How to Repair Car Scratches

by Jennifer Eblin

Even those people who go out of their way to protect their car can still end up with a few scratches on their vehicle. A curious animal, a driver who gets a little too close, or children playing near the car can all cause scratches. When your car becomes scratched you can either ignore it or repair it yourself. If you decide to repair it, you’ll find that it’s a pretty easy job.

Mix together a small amount of dish soap with warm water. Dip a soft cloth in the mixture and rub it on the car and around the scratch to thoroughly clean the area. You want to make sure you remove as much debris as possible to make your job a little easier.

Rub a small amount of shoe polish directly onto the scratch so you can see where the scratch marks are. Sand the top layer of paint off the car using a fine grade sandpaper. Rub directly against the scratch until you get down to the next layer of the car.

Dry the area with a fresh cloth, making sure to completely dry the area before you continue. Use rubbing compound to buff the area. Simply place the compound directly onto a dry cloth and rub it on the area, using a circular motion.

Remove any traces of the compound with another dry cloth. Wash the area with your warm, soapy water until you remove all traces of the compound. It can react negatively with the other products you need to put on your car.

Polish the area with car polish in a matching shade to the car and then buff the area dry. This is your chance to look over the vehicle and make sure you’ve gotten all of the scratches off. Then you’ll want to seal the car with car wax. This protects your car and keeps the scratch marks repaired.


  • check Make sure you have an actual scratch and not a scuff. Rubber, asphalt and other black substances will sometimes look like a scratch when it’s actually a scuff mark. If you have a scuff mark you can usually clean it with soap and water.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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