How to repair deep car scratches

Updated February 21, 2017

Deep scratches in a car are unsightly and can be openings for rust to develop, leading to a much bigger and costlier problem. However, every scratch doesn't mean a trip to the auto bodyworks garage and an expensive bill. With the right tools and a little know-how, a competent do-it-yourselfer can go a long way to hiding the appearance of the scratch and protect the car from further damage.

Clean out the scratch using a mixture of one part water and one part white vinegar applied with a sponge. After an initial scrubbing, use a toothbrush lightly to remove any lingering dirt. Rinse with water.

Sand the scratched area. First, soak a sheet of 2,000-grit sandpaper in water. Then lightly sand in a tight circular motion. Take care when doing this to only sand the scratched area.

Repaint the scratch. First, purchase a touch-up kit for your car. This will be a multi-stepped paint job. Use a toothpick and paint a thin strip of paint along the scratch. The key is to put on as light a coat as possible. Let it dry for a day. Continue to put on one coat of paint in this manner each day until the level of the scratch meets the surrounding non-damaged surface.

Apply the clear coat of touch up. Use the brush that came with the touch-up kit and put on a coat of clear sealer. Overlap the surrounding surface a few inches to blend the area in.

Lightly sand the newly-painted area in the same manner as in step two. Apply car polish to finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Touch-up paint
  • Clear touch-up
  • Sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpick
  • White vinegar
  • 2,000-grit sandpaper
  • Car polish
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About the Author

Steve Bradley is an educator and writer with more than 12 years of experience in both fields. He maintains a career as an English teacher, also owning and operating a resume-writing business. Bradley has experience in retail, fashion, marketing, management and fitness. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and classics.