a man removing automobile scratch by polishing the car

There’s nothing worse than having your car scratched. Unfortunately, most times, there’s nothing you can do about it. You can be as careful as you wish but, you cannot account for other motorists barging in. Or freewheeling shopping carts in parking lots. Even hail can be untold damage to your vehicle.

Dents and scratches can affect the performance and longevity of the vehicle. If you use your car for rideshares, it can also affect your business. Scratches create more headaches since authorized dealerships do not touch them up. Instead, they paint the entire panel. This can be pretty expensive, especially if you are painting minor scratches. How about you remove the scratches?

This article takes you through both DIY and professional methods of scratch repair and dent repair. With the help of the information provided, you can make an informed decision.

Are Car Scratches Worth Repairing?

Be it a surface scratch or a deep one; all scratches are worth repairing. No matter the size, you need to repair the scratch as soon as possible.

  • Even a tiny scratch can lead to rust from where the paint was stripped. Once the rust settles in, it creates havoc and will continue to eat into the metal.
  • While it looks like a small scratch from the outside, it may be something more significant. Modern cars have flexible bumper covers which can hide a dent underneath.
  • Unrepaired scratch can affect the surrounding paint job, resulting in wrinkling and peeling. This leaves the area open to corrosion.

However, if you are looking for value, consider the age of the car. Unless the scratch is minor, older vehicles do not get much value out of the repair. On the other hand, if you are looking to sell it later, you better repair it. Vehicles with scratches do not fetch much value when you sell or trade them.

Do Auto Body Shops Fix Scratches?

Independent auto body shops can mend scratches, as well as dealerships. With the help of the VIN, they can an exact paint match from the auto manufacture. The auto body shop will also have airbrushing equipment, which can be a pretty inexpensive option.

If the appearance of the car is essential to you, they can also provide a more complex repair. They fix the scratches and dents one panel at a time using both dry and wet sanding. And finally, finish off with enough layers of paint to cover the marks. You can combine the base coat and clear coat and help save money.

How Do I Get a Dent Out of a Car?

Unless you are in a serious collision, you can repair the dents by yourself using the proper techniques—the bigger the dent, the more work it needs. You can fix any minor damage, even without any previous experience. That way, you can save time, money, and the inconvenience of taking your car to an auto body shop.

If it’s a minor problem, it’s not worth filing a claim with your insurance provider either. You’re likely to have to pay for the deductibility first before being penalized later with higher rates. However, here are some of the ways and tools that can help you remove dents at home.

Dent Repair with Suction

If you have minor dents, you do not need anything beyond your toilet plunger. However, get a new one rather than the one in your bathroom.

  • Run the plunger’s end through water and get it wet.
  • Then, fasten it on the dent and pull it to see if you could pop it out.
  • Adjust the placements. Continue pulling until the dents pop out to their normal position.

Otherwise, you can purchase any DIY dent remover kit available on the market. There are quite a few suction cups available in the market. They are either:

  • Suction cups with a pulling tool
  • Tiny suction cups, glue gun, and a pulling tool

The idea is similar, but the tool is different.

Suction Cup Dent Repair Kit

If the plunger doesn’t work, you need something that works in the exact mechanism but is more robust. Again, the mechanics are the same as mentioned above; pull back the dented area.

  • Attach the suction cup to the dent.
  • Tap around the edges with light hands while you pull on the suction cup.

You can find a suction cup dent remover tool in any auto body shop.

Dent Repair with Hair Dryer and Compressed Air

Another concept that works well to repair dents is to heat the area until it is hot enough. Then you can pop out the dents. For this, you can either use a hair dryer or boiling water. But do not ever attempt with a heat gun as it can spoil the paintwork.

Otherwise, you can use compressed air in conjunction with the hair dryer.

  • Run your dryer in its highest setting on the dent for several minutes.
  • Hold the compressed air can upside down and spray it on the hot area.
  • The sudden temperature change will cause the metal to pop out.

Paintless Dent Repair

automobile scratch and dent repair

Traditional dent repair techniques involve fillers, color matching, painting, and refinishing. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to other defects. This is because the replacements and the originals respond to wear and tear differently.

Paintless dent repair, otherwise called PDR, is the most advanced technique in dent repair. PDR is easier to use, cheaper, and more efficient than traditional dent repair methods. The process involves accessing behind the panel and manipulating the dent. This helps to return the body to its original form. The original paint and clear coat also remain intact.

When using PDR means that you need neither paint nor color match. Besides, you will not have any further imperfections once the work has been completed. Paintless dent repair is the best possible fix for dents and dings if feasible.

How Do I Fix Scratches on a Car?

Small cracks are generally an issue. However, you can repair most of them in a few minutes provided that you have all the tools. Light scratches take a few minutes of elbow grease and the right tool. While for deeper scratches, you will need an auto body shop.

Scratch Repair Pen

Start with something easier like the scratch repair pen. It doesn’t remove the scratch in reality but fills it with a hardening lacquer. Run the pen on the scratch with care and let the liquid fill it. Allow it to dry for a little while, and voila, the scratch would disappear. If there’s some dent in the paint, you’ll need the use the scratch repair pen 2-3 times in the same area. Clean the scratch well before using the repair pen.


