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Cheap DIY Methods for Removing Paint Scratches: Do They Work?

If you Google “How to remove a paint scratch from a car” you’ll come up with all types of advice. Some of it makes sense but a lot of the methods recommended on click-bait sites are likely to make the problem worse.

The 100% foolproof way to remove a scratch from your car is to take it to the dealership, have the paint matched exactly, and pay them to sand down and repaint the entire panel of the car. This is also the most expensive option. Having your car repainted every time a kid bumps it with their bike isn’t a practical solution.

Small scratches that go through the clearcoat are inevitable, especially if your car is your daily driver. It’s just a matter of time before you come out of the grocery store to find a new scratch on your door.

Here are some of the most popular inexpensive DIY scratch removal methods:

Nail polish
It’s shiny. It’s cheap. It comes in a lot of colors. If you can find a shade that matches the color of your car, you are in luck. There are two main problems with using nail polish to cover a scratch in car paint. The first is that nail polish is not car paint. Think about how long a manicure lasts. Under the best possible conditions, nail polish will keep that scratch covered for a week.

The second problem is that the paint will fill in the scratch but sit on top of the still-intact paint around the scratch. The repair will be especially obvious in bright light.

Toothpaste
A scratch in the clearcoat of your car’s paint forms a “V” shape on the surface. Rubbing it with toothpaste, or anything abrasive, will sand off the sharp upper edges of the “V”, leaving behind more of a shallow “U”. However, any abrasive agent that is powerful enough to sand down clearcoat would also quickly remove enamel from teeth.

While toothpaste may have been a go-to scratch remover for CDs in the 90’s, it’s not likely to effectively render a scratch in your car’s clearcoat invisible. In fact, it could weaken the clearcoat around the scratch, increasing the chances that the clearcoat will oxidize, blister, or peel in the near future.

Car touch-up paint
You can buy touch-up paint that exactly matches the color of your car. Unless you have a pearl finish, matte finish, or some other type of specialty paint, it’s easy to order a small glass bottle or touch-up pen online. While this method certainly beats using toothpaste to sand down your car’s clearcoat or nail polish to cover up the scratch, most people won’t be able to control the area they sand to prevent further damage to the clearcoat and then keep the paint inside the scratch to fill in the uneven surface. The repair will always be visible, may not last long, and could end up looking worse than the scratch.

Car scratch repair that actually works
Forget the nail polish, toothpaste, and tiny bottles of touch-up paint. If your car is scratched deep enough that you can feel the mark with your fingernail, you need a top-rated and thoroughly tested permanent scratch remover. The Quixx Paint Scratch Remover kit doesn’t cover the scratch. It removes it using plastic deformation to fill in the missing paint. Everything you need is included in the box and fixing your car’s paint damage is a one-person job.

Quixx, the one with the double “X” on the box even works on glossy and metallic finishes. Perfect for scuff marks, surface color transference, scratch marks, and swirls, the Quixx Paint Scratch Remover is a permanent solution for scratches in your car’s paint that you can feel with your fingernail.

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