Understanding Car Scratches: Types & Remedies

Understanding car scratches: Types and Remedies

Having a shiny and good-looking car is the basic dream of every car owner. In order to maintain its original look, drivers apply multiple tactics in their driving and car keeping. However, getting scratches on them is still possible.

Scratches are most common on the car body to appear irrespective of how much care car owners take to avoid them. They can be caused because of a minor issue like improper washing or can be the witness of an accident.

There are multiple methods one can deal with scratches on the car body. But before that, it is essential to learn about the types of scratches to identify the scratches present on the car’s body. And over that one should understand the difference between a scuff and a scratch.

Well, scuff is just a residual paint left by the opponent object with which the car body was in contact. It is very easy to remove the scuff, one just needs to get the buffing done and the paint will be removed restoring its original finish.

However, scratch is the actual damage of the paint or its surrounding layers. The factory-finished vehicles are presented with three coatings named primer, a base semi-gloss color coat, and a clear coat of lacquer.

By knowing the severity of a scratch, one can determine the methods to opt for. And to know the severity, learning the scratch is important. By determining the depth of a scratch in the paint, one can determine which type of scratch it is.

Some of the most common types of scratches one can notice are:

Clear Coat Scratches

Clear coat scratches are sometimes also referred to as marks, are the most superficial scratches that can occur on the car body with no penetration to the car paint layer. They just affect the outermost layer of car paint with no further damage to the paint. They can be the result of multiple causes involving similar effects such as road debris hitting the car body while driving or the opening of the car door with a key in hand that touches the door causing a scratch.

How to Identify Them:

The simplest way to identify them is to run the hand over them. If you can see them but are unable to feel them then they are the clear coat scratches.


They can be fixed by the reapplication of the clear coat compound over them. One can also try the application of wax over them and then buff that part.

Paint Scratches

These are also referred to as base coat scratches. These extend to the enamel layer of paint. They have reached the paint but had not been through the paint. They are quite easy to prepare but require additional effort than the previous type. The basic reason behind them can be similar to the previous type like hitting a metal pole or key scrubbing against the car surface with enough force to reach the base coat layer of paint.

How to Identify Them:

To identify them, one needs to run their hand on the scratch in order to feel the scratch. If you can feel the scratch and on closer inspection only the color of your car is exposed with no metal visible then majorly it is a paint scratch.


The best way to deal with them is by the use of car scratch repair kits. There are multiple kits available in the market. Or one can also take the help of a professional to get the work done nicely.

Deep Scratches

Deep Scratches are also referred to as Primer scratches. Primer is the first layer of the painting process applied directly to the metal. These scratches extend through the paint sometimes also damaging the metal of your car. They can be the result of any collision or accident with great damages in view. Leaving the deep scratches unfixed for a long time can cause the rusting of metal because of the damage caused to the protective layer. 

How to Identify Them:

On closer inspection, if the metal of the car is visible through the scratch then it is a deep scratch.


Deep scratches majorly require professional attention and are not easily removed. If there are many deep scratches then getting the vehicle repaint or visiting a detailing center is preferred.

What Is the Need of Treating the Scratches?

Scratches might be the common annoying presence on the car body with a tempting urge to get rid of them. There are basic reasons to get rid of them such as:

  • Scratches degrade the overall presentation of a car.
  • They have a negative impact on its resale value.
  • It can create a false impact on the customers if the vehicle is used for business purposes.
  • Car scratches can be the first step to car corrosion if left untreated. They allow the different materials to get in contact with metal getting it rusty.
  • Dust and debris tend to get accumulated in the scratches causing the surrounding area to look dull and dusty.


Car scratches are a common issue that can degrade the overall appearance of a vehicle and affect its resale value. It is important to identify the type and severity of the scratches in order to determine the appropriate remedy. Clear coat scratches are superficial and only affect the outermost layer of paint, while paint scratches extend to the enamel layer. Deep scratches, also known as primer scratches, penetrate through the paint and may even damage the metal. Remedies range from applying clear coat compound or wax for clear coat scratches, using car scratch repair kits for paint scratches, to seeking professional attention for deep scratches. Treating scratches is crucial to maintain the car’s visual appeal, and resale value, and prevent further damage such as corrosion.


Can scratches be removed from the car?

Yes, scratches can be removed from a car through various methods such as buffing, polishing, touch-up paint, or professional detailing services. The effectiveness of the scratch removal depends on the severity and depth of the scratch.

Can toothpaste remove car scratches?

Toothpaste is sometimes suggested as a DIY remedy for removing car scratches due to its abrasive properties. While toothpaste might be able to reduce the appearance of very light surface scratches, it is unlikely to effectively remove deeper or more severe scratches. Additionally, toothpaste can potentially damage the car’s clear coat or paint if not used properly. It is generally recommended to use dedicated car scratch removal products or seek professional assistance for more significant scratches.

Do car scratches get worse over time?

Yes, car scratches can potentially worsen over time if left untreated, due to exposure to the elements, vibrations, and lack of protection.

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