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How to Remove Deep Scratches from Your Car

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Every car will incur dings and light scratches at some point. You take this risk every time you park in a parking lot! But if you’re one of the unlucky car owners who’s discovered a deep scratch, don’t worry just yet. Deep scratches in your car are a source of frustration and stress, especially when you consider the cost of a repair job. But the good news is you can easily remove deep scratches from your car right at home with just a few supplies from your automotive store. In this article we’ll talk about how to remove deep scratches from your car yourself—no professionals needed!

Why Should You Buff Out Those Deep Scratches?

Three layers make up your car’s exterior: the body, the base paint, and the top or clear coat. When your car gets scratched, grime can penetrate the paint and, in some cases, cause serious damage.

In the case of deep scratches, the scratch penetrates the topcoat through to the base paint layer and, in some cases, the metal body of your car. If your car’s bare metal is exposed, rust can develop quickly—usually in a day or two. Once rust forms, you’ll need professional help to stop the rust from spreading. By then, you have more than just an aesthetic issue on your hands. If not addressed, rust will eat away at your car (and its value!)

However, if your car has a deep scratch that isn’t exposing metal but has only penetrated the base paint layer, you can easily remedy the issue yourself.

Five Steps to Removing Deep Scratches from Your Car

Tackling these deeper scratches takes a little effort, but if you’re willing to put in the time and energy, you can save yourself a trip to the body shop and buff out the scratches right at home. In five simple steps, you can remove deep scratches from your car, preserving its value and restoring its beauty.

1. Wash and Dry

Before you begin deep scratch repairs on your vehicle, you want to thoroughly wash and dry the affected area. Leaving dirt or grime on your car increases the chances that you’ll further scratch or damage the paint job. Plus, having a clean workspace ensures you’re taking care of all the scratches and aren’t missing anything. Don’t skip this step; you’ll thank us.

2. Buff It Out

The simplest way to execute this step is by purchasing a car scratch repair kit. These typically come with a polishing compound and buffing pads. Simply pour the compound onto a microfiber towel or buffing pad and rub the scratch with the polish, working in small, tight circles. Between the compound and the pad, a sanding effect takes place, and you’ll smooth out the rough edges of your car’s deep scratch.

After you’ve buffed the edges away, wipe the surface clean with a clean microfiber cloth. If you’ve still got rough or raised edges surrounding the scratch, repeat this process until everything is smooth.

3. Fill Deep Cracks

Most of your deep scratches will need a filler like a glazing putty to create an even surface. Before filling the cracks with putty, wipe the area clean with rubbing alcohol. This removes any residual grime that you might have missed and allows the putty to stay in place.

Now that your car is free of wax or dirt or leftover polishing compound, squeeze a small amount of glazing putty into or onto the scratch. Using a spreader tool or hand squeegee, apply even pressure to spread the putty uniformly across the scratch. The putty will cure in just a few minutes, filling your scratch and solidifying quickly.

At this point, apply a paint leveler to a microfiber cloth and rub it over the newly filled scratch. The paint leveler will remove any putty that clumped or accidentally adhered to spots other than the repaired scratch.

4. Apply Touch Up Paint to Repaired Areas

Using your car’s color code found on the inside of the door, purchase matching touch up paint to apply over your repairs. Your touch up paint comes with instructions for proper application. Simply apply a small amount of paint using a the applicator that comes with the touch up paint kit. Cover the scratch and fill in any small gouges, being careful to cover any small holes or divots you might have left in the glaze putty.

Once you’ve covered the entire repair in touch up paint, allow it to cure for at least eight hours. An overnight cure provides the best results, so we encourage you to give your car at least that long before taking it out or exposing it to the elements.

5. Buff Out to Finish

After the touch up paint has cured, buff the repair. At this point, your car’s surface should be smooth, the paint should match, and you shouldn’t even notice there was ever a scratch. Finish the process with a total wash and wax of your car, and it’ll look good as new!


Deep scratches might feel like a nightmare. But if you use the right method and take your time, you can fix most deep car scratches right in your own garage. We hope our guide has been helpful to you. Now that you know you can remove scratches from your car, you can save a trip to the body shop—and the bills that come with it!

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