When scratches appear on a car that's otherwise well-maintained, it can be quite frustrating, however with a bit of patience and by following a few trade tips you can prevent as well as cure those irritating blemishes.
Scratch Prevention Is Better Than Cure
During everyday use, you can prevent damage to your paintwork, and the additional expense of a scratch repair bill, by taking a few simple steps.
1. Regularly Wash Your Car
Washing your car will remove all fine abrasive dirt from the vehicle's body. Start by washing from the roof down and make sure to use plenty of water. Keep in mind, careless washing, as well as automatic car washes that are ill-maintained, can cause the dirt to abrade into the surface of the paint, which can cause those unsightly swirl marks and scratches.
2. Park Smart
Never park your car in an area where people will likely have to squeeze past it. For example, opt to park further away from the supermarket entrance in a section of the car park that is less popular. Never park adjacent to vehicles which have been carelessly parked. The same amount of consideration the owners showed during parking their own car may be shown to your car.
3. Careful With Wiping
Never use your bare hands or a dry cloth to wipe dirt or grime from your car. The dirt can score the surface of the paint.
4. Be Careful When Driving
Be a careful driver and never allow overgrown bushes to scrape up against your car, for example, when you drive through narrow lanes.
How to Repair Scratches
For starters, if you do not have the time to fix the scratch immediately, use a piece of tape to cover it. For this, you should use duct tape, which you should keep a roll in your car for emergency repairs anyway. Duct tape is now available in a range of colours so finding the right colour that matches your paintwork should not be difficult.
This solution is a temporary one to prevent water from entering the scratch and causing rust. There are two better options if the scratches are not so deep or wide that they could be considered gouges:
1. A Scratch-Repair Kit
If the scratch is not too deep or wide, it can be fixed without much effort. Superficial scratches are found in what is called the "clear coat", which is the transparent layer of finish which protects the colour underneath. With a scratch repair kit, the scratch can be blended into the rest of the finish with no need to colour match the paint. It won't look like brand new, but the scratch will be fixed and look a lot better than before.
2. Touch-Up Paint
Applying touch up paint is an option that is a bit more involved. For starters, you have to go by an car supply shop and have them match the make and model of your car to the correct touch-up colour.
The second step is to clean and lightly sand the affected area with the use of a fine grade sandpaper. Several coats of touch-up paint should be all that's required, allowing each coat to dry between applications.
After a bit more light sanding, a apply a new clear coat, which can also be purchased from the car supply shop. When it dries, proceed with waxing the area. This technique will provide you with a proper scratch repair which restores the structure and provides a more factory finish appearance.
There are also touch-up kits that can be ordered with a small touch up pen containing paint that matches your car colour, along with a pen of clear-coat to complete the job.
If you are planning on keeping your car and want it to have an appearance that is relatively pristine, you can wait for the damage to accumulate and head over to a body shop for a complete suite of proper repairs. However, the car scratch repair cost will certainly be a lot more expensive than a mere £20 to £50 you may spend on a repair kit or the touch-up option.
Just avoid prepping your repair by coating the area that is damaged with grey primer paint to simply forget about it.
Scratches should be repaired as quickly as possible. Once the sheet of metal found under the paint has become exposed, it is merely a matter of time before rust can set in.
If done carefully, you can effectively repair a car paint scratch at home. Not only will this improve the look of your vehicle, but it will also enhance the vehicle's value to a prospective buyer.
If you own a car, small scratches and dings are a way of life. It is important to deal with them as fast as possible.