How to Mend an Interior Car Scratch

January 27, 2012

If you've ever had a car scratch on the interior of your vehicle, you probably thought you were stuck with it. The good news is that many scratches can be repaired, and you can do it yourself. Depending on what type of interior you have, plastic, vinyl or leather, you'll have to get a specific filler to match that medium and that color. Auto parts stores should carry them, but you can probably find them at a hardware store, too. Beyond that, you should be able to use items you probably already have. Those items include cleaner (or dish soap) and a putty knife. For a plastic interior you'll also need sandpaper.

Clean the Surface

No matter which material you need for the repair, the first step is always the same. You'll want to clean the surface area of the scratch. You can use a cleaner specifically for car interiors, but a solution of dish soap and water will work. If your interior is reasonably clean you can just do the areas you need to repair, but if the whole interior needs cleaning you'll probably want to do all of it (otherwise you'll have clean spots).

Plastic Interiors

To fix car scratches on a plastic interior you need to apply the plastic filler to the entire area of the scratch. Then smooth it out. You can use a putty knife to do both parts of this process. Remove any excess material from around the edges and let it dry for 24 hours. After it's dried you can use sandpaper to smooth it out and then put some wax on it to even out the surface.

Vinyl Interiors

For vinyl interiors you will first need to mix the filler and the catalyst. Then you fill the scratch area just like you would do if you had a plastic interior. In fact, you follow all the same procedures (as in a plastic repair) up through allowing it to dry for 24 hours. You should not need to smooth out a vinyl repair. You can do the wax step if you want.

Leather Interiors

Car scratches on leather interiors are done in a similar manner to the vinyl, but with only one real difference. Apply the leather repair compound and smooth it out. Allow it to dry as you did with the others, but you'll notice as it does that you don't have a match in terms of coloration. That's because the final step, after it dries, is to apply a color touch up material. Once that dries, you should be done.

With a little work and a small investment you can definitely repair a car scratch in the interior of your vehicle. It might seem like something that requires professional servicing, but you can do it yourself. It will make the interior of your car look better and that's a good thing, whether you plan to keep your car, sell it or trade it in.