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Key scratch repair - next step

I bought a car with a “key” scratch across each side, as you can guess big scratch attracts other ones. I couldnt look anymore and decided to do something with this. I ordered a touchup which includes base coat and clear coat. I put the case on the scratch but not sure what to do next, I think it looks even worse at the moment.
Here are the steps that I made:

  1. I took the car to the car wash
  2. I washed the scratch with a wax remover prep solvent
  3. I put 3-4 coasts (depends on how deep it was) on the scratch with a brush
    What should I do now? should I put the clear coat on it or should I sand it a little bit to level out the base coat?

Here is how it was before and right now.


I can’t see the pictures but… I’ve done this before so… The paint look lumpy because it is higher than the surrounding. You need to sand that down. Use a sanding block so you primarily are sanding on the touchup. Start with 1000 grit emery cloth… the black sandpaper WITH slightly soapy water. You want the water to wash away the grit. Don’t rush it, you just want to level the touchup paint. Sand until the painted line is flush with the old paint. Transition to 1500 grit to smooth it further. Get a little rubbing compound - the gritty orange stuff - and buff out the sanding scratches. Next use polishing compound - the white stuff - and further polish it out. Finer versions of the white stuff are available to remove scratches from the polish. If the touch shines up, ignore the clear and apply wax.

You should be able to find videos on YouTube showing all of this. Look for AutoGeek labeled ones. They sell all this stuff but you can get it locally from places that sell auto parts.

Can’t see your images but I suspect what you discovered is you cannot cover up a scratch like that with touch up paint. Rather than just filling the trough and making a smooth transition to the original paint, it overlaps the existing paint and actually makes the scratch a bit more visible. You now have two steps in the paint instead of the one; the touch up paint on top of the original paint and then down lower in the scratch groove.

The real fix is to apply enough paint to fill in the void and then color sand it flat to blend it into the original paint. And then apply a fresh top coat of clear to the entire panel. That is best left to the pros. I will advise against any sanding by a DIY, it will turn into a huge mess- trust me. Just leave well enough alone and live with a color matched scratch…

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I am able to feel the scratch with my nail so there is still

+1 to @TwinTurbo Scratches that big will need a pro to make them blend in.

It is hard to tell since your repair, but did the scratch continue into the metal? If the metal was scratched, you have to flatten it first, then prime and paint. If the sanding mentioned above does not work, then you might need to sand the entire repair away down to the metal, then remove the scratch in the metal. It might help to lay out a masking tape barrier around the scratch to prevent damaging other areas of the door while you work on the scratch. I think an into to an inch an a half on either side of the scratch would be enough.

Watch this video and the others.

It shows how to wet sand, buff, and polish a scratch repair.


I dunno, you may end up just having to have it repainted. I got my new car keyed at a motel down in Georgia. She went all the way from the fender to the quarter panel and not just straight buy up and down. I tried touching it up but finally ended up just repainting the entire side. It was deep into the metal so just no way to even it out. Painted it on Saturday and took it to church on Sunday with the paint still a little soft and someone banged their door into it.

Yeah, you can color sand it to blend it in with the surface but I suspect it will always show and if you don’t use a power buffer it might be hard to get it polished again.