How to Fix an Auto Car Paint Scratch

January 27, 2012

If you happen to scratch your auto, car paint will usually chip away, and rust can begin to set in within a few days. Therefore, it is important to think about car paint scratch removal as soon as possible. Fixing scratches in your car's paint is much easier than you think and you can do it within about an hour. Here is a quick how-to guide that will show you everything you need to know.

What You Will Need

  • Car paint pen or touch up paint kit
  • 80,320 and 1000 Grit Sandpaper
  • Soap and Water
  • Dry Towels
  • Car Wax

Step 1 - Clean the Scratched Area

Use soap and water to wash the scratched surface area of the vehicle. Use a scouring pad to remove wax or clear-coat that may be built up over the scratched area so it is easier to apply the touch up paint. Allow the vehicle to dry.

Step 2 - Sand the Affected Area

The depth of the scratch in your car's paint will determine the grit of sandpaper you would need to use on the vehicle. If the scratch is very deep, you can use a lower grit sandpaper such as 80 or 120. For finer scratches, you may want to begin with a 320 grit sandpaper and work up to higher grit levels. Attempt to sand the scratched area as smooth as possible and finish up the wet sanding with a 1000 grit piece of sandpaper. Keep the sandpaper wet while you are wet sanding. Then, wipe away excess debris and water with a clean towel.

Step 3 - Use a Stencil to Tape Off the Scratch

Make a stencil to use for painting the scratched surface of your car. Take a piece of paper and cut a hole that is just a little larger than the scratch itself and then used tape to secure the piece of paper to the car. Only the scratch should show through the hole. This will help you avoid making a mess when you're using the touch up paint.

Step 4 - Purchase Correct Touch-up Paint

Look under the windshield (over the driver's side dash) and record your vehicles VIN number. Then, take the VIN number to your local car dealership and purchase a touch-up paint that will match your vehicle.

Step 5 - Touch Up the Paint

Use the small applicator brush that comes with the touch-up paint or a paper matchstick to carefully apply the paint to the scratched area. Try to only fill in the scratch itself and avoid getting too much paint on either side of the scratch. Allow the paint to dry.

Step 6 - Lightly Sand Scratched Area

Wet sand again with 1000 grit sandpaper. This time sand very lightly. You only want to remove the gloss on the first coat of touch up paint and not the paint itself.

Step 7 - Apply Second Coat of Paint

Apply another coat of touch of paint to the vehicle. Allow the paint to dry for 24 to 48 hours before waxing.

Step 8 - Wax the Car

After the paint has completely dried, wash and wax your vehicle as you normally would.