my car got what?

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

Just got back from a night out – my new truck is keyed from taillight to headlight. Is there anything out there that actually works to correct a key scratch?

thanks and grrrrrrrrr

This happened to my dad’s car a few years ago, and it only cost about $80 to buff it out. It’s probably not the disaster it appears to be. Good luck & keep us posted…

You didn’t happen to be parked across three bays, did you?

Wouldn’t it be covered by insurance?

Depends on your insurance coverage. Call your agent and ask.

It depends how deep it is.

If you see don’t see gray, its not deep, if you see gray its deep, if you see metal, its very deep,
if you can see through it, its very-very deep.

I agree with the others, check your insurance first. Any auto shop usually does the whole car not just the area

As was mentioned before, it all depends on the depth. Your average non-professional keyer will just leave a scratch in the clearcoat, easy to buff out.

If they are a pro, like my friend Marie, you will need to get the whole panel painted, or touched up (which usually doesn’t look great)

Marie - “First thing you do is jab the key into the door, hard, make sure it dents the panel. Then drag across the door keeping the pressure on. That’s the only way to be sure you get all the way down to the sheetmetal.”

FYI, don’t ever block Marie’s car in a parking space!

Should you discover that you have to do it yourself, you have several options.

You have to check the depth of the scratch along the entire length. If it doesn’t go below the clear-coat, you’re sort of in luck. Find a good auto detailer and have the guy buff it out, as previously suggested. It’ll probably cost you anywhere from a hundred to a hundred and fifty bucks, and the results are variable depending on the depth of the scratch, but this is the best way to take care of it. I promise you will be the most satisfied with the end result, whatever it is.

But, should you have to really do it yourself, here are some further suggestions.

If it’s a light scratch (i.e., not all-white, but instead still showing the color beneath), there is a possibility that you can take it out by hand by using a rubbing compound. You have to be VERY careful when you do this, though. Some rubbing compounds, such as Meguiar’s No. 4 (M4), are basically liquid sandpaper and will scratch your clear coat even worse. You risk turning that scratch into a long, hazy racing stripe. If you’re willing to take the time, a very light substance such as a cleaner wax and a lot of patience is the way to go. Follow behind the compound with a lighter polish to get rid of the haze, then finally with a good wax.

(There are two schools of thought on which way to rub. Some like to use a circular motion, while others like to go parallel to the scratch. They both agree that you should never do your rubbing at a right angle to the scratch. For some reason that shows up really, really well.)

If it’s a deep scratch (usually very noticeable when you run a thumbnail perpendicularly over it and white in color), there is still a chance to help it somewhat. You can go out and get some clear-coat touch-up paint and try laying it into the scratch. Oftentimes the white look is just roughed-up clear-coat, and putting new clear overtop of it will make the problem go away. Again, you have to be extremely careful not to glob it up–that looks almost as bad as the scratch.

I recommend thinning the clearcoat with laquer thinner and using a brush much smaller than that which comes with the tube of paint. You can also trim the tube’s brush by cutting it at an angle so that it terminates in a point. You’re trying to lay the paint into the scratch to make it as flush with the original paint job as possible. If you just slather a bunch of clear coat overtop of the scratch, it’s gonna look terrible.

If your secret admirer was a geniune asshole and penetrated through the clearcoat, you will have to match the paint. The paint code of your vehicle is usually recorded on a sticker in the driver’s side door jamb, and sometimes under the hood. Get the paint code, go to a dealer, and pay about ten bucks for a lipstick sized tube of that stuff, and pick up some clear coat to go along with it. The same principle applies as with clear coat, except that sometimes, if you’re really flash, you can lay a super-thin line of color down, then put clear coat overtop of it. This is the only way I have ever made a deep scratch “go away.” My rate of success was not encouraging.

With any car touch-up work, you need to have a rag damp with laquer thinner to catch any drips or runs or to start all over, which you will likely have to do at some point. You also need some good car wax and nice clean towels to immediately apply to the areas you wiped with the thinner. Some will warn you never to put laquer thinner on a paint job, but hell if I know of any decent alternatives.

I need to warn you that owners are very rarely satisfied with their own efforts. When I was a detailer, I spent many more hours undoing other peoples efforts than I did fixing the problem. And, truth be told, even after years of practice, I wasn’t all that good at it, either. Very sorry to hear of your problem.

I was keyed the day before I turned in my car at the end of the lease. Four panels, just like you. $125 to repaint each panel. Exactly matched my $500 insurance deductible.