Different Types of Car Scratches: Most 3 Common Ones

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Last Updated on 10 months by Ollie Barker

Different Types of Car Scratches

Scratches on cars are quite common and practically hard to completely avoid. Your car certainly has a few scratches, but they aren’t all the same because there are various different sorts of scratches. So, what are the different types of car scratches?

These various sorts of scratches have distinct effects on the paint and necessitate different techniques of repair.  While some scratches can be repaired in minutes with a single substance, others may take much longer and require more complicated techniques.

3 Different types of car scratches

1. Scratches on the Clear Coat

As this form of automobile scratch does not penetrate the color (or base coat) layer, no actual color is removed. Instead, it reflects light unevenly off the surface, becoming visible as a result.

These might be minor or deep scratches due to the depth of the clear coat. Both require different supplies and procedures to repair, but they are both doable at home.

Because the clear coat is the outer covering of your automobile’s paint, these are the most prevalent sort of car scratches.

They can be caused by a variety of factors, including incorrect washing, contact with the vehicle, or gripping a door handle while holding your keys. Scratching the clear coat is quite easy so you should avoid contacting it unless you’re cleaning the automobile.

2. Scratches in the primer

The layer just underneath the clear coat suffers from primer scratches. This is another protective layer that maintains the paint finish on your car appearing sharp and clean. Unfortunately, this kind of damage can change the appearance and color of the car, damaging the smooth surface’s ideal aesthetic.

If automobile scratches penetrate through the clear coat layer and reveal the primer coating, the body paint will deteriorate and there is a danger of rusting if safety precautions are not implemented in a timely manner. This will take more time and skill to correct, and it is recommended that the entire part be painted to avoid uneven paint differences.

3. Scratch paint

The most severe marks an automobile can have are paint scratches. When the paint is scratched deep enough, such as by rocks, keys, or auto crashes, the metal of the car’s body can be seen. Without paint scratch repair, this is the most difficult to restore and can lead to damage to the car’s body.

Scratches like these reveal the car’s exposed metal, which rusts quickly. Rust can form if a paint scrape is left untreated for even a few days.

This might cause irreversible harm to your vehicle and cause major problems to drive over time. It will also have an impact on the car’s market value, as rust is quite unwanted.

NOTE: Severity

Car paint scratches are a form of surface scratch that are usually categorized into four severity levels: 1A, 1B, 2, 3, and 4. That the very first level, 1A, is the least serious scratch that your car can get. The most severe is Level 4.

Car Scratches: What Causes Them?

Car scratches are fairly frequent, and they can be caused by a variety of factors.  A handful of the most common causes of car scratches are listed here.

Improper car wash

Scratches on your car are most likely caused by improper car washing.  Your car’s paint is far more sensitive than you might believe, and it is quickly scuffed.

When washing your car, dirt can become caught on your sponge and harm the paint if you don’t utilize suitable techniques. Furthermore, utilizing the wrong materials as a wash rag, such as an old t-shirt, ruins your paint by filling it with scratches.

Not only is your automobile vulnerable to scratches when you wash it by hand, but automatic car washing can also harm your car’s paint.

Road Debris and Rocks

These are major causes of scratches and chipping.  Rock chips emerge when pebbles and stones are thrown into the air by another vehicle, then collide with your vehicle and cause damage.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to stop this from happening.

Flying boulders aren’t the only thing that can scratch your automobile while driving; road debris can also scratch it.

When road debris worn tire tread, or other similar materials come into touch with your car, they can produce scratches.

These may usually be avoided by paying strict attention to the road while driving, but they are occasionally unavoidable. These may usually be avoided by paying strict attention to the road while driving, but they are occasionally unavoidable.
These may usually be avoided by paying strict attention to the road while driving, but they are occasionally unavoidable.

Car accidents

This is the most known cause of automobile scratches, as you can’t avoid being in a car accident that results in numerous scratches.  They occur when the car’s surface collides with a solid item, such as another vehicle.

These scratches are usually concentrated in the impact location and go deep into the paint.

How to fix car scratches

There are various scratch remover treatments depending on the severity level. For example, if there are some minor scratches, you can remove them at home using several techniques that I will discuss shortly, but if the damage is too deep, you should consider using a car scratch repair kit or contacting a body shop. The following are some of the most frequent ways of removing an automobile scratch.

Using paint: Small scratches

An automobile paint scratch that is not too deep and serious can be fixed with paint. Painting the scarred area using a brush or a spray bottle will only make matters worse. Fill the scratch with a sharp needle or a toothpick. Before choosing a color, remember to check the paint code listed on your car’s right door or in the owner’s handbook.

Scratch removers: Minor scratches

Scratch removers are used to fill in gaps left by minor scratches where just the paint coating is damaged, making it appear as if there was no scratch at all.
You’re wondering if it works on major scratches?  No, it isn’t going to happen. You’ll have to look into other possibilities.

Rubbing compound

Your fingernail can be used to judge a simple surface-level scratch. If your nail seems unable to catch it, a special rubbing chemical can be used to remove it. This is accomplished by first thoroughly cleaning the afflicted area with car soapy water and then wiping it clean with a microfiber cloth. A tiny amount of rubbing compound is now applied with a buffing pad. Applying light pressure, the compound is vigorously rubbed into the scratched region in a circular manner. The goal is to remove a small amount of scratched clear coat. The entire procedure is repeated over and over again. Lastly, the area is cleaned and dried in the open air.

Car scratch repair kit: Mild scratches

Mild scratches can also be removed with a scratch repair kit purchased from a retailer. A polishing pad and scratch removal solution are included with the set. The surface is initially washed to remove any dust or debris that may have accumulated on it. A microfiber cloth is then used to dry the surface. A tiny amount of solution is rubbed over the surface using the buffing pad. The excess is washed away and the area is allowed to heal. There have been mixed reviews on utilizing a scratch removal kit, with some customers claiming no results or good results just for minor scratches.

Professional denting and painting: Deep scratches

There is no substitute for skilled dent painting. Having your car scratch removed by a denting painting expert can ensure that you get a showroom-like finish. Here’s a taste of what’s to come. The professional begins by carefully cleaning the vehicle to remove all impurities and trash. The specialist removes additional paint from the area with sandpaper until the center of the damage can be seen.

To avoid future scratches in the opposite direction, the paint removal movement should be on the side of the scratch. Furthermore, several grits of sandpaper are utilized for various levels of scratches, such as 1500, 2000, and so on.

Scratches and How to Avoid Them

Even though scratches are prevalent, there are things you can take to assist minimize and preventing them.

Applying a wax layer to the paint can help protect it from light clear coat scratches.

A wax coating will give a thin protective layer to your car’s clear finish, further protecting it. Although it will not protect against severe scratches, it may aid in the prevention of some minor blemishes.
Another strategy to avoid scratches is to learn how to properly wash your car. One of the most common ways for an automobile to become scratched is through hand-washing inappropriately.

Hand-washing isn’t the only way to harm your car when it’s washed. Automatic car washes, particularly touch car washes, can potentially do a lot of damage to your paint.

You should also be mindful of typical scratching points, like door handles. Identify the areas of your car that have been scratched and try to decide what is creating the scratches.


For a vehicle lover like us, car scratches are really aggravating. Nobody who loves their car can stand it, and it does seem a little drab in ours. Thus, we need to know everything there is to know about the different types of scratches that our car can receive because each one requires a different treatment.