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Should You Worry About Scratches on Your Car?

Every owner wants their car to retain its looks and value for as long as possible; however, no matter how careful you are, a few scratches are bound to appear on your vehicle’s finish from time to time. The question is, are scratches on your car something you should really worry about?

Man looking at car scratches

You generally shouldn’t worry about scratches on your car, especially if they’re faint. However, if big, visible scratches keep appearing regularly, they might be a cause for concern. Either way, there’s no need to panic. Most scratches are easy to remove, even on your own.

Whether you should worry about scratches on your car ultimately depends on a few variables, which I’ll be discussing more in-depth in the following section. In the rest of this article, I’ll also be covering whether fixing a scratch on your vehicle’s surface is worth it, along with some dos and don’ts regarding how to deal with a scratched-up car. Keep reading to learn more.

When You Should Worry About Scratches on Your Car

Girl worried about car scratches

Before diving into some of the circumstances that might make a scratched car a cause for concern, I want to note the importance of preventing your vehicle’s finish from getting damaged in the first place. The saying “prevention is better than cure” rings true even in this instance.

Luckily, taking a few measures to keep your car from getting scratched doesn’t have to be challenging or time-consuming. All you have to do is ensure your vehicle is clean, debris-free, and protected through a layer of good-quality car wax.

Now that we’ve gotten that disclaimer out of the way, it’s time to look into some examples of when you should worry about scratches on your car.

First of all, as I briefly mentioned, you should worry about scratches on your car if they keep appearing on a regular basis. If this is the case, finding the root cause and addressing it can be of the essence.

Repairing a scratch is usually easy enough; however, in this case, getting the finish fixed without troubleshooting its cause would be like taking a painkiller to numb a sharp pain – sure, it’s a temporary fix, but until you face the problem head-on there’ll be no permanent solution.

Another criterion you can use to determine whether you should worry about a scratch on your car or not is to assess its deepness and visibility. Some scuffs can be faint enough that repairing them might not even be worth the time, money, and effort.

If a scratch is faint and hasn’t penetrated too deep (only appears on the top layer of the finish) but is still visible enough, a quick polish should remove it.

If a scratch has reached the paint layer, the damage might be a bit trickier to fix, but most car owners would still be able to handle the repair themselves.

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If a scratch has reached the primer, it will require a bit of touch-up paint along with the usual polish. This type of damage might require taking your car to a professional.

Lastly, if the scratch has penetrated through all the previously mentioned layers right down to the bare metal, the repair process will be much more challenging, and in this instance, the scratch would make a solid cause for concern.

Is It Worth Fixing a Scratch on My Car?

Fixing a scratch on your car is usually worth it. Keeping up a regular maintenance schedule to ensure optimal performance and aesthetic appeal will help retain your vehicle’s value. However, if a scratch is faint enough or if your car is particularly old, fixing a scratch isn’t worth it.

Therefore, when contemplating whether to fix a scratch on your car or not, it’s worth considering the current condition and value of your vehicle. Spending time, money, and effort on an already old or run-down car might be a bit of a moot point, as you won’t be affecting its resale value by much either way.

On the other hand, if the damage is minor enough (so you can either get it cheaply fixed or repair it yourself) and your car’s value could suffer otherwise, fixing it would be more than worth it.

First published on Sep 9, 2022 by

However, this is only my subjective take on the matter. Whether you want to make a commitment to fix a scratch or not is ultimately up to you. Some owners might have a sentimental connection to their cars, while others want to maintain a certain aesthetic – both very valid reasons why someone would choose to get a scratch fixed even if it didn’t make financial sense.

This is why, in most cases, I’d say that biting the bullet and getting that finish repaired is the way to go.

What Not To Do When You Find Scratches on Your Car

Found out car scratches

I’ll take you through some quick and easy tips on how to remove scratches from your car with little to no effort and costs in a moment; however, for now, I want to address some of the mistakes you’ll want to avoid when dealing with a scratched-up car.

  • Don’t ignore the root cause of the problem.
  • Refrain from washing your car too aggressively.
  • Don’t use toothpaste to fix the damage – you might actually damage the paint.
  • Don’t apply paint directly on top of the scratch.
  • Be careful of overpolishing – you can wear down the clear coat.

How To Remove Scratches From Your Car

Man working on car scratches

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on removing scratches from your car.

  1. Clean your car, making sure not to use harsh chemicals or aggressive techniques.
  2. If you’re dealing with a deeper scratch, use a colored wax to fill the dent.
  3. Apply car polish to the scratch as instructed by its manufacturer, making sure to apply several thin layers rather than a single thick one.
  4. Wipe any excess material off and proceed to wax and polish the rest of the car for a seamless finish.

As you can see, fixing a scratch yourself is pretty straightforward; however, if the damage has penetrated through the primer or if you don’t feel like you have the proper skills or tools, it’s always better to consult with a professional.


Car scratches aren’t always a cause for concern; however, unless your vehicle is especially old or run-down, fixing them might be necessary. The extent of the damage (and, in turn, how much you should worry about it) will depend on how frequently it occurs and how far it has been able to penetrate the paint layers of your car.

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