How to Fix Vehicle Dents and Scratches at Home

Accidents happen all the time. It’s nearly impossible to own a vehicle and not notice the minor dents and scratches that have accumulated over its lifetime. That’s why it’s important to have the right equipment on hand when accidents do happen. With just a few everyday household items, you’ll be able to repair minor cosmetic damage to your vehicle without filing an auto insurance claim or spending time and money at the body shop.

Nobody wants to drive around in a vehicle that looks like it just came out of a hailstorm. In this blog, we’ll explain several easy and effective ways to remove minor dents and scratches to help keep your car looking brand new while saving you money along the way.

How to Repair Minor Vehicle Scratches

When you notice a scratch on your vehicle, the first step is to figure out the severity of the scratch. Begin by running a fingernail across the scratch to determine if the scratch is surface level. If your fingernail runs easily across the surface, this indicates that the scratch hasn’t penetrated the vehicle’s clear coat and is a minor surface scratch that can be repaired easily. If your fingernail does catch on the scratch, it has likely penetrated the vehicle’s clear coat and will require a professional scratch removal product for the repair.

Repairing Surface Level Scratches

Before you begin to repair any scratch, no matter the severity, make sure you’ve washed and dried the vehicle thoroughly. Dirt and debris may only cause more scratches to accumulate during the repair process.

Surface level scratches can be easily repaired with an item you have in your home right now: toothpaste! Because surface-level scratches don’t penetrate the protective clear coat of paint on your vehicle—the layer above your vehicle’s paint job—it’s possible to buff them away. Toothpaste works as a light abrasive, easily removing a very fine layer of your vehicle’s clear coat to even out the area and hide the scratch.

After thoroughly cleaning the surface area, apply your toothpaste to a clean microfiber towel and buff the scratched area in a circular pattern. Continue and wash off the excess toothpaste when finished. If the scratch remains, you can continue this process again two more times. Buffing any more than twice or three times risks damaging the vehicle’s actual paint.

Repairing Deeper Scratches

With deeper scratches, we recommend using 3M Scratch Remover. Once again, clean and dry the area thoroughly before beginning the repair process. Using a clean microfiber towel, apply the scratch removal liquid in a circular motion. Be sure to remove excess product from the vehicle when you are finished.

How to Repair Minor Vehicle Dents

Most major dents will require a visit to the body shop, but not all dents necessitate that kind of time commitment and expense. In fact, some can be solved by simply going into your bathroom and grabbing the plunger! That’s right, it may sound like the solution a cartoon character would come up with, but if the dent is on the smaller side, you should have no problem removing it with your plunger.

All you need to begin the repair process is to apply water to the plunger to allow for maximum suction. Then begin pushing up and down on the plunger until the dent pops out and back into place. It’s a simple solution that anyone should be able to take advantage of!

Although, if you prefer to leave repairing dents and scratches to the professionals, contact your local Sanel NAPA location to get the help you need today! For more information on all things automotive, contact or visit our knowledgeable professionals.

About Sanel NAPA

Since 1920, Sanel NAPA has been a leading auto parts, heavy-duty truck parts, and body shop supplies distributor with over 42 store locations throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. We deliver quality car parts, heavy-duty truck parts, automotive paint and body supplies, and tools and equipment that are durable, dependable, and long-lasting to provide our clientele with the best products and services possible. For more information, call (603) 225-4000 or click to find a store near you.

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