Got a Scratch? Fix It Yourself! DIY Car Paint Repair Tips

Getting a scratch on your car can be frustrating, especially if it’s a new car. But the good news is, most car scratches can be repaired with a little effort and the right tools. While it’s always best to have a professional handle major body repairs, minor scratches can often be fixed with a little DIY know-how. In this blog post, we’ll go over some DIY car paint repair tips to help you fix minor scratches yourself.

Assess the Damage

Assessing the damage is an important step before attempting to fix a scratch on your car’s paint. This involves determining the depth and size of the scratch. If the scratch is deep enough to expose the bare metal or if it’s larger than a quarter, it’s best to have a professional handle the repair. Attempting to fix a scratch that is too deep or large can lead to further damage and costly repairs. However, if the scratch is minor and only affects the clear coat or top layer of paint, it can often be fixed with a DIY repair. By assessing the damage, you can determine if the scratch is a good candidate for a DIY repair or if it’s best to have a professional handle the repair.

Types of Scratch

Before we dive into the tips, it’s important to understand the different types of scratches. Knowing the type of scratch can help you determine the best way to repair it.

  • Clear Coat Scratches: These are the most common types of scratches and are usually shallow. They only affect the clear coat layer of the paint, leaving the color coat layer untouched.
  • Primer Scratches: These scratches penetrate the clear coat and color coat layers and reach the primer layer.
  • Deep Scratches: These are the most severe type of scratches that penetrate all the layers of paint, exposing the metal underneath.

Gather Your Supplies for fix Scratch

To fix a minor scratch on your car’s paint, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. Here’s a closer look at each item you’ll need:

  • Touch-up Paint: Touch-up paint is a small bottle of paint that matches your car’s color. It’s used to fill in the scratch and cover up the exposed paint. But it’s important to choose touch-up paint that matches your car’s color exactly to ensure a seamless repair.

  • Clear Coat Spray: Clear coat spray is a clear, glossy protective coating that’s applied over the touch-up paint. It’s used to protect the touch-up paint and give it a shiny finish. Like touch-up paint, it’s important to choose a clear coat spray that matches your car’s original finish.

  • Sandpaper (5000-grit): Sandpaper is used to rough up the surface of the scratch to help the touch-up paint adhere. But it’s important to choose 2000-grit sandpaper to avoid damaging the surrounding paint.

  • Rubbing Alcohol: Rubbing alcohol is used to clean the area around the scratch before applying the touch-up paint. It removes any dirt or debris that could affect the adhesion of the touch-up paint.

  • Microfiber Towel: A microfiber towel is used to clean the area around the scratch with rubbing alcohol. But it’s important to use a microfiber towel to avoid scratching the surrounding paint.

  • Masking Tape:  Masking tape is used to mask off the area around the scratch to avoid getting touch-up paint on the surrounding paint. However this helps ensure a clean and professional-looking repair.

You can find touch-up paint and clear coat spray at most auto parts stores or online. When purchasing these items, be sure to choose the ones that match your car’s color and finish. It’s also important to choose high-quality products to ensure long-lasting and effective repair.

In addition to these supplies, you’ll also need a few tools, such as a brush to apply the touch-up paint and a well-ventilated area to work in. By gathering all of the necessary supplies and tools beforehand, you’ll be prepared to tackle the DIY car paint repair with confidence.

DIY Car Paint Repair Tips

Now that you have the necessary tools and materials, let’s get into the tips on how to repair scratches on your car:

1. Clean the Scratch

Before you begin repairing the scratch, make sure the affected area is clean. Use a microfiber towel and a mixture of soap and water to clean the area. 

2. Sand the Scratch

Using 3000-grit sandpaper, sand the scratch in a back-and-forth motion. This will help remove any loose paint and smooth out the edges of the scratch. Be gentle and don’t apply too much pressure as you could damage the surrounding paint.

3. Apply Rubbing Compound

After sanding the scratch, apply rubbing compound to the affected area. Rubbing compound helps remove any remaining paint and smooth out the area. However use a microfiber towel to apply the rubbing compound and rub in a circular motion.

4. Apply Touch-up Paint

Using the touch-up paint, apply a small amount to the scratch. Use a small brush to apply the paint and be careful not to apply too much. Let the paint dry for a few hours before moving on to the next step.

5. Sand and Polish the Area

Using 5000-grit sandpaper, sand the area where you applied the touch-up paint. However after sanding, use a microfiber towel and car wax to polish the area. This will help blend the touch-up paint with the surrounding paint and make it less noticeable.

6. Apply a Clear Coat (Optional)

If the scratch was deep and reached the clear coat layer, however  you may need to apply a clear coat spray paint to protect the touch-up paint. Apply the clear coat in thin, even coats and let it dry completely before applying the next coat.

7. Remove Painter’s Tape

After you’ve finished repairing the scratch, remove the painter’s tape. This will help prevent any damage to the surrounding paint.


Fixing scratches on your car doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming task. However with the right tools and a little effort, you can fix most scratches yourself. Remember to always be gentle and take your time. If you’re not confident in.

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