How to Fix Keyed Car — Help Your Car!

Has one of your ex-partners ever thrown a fit while driving your car? If so, you are aware of the suffering that comes with having to fix the harm that a key and a furious ex-spouse can do. We provide a manual on how to fix a keyed car if this is your first time dealing with the issue. Remember that this is not a task for the hurried, but it sure beats having to pay for the repair.

How to Fix Keyed Car -- Help Your Car!

Things You Will Need to Fix a Keyed Car

Before you learn how to fix a keyed car, make sure you have the following:

  • Paint – Make sure the paint you choose matches your car’s original paint as much as possible. For a more natural look, we strongly recommend buying paint in spray cans. There are also touch-up pens as well as other styles of applicators. Typically, personal taste is the deciding factor.
  • A brush – Make sure the brush is appropriate for the small touch-ups you’ll need to make and has a fine tip.
  • Masking tape – It goes without saying that you should select tape that won’t deteriorate the original paint any further.
  • Sand block and grain paper – You may require a variety of grain paper types (1500–3000), depending on the size and depth of the scratch. We suggest choosing at least three types with different coarseness.
  • Primer – Although you may not need it, having it on hand is a good idea in case you sand too much and damage something. Applying the touch-up paint more skillfully will reduce the likelihood of noticeable shade differences.
  • Clear Coat – Again, it will be simpler to apply if you purchase it in a spray can.
  • Choose either polish or wax depending on your personal preference.
  • Cloth – We advise using a fresh or clean microfiber cloth.

Different Degrees of Key Scratches

Identifying the depth and scope of a key scratch is necessary to determine what needs to be done to fix it. There are actually five classifications:

  • Level 1A: A minor clear-coat scratch or scuff. These aren’t even visible through the clear coat and can be challenging to spot.
  • Level 1B: A deeper clear-coat scratch. Small pieces of road debris, automatic car washes, and soiled or textured wash/wax applicators are a few potential causes of these. Though not all of the paint, they have pierced the clear coat.
  • Level 2: A clear-coat and paint scratch: Despite being deeper than the previous two scratches, this one didn’t penetrate the primer layer because it is still the same color as the rest of your car.
  • Level 3: A clear-coat, paint and primer scratch: The fact that the scratch is a different color from the rest of your car indicates that it has penetrated the primer layer.
  • Level 4: A scratch that reaches the metal: This ding has reached the car’s metal through all of the paint and protection layers.

The above levels are frequently combined in key scratches, making repairs more complex. For example, you won’t require touch-up paint for levels 1A through 2 but you will for levels 3 and 4.

How to Fix Keyed Car -- Help Your Car!

How to Fix Keyed Car Scratches

1. Washing the Car

First and foremost, wash the affected area completely. Clean up any dirt, and be sure to. You’ll also be able to determine the precise extent of the damage that needs to be repaired by taking this action.

2. Drying the Car

Using a fresh microfiber cloth, completely dry the car after washing it. Again, pay special attention to the damaged area. If you leave it wet, painting will be more difficult.

3. Applying Masking Tape

Apply masking tape to the scratch’s perimeter to protect the surrounding areas. That will guarantee that while sanding, you don’t further harm the original paint. Moreover, it will protect the rest of your car when you apply multiple layers of new paint. If you want to guarantee that no other area of your car receives new paint, use old newspapers to cover a larger area.

4. the Sanding

Depending on the extent of the scratch, this step may now take a little longer. To determine if the scratch is a clear coat scratch (surface level), spray some soapy water on the scratch, wipe dry with a microfiber cloth. If the scratch “disappears” and then reappears, it is likely a clear coat scratch. If you use the soapy water to temporarily fill a deep scratch, it won’t go away. There’s a good chance you can see the layers beneath.

The amount of clear coat used varies between companies. Wet sand a clear coat scratch with your 2000–3000 grit sandpaper until the scratch is barely noticeable. While sanding, make sure that you do not apply too much pressure to the dinged area. By applying light pressure, you can smooth out the scratch.

Do not attempt to rush through this step; instead, take as much time as you require. Don’t forget to give the area enough time to cool off before moving on to the next action. Also, don’t be concerned if the end result is “cloudy.” This will come out when you wax/polish.

If your cut was down to the primer. Start with your 1500 grit sandpaper to sand the affected area. wet sand that is parallel to the scratch. When it is even, use your cloth to clean it. Grab 3000 grit sandpaper and continue to sand the area with overlapping strokes both up and down and side to side.

The objective is to create an even surface and a unified look throughout the scratch.

Remark: If your scratch was a clear coat scratch, skip to polishing.

5. Applying the Primer

If your scratch was deeper than the clear coat, then continue on with these steps.

We warned you that you might need a primer when we gave you the list of materials for this project. Allow enough time for each coat of primer to completely dry before applying the primer in at least two thin coats.

6. Applying the Paint

Applying the touch-up paint can begin after the primer has dried. There are a few options available for the application here. We decided on pens and dropper-sized bottles with brushes.

It’s crucial to match your car’s color exactly when using touch-up paint. There are countless variations of the color blue. Frequently, you can find this data online in order to locate the OEM paint for a perfect match.

Spray paint is an alternative.

Holding the can of spray paint 6 to 8 inches away from the damaged surface is the ideal distance for applying paint evenly. Apply several light coats in an even side-to-side motion. Additionally, remember to let go of the can tip after each pass. Even small paint drips can be applied with the brush. Again, wait until each coat is completely dry before proceeding.

Repeat the same series of actions until you are certain that the old and new paint levels are equal (i.e., that there is no difference in height between the two).

7. Applying the Clear Coat

When you have finished painting it with all the necessary coats of touch-up paint, it is time to give it some additional protection. For that, you’ll use the clear coat. These guidelines are identical to those for painting. Take off the masking tape when you are happy with the outcome.

8. Waxing

Grab your polish and microfiber cloth, and buff the affected area until the cloudy area is gone. After that, wax the affected area, let it dry, and then wipe it with your microfiber cloth once more.

How to Fix Keyed Car -- Help Your Car!


Car owners sometimes face harsh realities in the world. Regardless of how much care you put into the upkeep of your car, one strike of a vandal and you can already have a “keyed” vehicle. This is a kind of scratch that is caused by a key. The act may have been committed by a spurned suitor, a vengeful ex, or a simple bystander who could think of nothing better to do than to cause harm to another person’s car. Even if you have insurance to cover such damages to your car, it would still be best if you knew how to fix a keyed vehicle.


How Much Does It Cost to Fix Key Marks on Car?

Finding your car “keyed,” or scratched with a key, by a vandal is frustrating and potentially expensive. The cost of repairing the damage can be $1,000 or more per scratch. Fortunately, comprehensive coverage is usually included in auto insurance policies, which cover vandalism.

Should You Report Your Car Being Keyed?

Keying is an act of vandalism, which you can report to the police. Call your local police instead at the 101 non-emergency number instead of dialing 999. Even if they are unable to act right away, having the incident documented is beneficial.

What Happens If Someone Scratches Your Car Door?

If you are unsure of what caused the scratch, you must get in touch with your insurance provider. If the damages are less than your deductible, you might be better off fixing small dings on your own. Unless your car was vandalized, you do not need a police report to file an insurance claim, but having one can be useful.

Can Car Scratches Be Touched Up?

In the rare cases when several passes have not completely removed the scratch, you can always use color-matched touch up paint to fill in the imperfection. After the paint has dried, use Scratch Renew & Repair to level and meld the touch-up paint with the surrounding finish by following the same procedures as before.

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