How to Remove Scratches in your Car’s Paint

One of the most common questions The Toy Wash is asked is if we can remove scratches from a vehicle’s paint. The answer to this question is sometimes, and it depends on the depth of the scratch.

Vehicles have 3 main layers of paint:

1)      The ClearCoat – this protects the color layer of paint and provides the shine, depth an UV protection for your paint’s color. Most vehicles have several layers of clearcoat, although the thickness of the clearcoat may vary greatly depending on the manufacturer.

2)      The Color Layer – this is the color that you see on the vehicle, and it’s generally what is missing when a scratch is very noticeable.

3)      The Primer – this is a layer of paint which is applied to your vehicle’s surface before it is painted with the color layer of paint, in order to provide the best surface for adhesion of the color layer. Most primers on vehicles are gray or white in color.

The general rule of thumb for scratch repair is that if you run your fingernail over a scratch, if you can physically feel the scratch, it is below the clear coat and into the color layer or primer layer. If you can physically see white or gray in the scratch, this is also an indication that the scratch is below the clear coat and color layer, and could either be at the primer layer, or possibly even the bare surface of your vehicle (which will need  to be protected to prevent rust!).

If the scratch has not made it through the clearcoat, The Toy Wash can repair the scratch through a service called machine polishing. Polishing involves using an abrasive compound which levels the vehicle’s clearcoat very slightly around the scratch, making the surface even once again and therefore eliminating the scratch. This is the same process which is used for swirl mark removal, since swirl marks are actually millions of tiny scratches in the clear coat layer of your vehicle’s paint.

While you may have seen scratch repair kits sold in auto part stores, we strongly caution you to use one, many of our customers have tried these before bringing their vehicle to us, and had in fact made the damage significantly worse. When it comes to resurfacing/refinishing something as delicate as your vehicle’s paint, it’s always best to leave the service to professionals who have experience, and the right tools and products available to ensure that your vehicle is not damaged during the scratch removal process.