Car Scratch Repair Tips for DIY Drivers

A woman worries about car scratch repair costs.

Car scratch repair costs a pretty penny – enough to make most of us sigh out loud. And unfortunately there are oodles of daily opportunities for our immaculate paint jobs to get scuffed and scratched…

They range from parking in tight spots and scraping walls (or worse, other cars), to car accidents and vandalism. Sometimes it’s our fault, sometimes it’s the fault of others.

In Australia, there’s also the chance of extreme weather bursts that could land us with a scratch and dent or two. Sudden flooding and hail stones the size of a Maccas nugget is simply part of our weather system. This is why you might also want read how to choose a car hail protector.

But first, read these DIY car scratch repair tips. Finding the fix kit is easier than you may think – you’ll be pleased to know we’re using nothing but beauty and bathroom products!

How to fix scratches on cars

Your car’s paint job can be a source of great pride, so discovering a scratch can be mortifying. Your next Google search is likely to be ‘How to fix scratches on cars’, in the hopes there’s something you can do quickly and easily.

And there might be…

In some instances, depending on the size of the scratch, DIY solutions can help reverse the effect. In this article we look at how to fix scratches on cars using at-home methods.

For those of you with a few spare hours who are driven to fix it yourself, here are some solutions.

A man inspects the damage to his car and wonders about car scratch repair options.

Does toothpaste fix scratches on cars?

To some degree, toothpaste can reduce the appearance of fine scratches. Toothpaste buffing works as a solution for scratches that are very light.

It works like a gel-form sandpaper, which can very gently smooth down mild scuff marks. Like, for example, where grease from a lawnmower or bicycle has come into contact with your paintwork.

To see if this method can work, you’ll need to check if the scratch has penetrated the layers of paint or whether it’s superficial. You can do this by running your nail lightly over the paintwork. If your nail doesn’t catch, it’s likely shallow enough to use toothpaste.

Next follow these steps:

  • Wash the area
  • Dry the area thoroughly
  • Apply toothpaste directly on the scuff mark
  • Using a damp microfiber cloth, press gently and rub in small circular motions (think The Karate Kid but with much less force)
  • Use a clean cloth to clean off the excess toothpaste

You may repeat the steps two more times for optimum results. Just don’t do more than that as you can cause wear and tear to your paint.

Also note that any toothpaste works, however, whitening toothpaste is highly recommended for best results. Check out this video to the results you can get with this method:

Deep car scratch repair

The second car scratch repair trick is for deep scratches that have penetrated layers of the paintwork. Your car’s paintwork consists of three layers of paint: primer, basecoat (which gives the colour) and a protective clear coat.

Sounds like the layers of nail varnish in a beauty regime, right?

Right, and that’s exactly what we’re aiming for here. Nail varnish is an incredible hardy lacquer. If you or your significant other have ever spilt it on a countertop or basin, you’ll notice it just stays and stays. That’s great news for car scratch repair.

Nail varnish comes in just about every colour you can imagine. For this DIY car scratch removal process, you’ll need to shop for a colour/s as near to your car’s paintwork as possible.

Nail varnish colours combine well, so you can always get two that mix to arrive at the ultimate match with your car. The best part is that you’ll have some new nail polish afterwards.

Here’s a list of materials you’re going to need:

  • Nail varnish colour selection
  • Clear nail lacquer
  • Nail varnish remover
  • A fine paintbrush, like this one
  • Surgical gloves (optional)
  • A small mixing container
  • 3 x microfiber cloths and soapy water (for washing/drying the area)

Start by thoroughly washing and drying the area to remove any excess dirt and grit. You want to work with a clean surface, and dirt can scratch your car more. You’ll be using one microfiber cloth for cleaning, one for drying and the third is used to smooth down the nail varnish layers after they dry.

Watch this video to see how it’s done:

Car scratch repair pen

If you consider scratch repair to be a sort of art project, it stands to reason that every artist has their preference. The next preferred option for DIYers is similar to the previous one, only it’s readymade for use on cars.

This method uses a readymade all in one touch up pen that comes with an abrasive tip to prep the area. It’s loaded with readymade paint to match your car colour and a clear seal for a final protective layer.

First, find out the colour code for your car’s paintwork so you can purchase the matching readymade colour pen. The colour code of the paintwork can be found in the door jam, boot, or under the hood.

Buy your repair pen to match your colour (or revert to the nail varnish method if they don’t have yours match). Watch this video to see how this pen works:

Car insurance for accidental damage

Professional scratch repair can cost in the region of $250 to $500 per panel. That means a scratch along the length of your car could end up costing $2,000, perhaps even more if you have premium paint or a specialised paint job. Happily, for those with comprehensive car insurance your plan helps you cover this if the scratch came from a claimable event.

That way you can use your toothbrush to brush your teeth and keep the nail varnish for a special night out!

Car scratch repair – over to you

Do you have any neat tricks for fixing scratches? Share them with us on our Facebook page.

Leave a Comment

How would you, like to proceed?

How would you, like to proceed?