Your car has a clear coat, several layers of paint, and a primer underneath them all. If the scratch is superficial and hasn’t reached the primer, it isn’t too deep. In this case, you can use 3000 grit sandpaper and water to get rid of the scratch.

  • First, clean the area such that there is no debris or dirt on the scratch.
  • Sprinkle some water over the scratch.
  • Apply a gentle and light force and rub the sandpaper in circles.
  • Add more water in between and continue until all the scratches have disappeared.
  • Touch up the area with some car polish to finish.
mechanic repairing scratches with a sandpaper

Rubbing Compound for Removing Paint Scratches

Rubbing compound is an abrasive material that helps remove the paint scratches. Paint scratches are nothing but the paint transfers from another car after it scratches or rubs against your car. A rubbing compound can cut through it and help remove that layer.

  • Clean the area for debris and dirt.
  • Apply a bit of rubbing compound.
  • Use a cloth and rub it over the area in circular motions for a few minutes.
  • You can watch the paint disappear, leaving behind the original paint.

Using Scratch Remover Cloth

The scratch removing cloth is quite famous because it can remove scratches and dents fast and without much effort. It is an abrasive cloth with micro-metal rubbing powder sprinkled on it. The principle is similar to working with sandpaper and a rubbing compound. However, the scratch removing cloth would be less messy and easier. Having a few in stock is always helpful. You can take one out for a quick repair mission.

Toothpaste for Scratch Removal

Another product that works similarly as above is toothpaste. Better yet, a tooth whitening toothpaste. This is because it is the most abrasive of all. Dab a small amount of toothpaste on the scratch; use a damp cloth and smear it over the scratch. Continue to rub in a circular motion until the scratches disappear.

Candle Wax to Repair Car Dents

You don’t have time to wait for a permanent solution; reach for your candle. Candle wax is a perfect temporary solution until you get time to get the scratch filled. Rub the wax onto the scratched paint until the scratch fills up. A good tip when you have an important meeting and don’t want to drive a scratched car.

Remove Scratches from Car Windshield

man removes scratches from the windshield

Clear glass doesn’t only look good, but also improves night visibility. Additionally, it reduces the headlight glare from oncoming traffic. A clean windshield is also necessary for the smooth functioning of the wipers. To restore scratches from glass, all you need are rubbing compound, pumice soap, a polishing machine, and a dry cloth.

  • Apply a mixture of the compound and pumice soap on the glass.
  • Polish with a polishing machine.
  • Then wipe it off with a dry cloth.

Can Boiling Water Fix a Bumper Dent?

Boiling water is an old-fashioned way of fixing the bumper dent. The principle is to make the dent malleable enough to push the dent out.

  • Take two pots with boiling water in one and cold water in another.
  • Pour the hot water over the dent until it is pliable enough.
  • Reach to the back and push the dent out.
  • Then, throw some cold water to cool the bumper.

While it is effective, it may cause the paint to wear sooner.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Scratch and Dent?

Scratch repairs cost as much as $7500 for a showroom quality paint job, especially if your vehicle has a great deal of damage. For example, a deep scratch in the bumper can cost you $2500 at a showroom.

However, in an auto body shop, the rates are quite different. For the most part, the cost depends on the severity and the complexity of the damage. The cost of the materials also plays a significant part.

Light scratches that have not penetrated the clear coat can cost between $50-$70 to repair. It costs $150-$300 to repair scratches penetrating the clear coat but not the paint. Deeper scratches are those that have the bare metal exposed, and those cost you $400 to $1500 to repair.

The rates include the materials, cost of repairing, and also the car wash. A car wash is mandatory before a repair job. If you need to touch-up paint, it will cost an additional $800-$1200 more.

Car Door Dent Repair Costs

Doors constitute a significant part of the surface area and are often get damaged the most. Small dents and dings cost between $100 to $500 to repair in an auto body shop. However, the cost depends on the severity and the number of dents in your vehicle.

Cost to Repair Hail Damage

The cost of repairing hail damage can range from as little as $1,000 to as much as $20,000. For the most part, hail damage repairs cost between $5000 and $10,000.

Your good car insurance can help pay the costs. Since a hailstorm is nothing you can control, it is considered an “Act of Nature/God.” In this case, your insurance will not increase the rates when you claim hazard.


Scratches and dents happen more often than you are comfortable with. While they seem inconsequential, they are pretty damaging to the vehicle. The bare metal in the damaged area is susceptible to corrosion. To prevent further damage, you must get the dent removed as soon as possible.

automobile scratch and dent repair

Often it is pretty simple and easy enough to remove at home. But most times, you will need to visit an auto body shop for removal. Paintless dent repair is hands down the best technology in the automotive industry. Not only does it help reduce the cost of repair, but it also gets it done in a fraction of time.

Remember to consult with the owner’s manual before performing any repairs. If your DIY repair is not in-line with their recommendations, your warranty may be voided.

For professional services, check with your mechanic or automobile service center. Since 2004, Cutting Edge is committed to delivering quality service, quick turnarounds, and the best customer service in the Tucson area. If you or someone you know is in need of custom auto painting, contact us for your free quote today!