insurance adjuster examining car scratchCar owners may be disappointed to notice a scratch on their vehicle but choose to ignore the minor imperfection. Yet with some exceptions, scratches are more than a cosmetic issue. They can be the first step towards rust formation and could affect resale value. Considering these factors, it’s important to address a scratch as soon as possible before it worsens.

What to Do Short Term

What happens when a car gets scratched? Typically, the mark penetrates the clear coat and passes through the paint, sometimes down to the metal. The deeper the scratch goes, the more likely it will invite rust.

At this stage, you may think using touch-up paint will do the trick. Yet as a quick fix or long-term solution, touch-up paint has several downsides:

  • It’s challenging to find an exact-match color for your vehicle.
  • Not prepping the area ahead of time can result in a bumpy appearance that flakes off.
  • Applying paint manually with the included brush may not blend in well with the existing paint.
  • Depending on how soon you apply the paint, rust may have already started to form. Covering the area with a new coat of paint will not halt the spread of corrosion.

Seemingly mundane tasks like washing your car can also exacerbate scratches, especially if they cut below the clear coat.

Repairing Scratches on Your Car

Recommended repairs for a scratched car will depend on the depth of the scratch:

  • Minor, Superficial Scratches: These scratches do not penetrate the clear coat and only affect the vehicle aesthetically. A scratch that doesn’t pass all the way through will not need to be repainted. Polishing and buffing the area can remove these imperfections.
  • Basecoat Scratches: These scratches pass through the clear coat to the basecoat, the enamel that gives a car its color. Requiring more intensive work, the surface will be evened out with fine-grit sandpaper, then a clear coat will be applied on top.
  • Primer and Deeper Scratches: These scratches expose the primer layer or metal underneath. Repairing the area involves filling the scratch, applying basecoat and clear coat on top, then polishing the result so it blends in with the rest of the body.

Insurance Factors for Repairing a Scratched Car

How did the scratches occur? Whether they were an act of vandalism, the result of an accident or improper maintenance, the cause may affect which part of your insurance policy applies:

  • Comprehensive: This coverage will help with your claim if the scratches were a result of vandalism, a shopping cart hitting your car or weather-related incident.
  • Collision: If the scratch was a result of you getting into an accident with another vehicle or a stationary object, collision coverage applies. Instances encompass anything from someone sideswiping your car or hitting your door to tree branch damage.

If you’re unsure of how the scratch was caused, the insurance adjuster overseeing your claim may have the damage assessed to determine how to proceed.
If your vehicle was recently scratched, bring it to DaSilva’s Auto Body. We can remove any rust buildup, repair the scratch, paint and wax the area, plus deal with your insurance carrier if you intend to file a claim. To learn more about our services, contact our Naugatuck shop today.