Different Types Of Car Scratches and How to Fix Them

In this article, we will be discussing the different types of car scratches that damage your car paint. These scratches come in many shapes and sizes, but they are not all created equal. You can remove some scratches with a simple polish, while others require some serious mechanical work to fix them.

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There are three primary types of car scratches: clear coat scratches, primer scratches, and paint scratches. Let’s begin with the clear coat scratch.

Clear Coat Scratch

Clearcoat scratches can be difficult to identify at first glance. The easiest way to find them is by looking for fine hairline scratches. A clear coat scratch is the most common type of car scratch available and it’s also the most superficial type of scratch. 

You can find these scratches on new cars that haven’t had a chance to wear down yet. Clearcoat scratches require very little work to fix; You can always remove them using a simple polish and a combination of elbow grease and patience.

Common causes of clear coat scratch

The most common cause of a clear coat scratch is rubbing against your car during everyday use. Clearcoat scratches can occur if you lightly bump into something, such as a wall or pole, with your car door. Washing the car using an abrasive sponge can also cause a clear coat scratch.

They are also common on the hood and trunk from sliding objects back there like golf bags and extra pieces of luggage. If you open the door with your keys, you may also cause a clear coat scratch. Pay attention to bird poop, acid rain, and road debris can also cause clear coat damage if not cleaned properly.

How to fix clear coat scratches

Clearcoat scratches are one of the simplest types of car scratches that you can fix easily. You will need a good polish or scratch remover product that suits the color and type of paint.

After reading many auto forums, we found that you can achieve the best results when you apply two to three thin layers of polish. And allowing each layer to dry before applying the next one. This technique will allow time for any haze on the surface of your paint to dissipate. And finally, create a smooth finish upon its completion.

After polishing your scratches out with these methods, use a high-quality car wax afterward to lock in the shine and polish away any water spots or other imperfections caused by improper washing or drying. The last step is simply to buff the wax into the paint and allow it to dry before storing your vehicle.

How much does it cost to fix a clear coat scratch?

Related: Best Car Polisher For Beginners in 2021

Paint Scratch

Among the three types of car scratches, a paint scratch is a tad more serious than a clearcoat scratch; Someone who has experience in bodywork or painting can repair this type of damage. Paint scratches reached the paint next to the clear coat.

As time goes by with exposure to UV light and other environmental elements, the paint on cars begins to wear down until only the primer remains. This makes an excellent area for dirt and other debris to accumulate, which in turn creates an easy pathway to scratch your car.

Common causes of paint layer scratch

Again improper washing using abrasive sponges is the most common cause of paint scratches. These scratches are caused by moderate-heavy contact with hard objects, which scrape the clear coat and paint off in one swipe.

For instance, you’ve hit a loose rock while driving down the road. The heavy contact of your car with this rock has caused a paint scratch, which begins to eat away at the base layer of your vehicle’s finish.

Another example is when you leave your car in open parking. It’s not only vulnerable to sun damage, but to malicious people who may be looking to cause damage to your car. Keying is associated with this type of paint scratch, as the culprits will use sharp objects to make deliberate marks on your car. Fortunately, many people who keyed a car are caught by law enforcement in California every day.

How to fix a paint coat scratch

Unlike clear coat scratches, which any car enthusiast can fix with the right tools and a little bit of know-how (refer to the section above), paint scratches should only be attempted by professionals. The reason for this is that paint scratches tend to get much deeper than clear coat scratches do, rapidly increasing the cost of repairing them.

Alternatively, you can use a car paint filling compound or touch-up paint to fix a paint scratch on your car. These products are good for small scratches, but you can’t use them to repair deep scuffs or gashes.

How much does it cost to fix a paint scratch?

The price of repairing any scratch depends on the level of damage and if you have insurance or not. The best way is to take your car to a professional shop and ask for an estimate.

Primer Scratch

A primer scratch is the deepest type of car scratch. It is also the most difficult to repair. This type of scratch is caused by hard objects and will not only eat away at the paint but also a portion of the car’s primer as well.

Primer scratches expose the bare metal of the car, which rusts easily when exposed to moisture. This makes it necessary to deal with primer damage as soon as possible.

Common causes of primer scratch

As mentioned above, a primer scratch can happen when you’re driving on rough roads and rock chips your car’s surface. But it can also result from a dog or other pet running against your car. The angle of impact, the weight of whatever is hitting your vehicle, and many other factors will determine how deep the scratch goes.

Accidents and collisions are the most common causes of primer scratches. For example, if you were hit by a drunk driver who sped off without leaving any contact information, your car would likely sustain considerable damage from both the collision and his/ her reckless driving. The intense force behind these types of impacts will scrape the paint away in addition to portions of the car’s primer.

How to fix a primer scratch

Like paint scratches, primer damage requires professional attention. If you attempt to fix it yourself, you will likely worsen the problem in the process. But if you have experience in car paint repair, it’s certainly a do-it-yourself project that you can undertake.

Make sure to wash and dry your car thoroughly before you begin the repair process. Water can interfere with the paint. Also, use a suitable primer to cover up exposed parts of the metal, such as when you’re touching up exposed parts of a car’s chassis.

First, you will need to sand the car’s paint down to a level equal to or lower than the scratch. Then you will need to apply a primer on top of the affected area. When this is complete, you can apply a new coat of paint. Finally, you’ll need to apply a clear coat over your repairs. So they don’t become more obvious when your vehicle is exposed to sunlight and other elements.

Related: How to Remove Swirl Marks from Black Paint

How much does it cost to fix a primer scratch?

The price of repairing primer damage depends largely on the size and duration of the scratches. However, the repair process is quite similar to that of paint scratch: you’ll have to fill in exposed metal with a suitable primer then cover it with new paint.

These scratches can cost between $500- $1000 per scratch. The price varies depending on paint depth, the car’s make and model, and the location of the scratch.

If you want to DIY here are some products that you may need to invest in.


To avoid having to deal with any of these types of scratches, it’s always a good idea to wash and dry your car properly. We recommend using a microfiber towel instead of paper towels whenever possible. Also, watch out for rocks, sticks, and other objects on the road whenever you’re driving.

Unless you know how to do it properly, you should never sand your vehicle while doing any DIY projects or while repainting; this will cause the lower layers of paint on your car to become damaged over time.

With car insurance, however, the process of repairing different types of car scratches can be much simpler: all you have to do is file a claim with your insurer and then take the car to a professional auto repair shop so they can assess and fix the damage at no cost.

After reading this article, we hope that you have gained further knowledge in how to repair and prevent various scratch stains on your vehicle. If so, leave us some feedback below in the comment section!

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