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How to Remove Scratches From a Car

Getting a scratch on your car is annoying and it can make your car look less attractive. Many people pride themselves on how gorgeous their cars are, so naturally, for these people, scratches are something that is very undesirable.

If you fall into the category of people who want their cars to look as attractive as possible, then you are going to need to know how to get rid of scratches.

Luckily, there is a simple and easy way to get rid of scratches on your car.

However, before we dive into that, you need to know what causes scratches on cars. That way, you can try to prevent your car from being scratched in the future.

Sources of Car Scratches


There are multiple ways that keys can cause scratches. First, you can accidentally scratch your car doors when you are trying to put the key into the keyhole to unlock the door.

Second, someone may intentionally scratch your car with their keys.

This could be a malicious stranger a girlfriend who is mad at you for some reason, a child who doesn’t realize what they are doing, etc. There are many people who may cause key scratches to a car.

Random Objects in Your Garage

This is another major source of car scratches.

Oftentimes, people back their car out of their garages without checking to make sure that there is nothing obstructing their path out of the garage.

However, garages tend to have random objects in them, such as ski poles, skis, tennis rackets, sleds, sledgehammers, baseball bats, etc.

If any of these objects are not put away correctly or happen to come loose from the area where they are normally kept, then they can stick out and create scratches on the car.

This is one of the most common ways that cars get scratched.


Cars are often parked in driveways, where children like to ride their bikes, scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades.

Children are not exactly known for their ability to be responsible and protective of objects like cars.

So, oftentimes, children create scratches on cars when they crash into them when they are riding their bikes, scooters, etc.

Clunky Purses

Women often carry around large, clunky purses that have metal chains or buttons on them.

When they set their purses down on the hood of their cars, it can cause significant scratches.

So, if you are a woman, and if you have a scratch on your car and you are not sure where it came from, it could be from your own purse.

Sports Equipment

Just like purses can cause scratches on cars when they are put down with too much force, so too can sports equipment.

Large hockey bags, lacrosse sticks, baseball helmets, etc. are all strong enough to cause scratches on cars.

Many people frequently takes these things in their cars and they are often in a rushing around to practice and not being that careful when they take these items in and out of their vehicles.

As a result, many people accidentally scratch their cars with these items.

Bad Parking Jobs

Bad parking jobs cause a lot of scratches. Bad parking jobs involve people rubbing up against other cars, metal poles at gas stations, curbs, barriers, or a large number of other objects.

If you have ever done a bad parking job in your life, then you know exactly how easy it can be to get a scratch on your car by hitting some other obstacle.Leaning Against Your Vehicle

Leaning Against Your Vehicle

When people lean against vehicles, they often end up scratching them by accidentally applying pressure on a button or zipper and then moving sideways.

If you frequently have people leaning against your vehicle, then there is a very good chance that you could create scratches to that vehicle.

How to Remove the Scratches

Now that you know what causes the majority of car scratches, here is a guide on how to remove them.

If you follow this guide, then you can get your car looking as good as new in no time.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Scratch

The very first thing that you need to do when you are trying to fix a scratch on your car is to evaluate the scratch. The reason is because depending on how many layers of paint the scratch went through, the fix will be different.

To check how deep your scratch is, spray some water on the scratch with some wet soapy water.

If the scratch temporarily disappears, then this means that it is only a scratch on the top/clear coat of paint.

If the scratch does not disappear, then it means that the issue is more serious and will require a different remedy.

Step 2: Get the Dirt and Debris Out of the Scratch

If your scratch is a just a top coat scratch, then you want to start out by getting the dirt and debris out of the scratch.

You can do this by rubbing a microfiber cloth over the scratch after you have sprayed it with soapy water.

It is important to make sure that the dirt and debris is out because otherwise, it will be harder to fix the scratch.

Step 3: Put Masking Tape Lines on Either Side of the Scratch

The purpose of doing this is to make it easy for you to identify where the scratch is.

It will get harder to know where it is once you move onto the other steps. You won’t be able to fully remove the scratch if you don’t know where it is.


Step 4: Sand the Scratch Down

If the scratch is on the deeper side, then you should start with a 3000 grit piece of sandpaper.

However, if it is not very deep, then you can start with a 5000 grit piece of sandpaper.

