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What Is The Difference Between Paint Transfer and Paint Scratch?

Knowing the difference between paint transfer and paint scratch can save you from a lot of costly body repairs later on. Unattended damages can worsen in time and expose your vehicle’s surfaces to the elements. This can lead to premature rusting and other issues. In this post, we will give you the distinguishing features of these two types of car paint damages and how they should be repaired.

Comparison of Paint Transfer and Paint Scratch

paint transfer

Image from: autogeekonline.net

A lot of people confuse paint transfer for paint scratch, when in reality, they are two different car paint damages. So how do you distinguish one from the other?

Paint Transfer

This condition occurs when your car comes into contact with an object or another vehicle, then in the process, transfers the object’s paint into your car’s surface. (See image on the left for reference.)

The easiest way to identify paint transfer is by checking if the damage just lies on top of your vehicle’s paint. Think: stickers or adhesive.

Although paint transfer is not too difficult to remove, it requires a lot of effort, especially if it has affected a large area. First, you have to clay bar it. Some transfers, however, cannot be removed by clay bar alone. You will need a polishing compound. Put some compound on a rag then apply it on the affected area. Buff and polish.

Got stubborn paint transfer? Use 3000 grit sandpaper. It has enough grit to get rid of paint marks without damaging the clearcoat. Do not go overboard when sanding, or you’ll end up damaging your car’s paint in the process.

Paint Scratch

car scratch issueWhereas paint transfer lies on top of a vehicle’s paint, paint scratches, as the name implies, “graze” the surface. (See image on the right for reference.) Paint scratch removal is more complicated, more so if the damage goes deep into the paint. There are different types of car scratches, each named after the  layer. For example, the clearcoat paint scratch affects the clearcoat, the primer scratch has already reached the vehicle’s basecoat or primer, and so on.

You can distinguish a paint scratch from a paint transfer by running a finger over the affected area. If you feel some kind of an indentation, chances are huge that it’s a paint scratch.

To properly repair a paint scratch, you’ll need to clean the area, put some filler to raise the scratch’s level, then wet sand it. Buff and polish.

Your Best Option

Being aware of the difference between paint transfer and paint scratch gives you an idea as to how you can properly address your issue, save you a lot of time, money and effort from doing trial and error repairs. Yes, you can do it yourself, but you’ll need the necessary skills, tools, materials and experience. Otherwise, your car’s paint might end up with more damage.

If you want best results, consider professional detailing services. They can help identify if your paint damage is a transfer or a scratch then suggest the best way to resolve your issue.

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