Someone Keyed My Car! How Can I Fix It?

20 May 2015
 Categories: , Blog


If your car has been keyed, it is an infuriating experience. It wasn't an accident. Someone has intentionally done damage to the paint job. However, you can get it fixed. In some cases you can repair the problem yourself. Depending upon how deep the key went, the job might be very easy. Below is a guide to help you fix what the vandal did.

How Deep Does The Scratch Go?

The first thing you need to do is look at how deep the scratch goes. This will determine what needs to be done. If the scratch is superficial, you can get away with buffing and reapplying a clear coat. If, however, the scratch is deep, you will need to do more intensive work.

The best way to tell how deep the scratch goes is to see if you see primer or steel. If you still see the paint, then the scratch didn't penetrate down to the primer or surface steel. Be careful, though, even though you still see color, this doesn't mean that you can buff out the scratch. The clear coat can be buffed, but it the scratch extends into the paint layer, you are going to have to re-apply paint.

Fixing A Scratch That Is Just In The Clear Coat Layer: DIY

This is the easiest scratch to fix. All you need is polishing compound. You will put this compound on a pad and rub it in circles over the area. You should be aware that the compound acts like ultra-fine sandpaper in that it removes clear coat. So be careful and try and be as precise as possible. The objective is to buff the spot so that everything is even. This will make the scratch disappear.

Fixing A Scratch That Is In The Paint Layer: Not For Amateurs

If the scratch goes into the paint, primer, or steel, then you should probably head to a professional. This is because you will need to reapply paint. You can't apply auto-paint like regular paint. You don't use a brush or roller. Automobile paint is applied using a sprayer. The paint is applied using a gun and done in several passes. It is a technique that requires skill from a paint repair professional. If you've never tried it before, it won't be easy. Also, the equipment is very expensive.

The area will be sanded with 3000 grit sandpaper. Then a filler will be applied and left to dry. Once the filler is dry, the area is sanded again. This can take several applications until the area is completely smooth and even. Once it is finished, the primer is applied. This is done using the paint spray gun. After the primer has dried, the paint can be applied. Finally, a clear coat is applied to the area.

This is a very time intensive process. The car needs to be taped off when spraying so that fresh paint does not get on the rest of the car.  If the paint is applied wrong, there will be streaks. If the filling is not applied correctly, then it can crack or look bumpy.