Whichever piece you start with, you want to make sure that you sand in a perpendicular direction to the scratch.

So, if the scratch goes from left to right, then sand up and down. If the scratch goes from top to bottom, then go left to right.

If you want to get the most even surface possible, then wrap your sandpaper around a sponge before you start sanding. Using a sponge will apply the pressure much more evenly than just using your fingers will.

You want to apply a medium amount of pressure when you are sanding; not too hard and not too soft.

Continue sanding the scratch until it is almost gone. You should apply soapy water to the scratch periodically while you are sanding. This will help to remove the debris as you sand the top coat down.

Every once in a while, take your microfiber cloth and dry the area to see how progress is coming along.

Step 5: Apply Polish

After you are done sanding your car, the scratch should be completely gone. However, there will be a spot on the car that looks like a smudge.

To get the smudge spot to look like the rest of your car, you will need to apply polish. You can pick up polish at any of your local auto supply stores.

Before you apply the polish, you should again spray down the area with soapy water and wipe it with the microfiber cloth.

After that, put the polish on your microfiber cloth and start applying it to the area where the scratch was.

When you are doing this, you will need to apply more pressure than you did with the sandpaper.

You should also use circular motions instead of an up and down or side to side motion.

It will take several coats of polish to make the smudge spot look just like the surrounding areas of the car.

Once you have applied several coats, then you should take a dry part of the microfiber cloth and rub the polish off of the car.

After you do this, the surface should look perfectly normal and blended with the surrounding surface.

There should be no scratch visible, and it should look as though there never was a scratch.

Step 6: Apply a Paste Wax

The reason why applying a paste wax is necessary is because the paste wax will protect the area and will even everything out.

To apply the paste wax, you literally just wax it on, just like in the Karate Kid. Then you give it a minute to dry and work into the car. After that, you wax it off.

The area that you worked on should look extremely clean and brand new when you are done. The scratch should be completely disappeared.

A Great Hack for Deep Scratches

When deep scratches occur on your vehicle, then the above technique will not fully work. For deep scratches, you will need to apply some paint because deep scratches penetrate the color coat area.

However, instead of fretting about having to go and track down the original color that your car manufacturer used on your vehicle, there is a great hack that you can use: nail polish.

Cosmetic stores tend to have extremely large selections of nail polish colors.

So, to fix your deep scratch, you can find the color of nail polish in the store that is most similar to the color of your car.

You can mix in a tiny bit of white or black nail polish if you want to make the color a tiny bit lighter or darker.

Once you get the nail polish color as close to perfect as possible, then you should apply it directly into the scratch.

It will most likely take several coats. So, wait for it to dry after you apply the first coat. Then apply another coat.

After you apply several coats of nail polish to the vehicle, then the scratch should be gone. However, you will need to apply a clear coat on top of the nail polish to protect the color from disappearing over time.

You can either apply a clear coat nail polish, a normal clear coat of paint, or traditional polish like with the method above.

Any of these three methods should work very well. The end result should be that the scratch is now completely gone and your car looks like it did before the scratch appeared, or at least, extremely close to how it looked.


Preventing Car Scratches

The best way to deal with car scratches is to not have to deal with them at all. So, the more that you know about preventing car scratches the better.

Luckily, there are many things that you can do to prevent car scratches. Here are some great tips for preventing car scratches.

Never Lean Against Your Vehicle

Leaning against your vehicle is like asking for it to be scratched. Clothes just have too many buttons and zippers for this activity to be safe.

If you don’t want to deal with scratches on your car, then just don’t lean against it.

Always Check Before You Back Out of Your Garage

It literally takes two seconds to look around your garage to make sure that nothing is blocking your path out of the garage.

So, there is really no excuse not to do it. If you do this regularly, then it will dramatically reduce the chances of your vehicle being scratched.

Park Your Car Away From Where Your Children Play

Sometimes this isn’t possible, for example, if your driveway is small. However, if it is possible, then you definitely do not want to park your car where your children are.

It’s just common sense, if you park your car where your children are riding their bikes, playing basketball, playing tag, etc., they are going to to be more likely to scratch your car.

So, just avoid this risk by parking your car away from their play area if it’s possible.


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