The Four Different Types of Car Paint Scratches

Something scratched your baby. It could’ve been a grocery cart or tree branch. It doesn’t matter what caused the scratch; the issue is that you have a car body scratch. Can it be buffed out? Do you need a spot paint job? The answers to these questions depend on the depth of the scratch. Let’s talk more about this below and the different types of scratches on car paint.

Scratched Clear Coat

Thankfully, a scratch on the car paint is usually just a scratch to the clear coat over the paint. This is easy to fix, as the scratch can usually be buffed out. The clear coat is the top layer of your car’s paint job, so it can easily get scratched. In fact, washing your car can scratch the clear coat if you don’t wash it properly. The dirt that you washed off your car can also scratch the clear coat.

Scratched Paint

A deeper scratch will penetrate the clear coat and scratch the paint. Unfortunately, you cannot buff a paint scratch out because the paint itself is damaged. Paint scratches can be caused by tree branches, guard rails, and even a malicious ex who decides to key your car. You will need to take your vehicle to a collision center to have the paint scratch buffed and repainted to repair it.

Scratched Primer

Underneath your car’s paint and clear topcoat is primer. You definitely cannot fix a primer scratch on your own because the scratch is now three layers deep. In fact, you may also have a slight dent in the automobile’s body if the contact with the body was strong enough to scratch the paint down to the primer. To repair this scratch, the primer damage must be filled and the scratch sanded and repainted.

Scratched Bare Metal

Finally, the worst scratch is a scratch that goes through the primer and scratches your vehicle’s body metal. This is usually caused by an accident or serious tree or key damage. If left unrepaired, the metal will start to oxidize and rust, which can look unsightly. Unfortunately, there is no DIY fix for scratched body metal. Take your vehicle to an auto body shop to have the scratch repaired professionally.

In fact, you may want to have any scratch to your car, truck, or SUV’s body repaired professionally for optimal results. This ensures that the scratch is removed and the paint looks brand new.

Photo by Mathisa_s from Getty Images via Canva Pro