It's never fun to be the target of vandalism, even if the result is purely cosmetic damage to your car. One common example is the act of keying, which is when someone scrapes their key down the side of your vehicle to damage the paint. Repair options depend on the severity of the vandalism. The following guide can help you decide what your options are.
A minor key scratch generally only penetrates the top clear coat. If the scratch isn't deep enough to show the primer color or bare metal beneath the paint, you likely have a shallow scratch. You may be able to repair these shallow scratches on your own using the following steps:
Step 1: Wash the panel thoroughly with soapy water, then rinse and dry. Use a lint-free cloth to dry, since you don't want any dust, dirt, or lint to get in the way during the repair.
Step 2: Rub a colored auto wax onto the scratched area. Use a color different than that of your car so you can easily judge the depth of the scratches as you complete the repair.
Step 3: Apply a dime-size dab of rubbing compound, available at auto stores, to a rag. Buff the scratch with the compound using a circular motion until the paint is smooth to the level of the scratch. You will know this has occurred when you buff off the last of the wax collected in the scratch. Wipe the area clean.
Step 4: Carefully fill in the scratch with an auto clear coat product. Use the type that comes in a small jar. Once the scratch is filled and the clear coat dries, apply a spray clear coat over the entire area to replenish the shine that was buffed off.
Deep scratches go beyond the paint and into the primer or clear coat. You can fill these yourself using a method similar to that above, except you will need to add the steps of applying primer and paint in the scratch before finishing with the clear coat. This can be much more difficult, since it is hard to perfectly match paint colors on your own due to fading that occurs.
For a deep scratch, a better option is to take the car in to an auto body shop for a professional repair. This is especially true if your car was keyed extensively or if words or shapes were scratched into the car, since they may need to repaint the entire panel or car to fully repair the damages.
For auto body repair, contact a company such as Select Collision Centers Inc.