The Ultimate Guide to Car Paint Repair

Car scratches are an unfortunate fact of life. Whether caused by random stone chips or an unfortunate mishap with a misplaced bollard, even the most careful of drivers can end up with scratches along the paintwork of their car. Here, at ChipsAway, we are experts in car paint repair, meaning that when a scratch occurs, we can help you deal with it quickly and efficiently. With that in mind we have put together this guide, walking through different aspects of car paintwork damage – including causes of car scratches, types of scratch within the paintwork, and car paint repair techniques.

If your car has been scratched and you would like a no-obligation quote to get it fixed then you can either call us direct on 0800 145 5118 or contact your local specialist today.

Common Causes of Car Scratches

Car scratches can come from a wide variety of causes. Both unsightly and damaging to the resale value of your car, scratches are a common problem amongst vehicles on the road. There is a full list of common scratch causes here; however, car paint repair is typically needed when a scratch appears due to one of the following reasons:

Stone Chips

Loose stones and pebbles are some of the most common offenders when it comes to causing scratches on cars. Stone chip damage occurs when small pieces of rock, stones, or gravel get flicked back from beneath the tyres of other cars on the road. Those little pieces of rock can gain speed, and can cause scratches within the paintwork of a car. Stone chips tend to cause small amounts of localised damage, potentially cutting deep within the paintwork. Visit our blog on stone chip car paintwork repair to find out more.

Environmental Factors

Although they don’t always cause scratches, there are environmental factors that can cause damage to your vehicle, resulting in the need for car paint repair. These include winter weather, a build-up of minerals on the paintwork due to being parked near the sea, exposure to the sun causing the paint to fade, and even aspects like insects or bird droppings. These environmental factors can damage the paintwork and, in the case of droppings, can cause damage when removed.

Car Cleanliness

Car cleanliness can cause a number of problems that can lead to both car paintwork damage and the worsening of that damage when it does occur. Abrasive cleaners can cause scratches to appear along the panels of your car, along with small pieces of grit and dirt that can get dragged around the car during the cleaning process. Where car shampoo can be protective, household detergents can cause more harm than good. It is important to be careful when cleaning your car if you want it to shine like new.

Likewise, if there is a scratch within the paintwork of the car already, one that needs car paint repair, then that can be aggravated and made worse through dirt on the car. To help prevent rust or worsening scratches, cars should be kept clean and paintwork damage should be repaired as effectively as possible.

Accidents and Mishaps

One of the most common causes of car scratches comes from everyday bumps and scrapes. Whether from a kerb that was slightly higher than expected, a bollard that seemed to appear out of nowhere, or a runaway shopping trolley that had it in for your car, paint damage can occur from any number of causes.

silver car with a scratch on the back with a trolley hitting into it

What is more, accidents and mishaps can cause a wide array of damage that can cut deep into your car.

When a mishap or accident occurs, it is important to get your car fixed as efficiently as possible to prevent further damage or the devaluing of your car. Our car paint repair techniques are usually cheaper than your car insurance excess, meaning that a claim doesn’t need to be made.

You can find out more about our car paint repair services here.


Understanding Car Scratches and the Layers of Car Paint

Car paint is made up of a series of different layers that come together to create a protective coating for your car. Those layers include the clearcoat, basecoat, primer and the base metal of the car. This can lead to three different types of car paintwork damage that can affect a cars appearance.

Layer of car body paint when car scratched

Surface Scratches in the Clearcoat

Wax aside, the clearcoat is usually the top layer of paint on a car. Designed to protect the paintwork of the car from elemental damage and fading due to the sun, the clearcoat is a thin layer of sealant that sits on top of the basecoat or colour coat of the car. Damage to the clearcoat is usually the simplest to fix due to the shallow nature of the scratch.

Damage to the clearcoat exposes the paint of the car to the elements, potentially allowing for weather damage to impact the car.

Paintwork Scratches in the Basecoat or Colour Coat

The basecoat of the car is what gives the car its colour. Deeper scratches can affect the basecoat of the car, also commonly known as the colour coat. If a scratch permeates through the clearcoat then it can cut through the basecoat of the car, causing both unsightly and damaging scrapes in the car paint. Damage to the car paint can often be a far larger problem as it can leave the car vulnerable to further damage and rust.

Deep Scratches in the Primer

The deepest scratches may cut through the basecoat and through the primer layer of paint, digging into the metal below. The primer is one of the core paint layers, covering the metal body of the car with a protective layer that helps safeguard it against rust and other damage. Scratches cutting into the primer can leave the car incredibly vulnerable and can damage the metal below.

Specialist techniques are used to repair deep scratches.

Methods of Car Paint Repair

No matter how a car has become scratched, it needs to be repaired in order to return the car to pristine condition. When looking at different methods of car paint repair there are a few things to keep in mind.

Home Methods of Car Paint Repair

Depending on how deep the scratch is there are a few store bought methods of car paint repair that could offer up fixes for some minor scratches within the paint of a car. Where not an ideal solution for every form of scratch, store bought solutions can offer a quick fix when applied correctly. Popular methods include T-Cut, a compound that can reduce the visibility of shallow scratches within the car body.

It is vital to be careful when applying store bought solutions to your car and it is always important to ensure that you follow instructions. Not following instructions can lead to an uneven or obvious finish.

Where store bought scratch repair kits can offer a convenient solution to shallow scratches, they do have limitations when it comes to deep scratches. When scratches are deeper than the surface of the car, that is when professional car paint repair could be needed.

Professional Car Paint Repair

Professional car paint repair is a method of scratch removal which, unlike with store bought solutions, offers a fantastic finish each and every time. Getting a professional to tend to a scratch on your car ensures an even finish that blends into the surrounding panels.

ChipsAway specialist curing paintwork after damage repair with heat lamp

Here, at ChipsAway, we specialise in professional car scratch repair and paint repair techniques. Through using SMART (Small to Medium Area Repair Technology) techniques we do not need to remove or replace entire panels in order to repair an unwanted scratch or dent. Instead we can localise our repair, fixing your car for a fraction of the cost of a traditional body shop.

Unlike with store bought solutions, professional car paint repair uses colour matching technology to precisely match the repair to the colour of your car. This ensures a fantastic finish to the repair.

Our process is tried and tested, using the best in car repair technology to provide you with a satisfying result. You can find out more about our SMART car paint repair process here.

With specialists all over the country, we put the convenience of our customers above all else. With mobile repair options, where we come to you, ChipsAway can ensure that your car is fixed quickly and efficiently.

Leaving aside car paint repair, we also offer minor dent repair, alloy wheel repair, bumper repair, and we are experts in Supagard paint protection. All of our repairs are fully guaranteed.

To find out more you can call us on 0800 145 5118 or use our online form to request an obligation free quote today.


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