DIY Fixes for Car Scratches, Dents, Chips, and More

Whether you drive a brand new car or you’ve had your vehicle for years, dings and chips are annoying. The good news is that it’s often possible to repair those imperfections without spending a small fortune at a body shop! 

There are some easy DIY methods that will have your car looking great, and you don’t need any special skills. 

How to Fix Car Scratches

No one wants to find a scratch on their unblemished paint job—but don’t panic. In most cases, it’s pretty easy to get rid of them with affordable DIY methods. 

  • WD-40: Some car owners have had good luck getting rid of light scratches by applying WD-40. It works by filling in the scratch and leaves a shiny coating that mimics your car’s clear coat. 
  • Wax the Car: Another easy way to get rid of light scratches is by giving your car a thorough wax job. Just follow the normal directions, and you’ll be left with a shiny car, and the light scratches will be gone. 
  • Buy a Scratch Repair Kit: For less than $20, you can buy a kit that will repair light to medium scratches. Many such kits are available, and they can be easily found at any auto supply store. As an example of what to expect, the kit sold by Turtle Wax includes color-coded restoration pads, spray lubricant, paint clarifying compounds, and a clear coat finish pen. 

If you’re wondering how to fix chipped paint, you can purchase a paint touch-up kit at an auto parts store.

How to Fix Car Dents

Fixing minor car dents is much easier than you might think, and the results from these DIY methods are impressive.  

  • Push it Out: In some cases, especially when dealing with plastic, you may be able to simply push the dent out from behind. 
  • Boiling Water: If the dent is on a plastic part of the car, such as the bumper, pour boiling water over it, and then bang the dent out from behind. If you can reach the backside of the dent, you won’t need to remove the bumper. If not, you’ll need to pull it off. After you’ve pushed out the dent, pour a pot of cold water over the area to set it. 
  • Dent Pullers: Stop by your auto parts store and pick up a dent puller. Dent pullers and dent repair kits cost between $10 and $30 and are easy to use. They work best on dents found on flat surfaces. If the dent is deep or angular, it won’t work. 

It’s important to note that if the dent is large or if secondary damage has occurred, you’ll likely need to bring the car to a shop for a professional repair. 

How to Remove Stains on Seats

A car owner was driving her very sick dog to the vet when he got sick—in every way a dog can get sick—all over her cloth seats. She was certain she would have to replace the seat, as she thought it would be impossible to get all of the stains out. At the very least, she thought a visit to a professional car detailer would be needed. 

Turns out, she found a less expensive option. Some DIY car washes have a shampooer with different settings and a brush that allows you to scrub the seats or carpet in your car. For just a few dollars, she foamed up the seat, scrubbed it with the brush, and suctioned all evidence of her dog’s illness away. 

The dog survived, and so did her seat!

How to Remove Lingering Odors

Sometimes hanging an air freshener isn’t enough to get rid of unpleasant odors in your car or truck. Here are a few things to try:

  • Vacuum Thoroughly: Many odors are trapped in the cloth seats or carpet. Vacuuming will sometimes remove the odor-causing particles. 
  • Baking Soda: This is an excellent odor remover. Rub baking soda into the carpet or seat and let it sit for three or four hours, giving it time to absorb any odors. Then, simply vacuum it away. 
  • Charcoal: Charcoal is good for more than grilling veggies! It’s also an effective odor absorber. Place two or three pieces of charcoal in your vehicle for a few days, and you may find the odors are gone. 

From spilled coffee to fender benders, many of the things that date your car can easily be handled DIY style!