works to fill in and level the mark, creating an even, smooth surface.

  1. Wet Sanding and Polishing

Wet sanding, pursued by polishing, can be a practical method for deeper scratches that reach the bare metal or base coat. This advanced car scratch repair approach uses 2000-grit and 3000-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Careful execution is important to avoid additional paintwork damage and preserve the car’s scratch-free appearance.

To start, you wet the sandpaper and gently sand the scratched area. Begin with the coarser 2000-grit sandpaper to deal with base coat scratches, then progress to the finer 3000-grit for a smoother finish on the top layer of paint. After sanding, thoroughly wipe the area clean to remove any sanding dust and grit.

Afterwards, use car polish to restore the shine to the sanded area. Complete by applying car wax, which not only seals the repair but also adds a protective layer, especially critical if the scratch exposes the bare metal.

  1. Asking for Professional Help

Professionals in a body shop are equipped with advanced tools, specialized automotive paint, and the necessary skills to enhance the car’s aesthetic appeal without jeopardizing its paint quality.

These people are skilled in managing complicated repairs, such as deep scratches penetrating the primer coat. They will correctly evaluate the damage extent and choose the most effective repair method: buffing, rubbing compound, or repainting. Selecting professional helps ensure the repair is done correctly, maintaining the car’s appearance and value.  

Tips for Preventing Scratches on Your Car

Removing Deep Scratches from Car

Scratching can happen anywhere, at any time. Preventing scratches on your car is essential to preserving its appearance and value. While it may not be possible to avoid all scratches, there are ways to prevent scratches on your car as much as possible.

  1. Use a microfiber cloth to wash and dry your car

Regular car washing is essential to remove dirt, dust, and other debris that can scratch your car’s paint. Automatic car washes are convenient but can be rough on your paint and cause scratches. If you can, wash your car by hand or use a touchless car wash with high-pressure water jets instead of brushes.

When you wash or dry your car, use a soft sponge, mitt, or microfiber cloth to keep the paint from scratching. Microfiber cloths softly soak up water well, so they’re great for cleaning without making scratches or swirls.

  1. Stay clear of Vulnerable Parking Spaces

When searching for a parking spot, find one away from too many people, cars not parked properly, or vegetation. Before you sell your car, parking near trees, bushes, or other plants can put it at risk of scratches from branches, leaves, and other debris.

Don’t stay overly close to other cars or low-hanging objects that can scratch or scrape your car’s paint. Source for a garage or carport, but if parking outside, use a car cover to shield it from wind-blown debris, dust, contaminants, and other weather conditions that can damage the paint and cause scratches. Ensure the cover is designed for your car’s make and model to ensure a proper fit and maximum protection.

  1. Don’t Place Foreign Objects on The Car

Avoid sitting in your car or placing heavy objects on your car’s surface. It can scratch or warp the surface, which makes it easier for the surface to scratch.


Removing scratches from your car can be easily managed with the right tools and products.

Are you ready to restore your car’s shine and smoothness? Follow these steps to remove deep scratches and restore your car’s shine. Don’t let scratches diminish your car’s appearance. Give your car the care it deserves!


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