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How Important is it to Fix Scratches?

Posted by on Sep 30, 2019 in Blog

You may be one of those drivers that think as long as your vehicle runs, there’s no need to repair cosmetic damage.

While this may be true for minor scrapes and scratches, there is a lot to consider when damage to your vehicle occurs deep enough to reach the metal of your car’s surface.

The longer you put off repairs, the more likely the presence of rust goes up and the more the value of your vehicle goes down.

Common Causes of Car Scratches

Incorrectly washing and drying your car.

Washing your car may seem like a simple bucket-and-sponge deal but, if you’re not careful, you could end up causing scratches on the surface of your vehicle.

Any dirt trapped on your sponge or cloth creates a potential for scratches to your car’s finish. Be very careful to rinse off any debris from your sponge or consider using microfiber cloths to clean your car.

Automatic car washes.

After washing numerous vehicles throughout the day, dirt and grit accumulates on the brushes of the automatic car wash. This basically turns them into sandpaper and can cause damage to your vehicle’s finish.

Even touchless car washes are not without risk – the high pressure streams can potentially push dirt and grit across the surface of your car.

Be very cautious about using automatic car washes to avoid having your vehicle’s surface scratched.

Road debris and rocks.

For every rock that has rocketed toward your windshield and left a chip, others have flown into your vehicle’s finish. Other road debris, such as sticks and loose gravel, can also cause damage to your car.

If you are driving in an area with these sorts of hazards, slow down and drive with caution.

Car accidents.

This goes without saying, but vehicular collisions can result in scratches to your vehicle. Because of the serious nature of a car-to-car collisions, this damage can extend deep into the paint.

When your car has experienced any sort of accident, even minor, the damage should be assessed and fixed as soon as possible.

Keying and vandalism.

Thankfully, this is the least common of the common causes of scratches, but vandalism and keying do occur and will result in scratches to the car’s finish.

Keying is an intention act of vandalism that involves an individual using a key to scratch the surface of your vehicle. If you ever suspect that your car has been keyed, you should alert the local authorities right away.

The Importance of Fixing Car Scratches

Car Scratches and Rust

While minor surface scratches, those that can be buffed out by hand, typically do not create a risk for rust, deeper scratches should be fixed right away to avoid this issue.

The longer a car has a deep scratch on its surface, the more water, dirt, road salt and debris will reach the metal and contribute to rust.

Rust will eat through the metal of your vehicle and spread, creating holes the longer it is left unaddressed. These holes will eventually cause dangerous structural problems and compromise the integrity of the vehicle.

For this reason, most provinces and states will not pass a vehicle for inspection if there is significant rust damage.

Car Scratches and Value

Having scratches on your car, no matter how minor, will affect the value of your vehicle.

When looking to purchase a used car, buyers will look at the aesthetic appearance of the vehicle as well as consider any potential repair bills in the future.

You may not think a couple hundred dollars to repair a scratch is worth it when selling your vehicle, but many people purchase damaged cars at low cost, fix them, and sell them at a higher price.

There is definitely value attached to the appearance of your car.

Levels of Car Scratches

Not all scratches are the same and, before repairs can be carried out, the level of the scratch has to be assessed.

The surface of your car is comprised by four layers: the metal, the primer, the paint and the clear coat. The level of scratch depends on how deep into these layers the scratch goes.

  • Level 1A: These are clear coat scratches that have not penetrated the paint layer of your vehicle. They are minor and can be easily buffed.
  • Level 1B: These scratches go deeper into the clear coat but have not touched the paint layer. These can be repaired with a machine polishing.
  • Level 2: Once the scratch damages the layer of paint, the damage needs to be sanded and polished down before being repainted.
  • Level 3: Scratches that reach the primer pose a very low risk of rust but should be touched up as soon as possible.
  • Level 4: Once the scratch reaches the metal, it will slowly rust over time. The damage needs to be cleaned out and touched up.

How Car Scratches are Repaired

If your vehicle has scratches that need to be repaired, an auto body repair expert will first determined the level of damage. Depending on the severity of the damage, the appropriate repairs will be carried out.

Shallow scratches are lightly sanded and buffed with a rubbing compound. It’s finished with another buff before sealed with wax.

Deeper scratches, however, require a bit more work. The scratch is cleaned out with solvent before the paint is touched up. It is then sanded and buffed with the rubbing compound – then the process is repeated again before a clear coat is applied.

The repair experts at Freeway Auto Body can fix any level of scratch on your vehicle using the latest computerized paint matching technology. Contact us today and we will be happy to answer any or all questions you have about scratches and dent repair.

Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC)
Edmonton Chamber of Commerce
Sikkens® Acoat Selected Partner