How To Tell If A Car Scratch Is Fresh

It’s a Monday morning, you walk out of your house, ready to get in your car and drive to work when in an instance you notice a trifling yet ruffling mark etched across one of your door panels. You begin to wonder, when did this happen, how did it happen?, how do I know if this scratch on my car is new? Then after some confused mumbling with not much thought given to this mystery, you end up concluding – oh it must’ve always been this way.

To find if the scratch is new or not one can usually check by touching it- A fresh car scratch generally has a sharp feel to it with a perfectly linear shape. Conversely, an old scratch will have a blunt and somewhat rough feel to it due to the dirt it would have accumulated. It will also have spread a bit in a rectilinear manner but with no element jutting out.

On the other hand, a fresh scratch that you think you have sustained from a rub against another object presumably a car can be determined through checking paint marks on the corner of the scratch mark.
The scratch will generally be in the form of an abrasion carrying colors from the thing that scratched it, if the object had been rusted you might also find a brown flaky residue of the same.

These quick tips can help you easily check for when and how you might have sustained those scratches but how do you determine the severity of the scratches. Here’s where it gets a little complexed. No need to worry, with the following car paints classification you will be able to ascertain the type of scratches along with the ones you yourself can deal with-

Types Of Car Paint Scratches

There 5 layers to the body of a car- wax-clearcoat-basecoat-primer-metal. Paint Scratches are classified based on the severity of the scrape. There are three main types of paint scratches on a car- clear coat scratches, primer scratches, and paint scratches.

Clear Coat Scratch

The very first layer on the paint of your car is the clear coat protecting the shine and glow of your car from the sun, rain, and dust. Clearcoat scratches are slight nicks on the outermost layer of your car’s paint. You can check if the scratch is really limited to the outside by running your fingernails on the surface. If you do not feel any indentation on your fingertips but the nails are able to obstruct the slide, you could confirm the clear coat scratch. Scratches of this nature are for the most part a DIY task to remove as their severity exists only on the outermost layer of the paint.

Primer Scratch

The next layer in the body of your paint is the primer. Primer is a bonding agent that enables a connection between the underlayer of the body and the paint to be applied to it. It is needed to keep the paint strong and sits well on the surface below it. To check if the scratch your car has endured has cut through the clear coat layer into the primer you need to look closely for paint damage. If you notice clear scraping off the paint with the unevenness of the surface, it is unfortunately a primer scratch. This sort of paint damage requires the full restoration of the panel and is more expertise-oriented than effort. So be sure to get the right denting and painting service for you that not only has the necessary tools but carries years of experience in performing the restoration.

Paint Scratch


The bottom-most layer of the paint is what protects the metal body of the car from corrosion and other wear. When a scratch is so severely deep that the metal sheet under the layers becomes visible, it means it is a paint or deep scratch. This type of scratch involves detailed steps to correct and takes a huge amount of labor work and time. A paint scratch that chips the metal is either brought by a serious accident or an act of vandalism. If your car has recently been in an accident or endured a hit from an edged object like a stone, you could be looking at a primer scratch. Sliding of keys around the car can also do the job which could possibly be done by a kid. It is a kind of deep scratch that may not be fixable by some DIY tools and rubbing compounds. For such a mishap, we recommend a full denting painting restoration of the damaged panel.

How to Remove Clear Coat Scratches at home?

Though scratches are usually hard to fix, with some even requiring specialized equipment to return a clean new look. If you have a scratch on the coat of the surface, then the process of removal can be as simple as can be. Follow along our simple 5 step procedure to get rid of clear coat scratches-

  1. Cleaning — The first and foremost step in scratch removal is always preparation as you would want any dirt or dust coming in your way to restoring the shine. Wipe the area thoroughly and make sure no dirt sits along that scrape.
  2. Sanding— Sand the area using an abrasive pad until the scratch is completely gone.
  3. Refining— Next, use a rubbing compound preferably 3M’s rubbing and buffing kit to refine the scratch and make it completely disappear.
  4. Polishing— This is the final step in restoring the old shine. Take a quarter-sized of 3M’s scratch remover on a pad and polish the area till it reflects your face like a mirror.
  5. Protection— Further, finish off with wax- the outermost layer to protect the paint from environmental factors.

If you get a slight scuff of the surface, it’s not always that bad of a thing as fixing clear coat scratches is well within your grasp. So, next time you find an unfamiliar scar sitting on the hood of your car, take matters into your own hand before driving into an expensive car restoration shop. Though if you’re dealing with a much more severe scratch, one from an unfortunate incident, it would be a good idea to take your car to experts in automotive painting.

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Team VC Digital | Automotive Enthusiast |

Dorson Joseph

Team VC Digital | Automotive Enthusiast |

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