Understanding Scratch Repair
WHAT IS A SCRATCH?
In order to understand scratch repair, one must understand the nature of a scratch itself. Scratches come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but in theory, a scratch is nothing more than some type of abrasion in the paint. Scratches come in two categories: surface scratches, and deep scratches. To help you visualize this I have attached a simple graph below:
Scratches that are relatively the easiest to fix are something called surface scratches. This means that the scratches are above the clear coat, and therefore can be removed pretty easily through some regular polishing. This process delicately sands the clear coat down past the scratch but before the paint base coat, giving you a level scratch-free surface.
In order to fix a deep scratch, it will require wet sanding at some level, and then a polish to follow. This is because the scratch itself is through the clear coat, therefore in order to fix it, the clear coat must be sanded down to the level of the scratches depth, which will remove the scratch, then polish will bring that part of the paint back to a glossy finish. For information about wet sanding view our page on Wet Sanding .
CAR PAINT SCRATCH REPAIR
Scratch repair is never as simple as we would like it to be. It is important to understand that not all scratches can be fixed 100%. For example, if a scratch has cut through the clear coat and into the paint, no amount of wet sanding or polishing will bring it to perfection, however if it cannot be fixed, it can be improved. This is something I tell all of my customers before I ever start the scratch repair process. I cannot promise it will be restored to perfection, but I can promise that from normal viewing distances, you will never be able to tell a scratch was ever there. It is also important to understand that a car only has so much clear coat, so at some level, most customers will have to accept that there will be a certain amount of scratching or defects on their car if they are a daily driver. As a rule, I will only wet sand a certain amount of the clear coat before I stop, because the clear coat protects the paint from the sun, I do not want to take a large measure of it off.