On the road with Tony DeFrank. Follow along with California Car Cover's Executive Director, Tony DeFrank, as he travels the country attending car shows from coast to coast. While not on the road, Tony will share photos from catalog photo shoots, behind the scenes news and notes, product reviews and much more right here on the official blog of California Car Cover. We will also post product features, informative car care articles and maintenance tips throughout the year.


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How To Fix A Car Paint Scratch

How To Fix A Car Paint Scratch

Scratches on your car’s gorgeous paint job produce an emotional reaction akin to the feeling you get when nails run down a chalkboard. Sadly, any time you take your car out for a spin, there’s always the possibility that some random person or tree branch can undo your hard work with a noticeable scratch. What can you do about it? 

Heading to an automotive paint shop is a possibility – but a very costly one. Depending on the nature of the scratch, using a car scratch remover is an excellent do-it-yourself alternative that saves you serious money.

How To Choose the Right Car Scratch Repair Method

There are several ways to fix an automotive scratch: 

Paint scratch remover 

Car repainting treatments

Scratch remover pen

The right option for your car depends on how much time you’re willing to invest personally and what degree of hands-on repairs you’re comfortable with. The amount, distribution and depth of scratches also heavily influences your decision.

Easy Auto Scratch Repair Kits

This option mixes the ease of a scratch pen with the high-quality results of multistage painting methods. Kits include user-friendly sandpaper for ensuring good adhesion on small clear coat scratches, though you won’t be sanding down to the car’s paint layer. 

After carefully applying the included high-performance clear finish and letting it dry, you cover the area with polish and buff it to a sheen. This alters the surface coat properties of small-to-medium scratches and helps fill them in evenly, making them effectively invisible. 

What Multistage Scratch Repair Methods Involve

This option is the most labor-intensive of the three, essentially requiring you to repaint a portion of your car’s exterior. As long as you have the necessary experience, however, you can get excellent like-new results.

With very deep scratches that actually remove paint, this method may be the only DIY solution. 

Sand: Using the sandpaper included in your repair kit – 180 grit is common – you’ll need to sand the area around scratches as deep as needed to have an even surface.

Apply primer: Choose a sandable primer that’s similar to the target color of your vehicle. Apply several coats according to primer drying instructions and recommendations.

Sand again: Use 2000-grit wet-or-dry sandpaper to remove the primer’s powdery appearance. Wipe clean.

Spray with topcoat: Apply three or four coats of color-matched topcoat according to manufacturer’s instructions. Finally, sand with 2000-grit sandpaper and wipe clean.

Add Clear coat: Apply two coats of clear lacquer, carefully following curing instructions. Check for any imperfections.

Buff: Once you’re satisfied with the paint job, the last step is to buff area to a high sheen using calm, circular motions.

The Truth About Scratch Pens

Paint pens with clear lacquer are advertised to fill in scratches as easily as writing. Do they work?

Well, if you have very light scratches, these pens can temporarily restore the car’s finish, but it’s not really a good fix: 

Temporary fix only

Poor adhesion

Excess clear coat stands out

Medium scratches remain

High-Quality Car Care Products Make a Huge Difference

Taking care of your car’s exterior and interior is an investment that pays huge dividends in satisfaction and pride. For other tips regarding auto scratch repair and products for car detailing, contact our friendly experts right away. 


California Car Cover