Man looking at scratches in his car paint

How to Repair Minor Scratches On Your Car’s Paint to Make it Look Like New

It happens to everyone at some point in their lives. You get into your car and notice a nasty scratch in the paint.

You try to remember how it happened, but you can’t. Scratches happen in a lot of ways through no fault of our own. All kinds of things can happen in parking lots when you’re not around.

Don’t sweat it. There are ways to get rid of scratches so that no one will be able to tell they were ever there.

What we will discuss below is how to repair those minor scratches on your car’s paint so you can have it looking like new again in no time.

These treatments work really well for minor scratches. If you have areas where the paint has been removed, however, that’s more than a minor scratch. For something like that, you may have to get a touch-up paint job.

But for nearly all minor scratches, you’re in luck; the techniques below work wonders.

Supplies needed

3M Scratch Removal Kit

3M Scratch Removal Kit


  • Clear coat pen or clear coat and an application system
  • Superfine grit wet sanding pads
  • Polishing compound
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Car wax.

Step 1.

You need a clean, dry surface. You’ll need to clean the area where the scratch is and let it air dry. It must be completely dry before you move on to step 2.

Car owner repairing scratch in car paint using a touch-up pen

Step 2.

Get what’s called a clear coat pen. Any brand usually works just fine.

The clear coat pen will have a push tip to release the clear coat. On a clean piece of paper or cardboard prime the pen by touching it to the paper or cardboard to get the flow started.

Carefully trace the scratch lightly and fill it in with clear coat.

Step 3.

Let it dry. If it’s cold outside or if the scratch is really deep, you may want to wait overnight before you start the sanding process. If it’s a warm day and the scratch is light, you can wait 2 hours and you should be fine.

Step 4.

Before you walk away to let it dry, you may want to tape off the area because once you apply the clear coat it’s pretty hard to see the scratch. So, tape off a 2-3-inch area around the scratch with some automotive or non-stick painter’s tape.

Mechanic wet sanding a car paint scratch

Step 5.

When you buy the clear coat pen, you can buy a kit that will include wet sanding pads, lubrication, a polishing compound, and microfiber cloth.

Start with the pad they have that is closest to 3,000 grit, lubricate the area with the supplied lubricant, and sand the scratch until it’s invisible.

Then go to the next pad, which should be as close to 3,600 grit as possible. Sand until it starts to really shine. This should not take more than about a minute or so.

Lastly, use the pad closest to 4,000 grit, lubricate, and polish it for about a minute.

Wipe the area until it’s clean and dry.

Mechanic polishing car paint using a microfiber cloth

Step 6.

Put a small amount of polishing compound on your microfiber cloth and polish in the opposite direction that you were sanding. This will restore the paint’s luster.

Once it looks good, put a little polishing compound on your cloth and move in large circular motions around the area to blend it in.

Hand applying car wax

Step 7.

If you have waxed your car, the wax in this area has obviously been removed. So, re-wax this entire area and around where you have been polishing so that it blends in really well.

That’s it; you’re done. The scratch should be completely invisible.


Get the 3M Scratch Removal Kit to Remove Scratches without Paying Professional Repair Prices


About Chad Ina


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