How To Judge If An Auto Body Scratch Is Repairable At Home

Walking back to your car in the parking lot of your local supermarket only to find a scratch in your car can be extremely frustrating, especially if your car is relatively new. While dealing with an auto body scratch can be daunting, it may not be as hard or as expensive to fix as you might think. In fact, some auto body scratches can be repaired by you at your home. Below will be all of the basic information you need to judge whether you can fix the scratch on your own.

The Severity of the Scratch

Not every auto body scratch is created equally. Some are small, shallow, and easily repairable while others are deep and will require the skilled hand of a professional auto body repairman. To understand how severe the scratch in your vehicle's exterior is, it is important to understand how your vehicle is painted and what layers a scratch could cut through. Here are the 4 layers of your vehicle's exterior:

1. Metal

This layer consists of the metal body of your vehicle. Scratches that penetrate the metal layer are the most severe, and you will be able to see metal in the basin of the scratch. This type of scratch needs to be repaired by an auto body repairman. 

2. Primer

This is the first layer of paint sprayed on your vehicle, and is abrasive so that the colored paint can stick to your vehicle. If you can see that your colored paint has been removed, but do not see metal, then the scratch went as far as your primer. This will also require a professional to repair. 

3. Colored Paint

After the primer is sprayed on your car, the colored paint is then applied. If your scratch seems to cut into your paint, then you'll want to have a professional repair this as well. They will need to match the color of your car with new paint, and then apply a clear coat on top. 

4. Clear Coat

To protect your car's exterior, a clear coat is applied. Scratches that only cut through a portion of your clear coat are often thin and white. These can be easy to repair on your own, and can be buffed out with a polishing compound. Some auto parts stores carry polishing compound, and will come with a tool to help you buff out your car's scratch. 

No auto body scratch is good, but hopefully yours wasn't too deep. If it did penetrate past the clear coat, then be sure to take it to an auto body repair specialist—such as Windy's Collision Center—so that your car can look new once again.