How to Fix a Keyed Car: A 7-step Guide to Repair Key Scratches

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A keyed car is in the frame. Keyed cars can be fixed with proper car detailing services


Having your car keyed can be a frustrating and disheartening experience. Key scratches not only mar the appearance of your vehicle but can also lead to rust and corrosion if left untreated. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how mobile auto detailing experts like Big’s mobile help fix a keyed car and restore its pristine appearance. Whether you are dealing with a minor scratch or a deep key mark, following these instructions will help you repair the damage and protect your car’s value.

Understanding Keyed Car Damage

Before diving into the repair process, it is essential to understand the extent of the damage caused by key scratches. Keyed car damage can vary from superficial surface scratches to deep gouges in the paintwork. Superficial scratches often occur when a key or any sharp object scrapes the outermost layer of the car’s paint. Removing scratches on a car is still easy. Deep key marks, on the other hand, can penetrate the clear coat and even reach the metal body of the car.

Assessing the Keyed Car Damage

The first step in repairing a keyed car is to assess the extent of the damage. Take a close look at the scratch or key mark to determine its severity. If the scratch is shallow and only affects the clear coat or the top layer of paint, you can attempt to fix it yourself. However, if the scratch is deep and exposes the bare metal, it is advisable to seek professional assistance from a mobile auto detailing service.

Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing a Keyed Car

  • Gathering the necessary materials
    • Microfiber cloths
    • Automotive soap or car wash shampoo
    • Water
    • Sandpaper (1500-grit and 2000-grit)
    • Touch-up paint (matching your car’s color)
    • Clear coat
    • Buffing pad
    • Polishing compound
    • Wax
  • Cleaning the keyed area
    • Thoroughly clean the scratched area using automotive soap or car wash shampoo and water. This will remove any dirt, debris, or wax residue from the surface, allowing you to assess the scratch more accurately.
  • Sanding the scratch
    • Wet the 1500-grit sandpaper and gently sand the scratched area in a circular motion. This will help smooth out the surface and remove any imperfections. Rinse the area frequently to prevent the sandpaper from clogging.
  • Applying the touch-up paint
    • Shake the touch-up paint bottle well to ensure proper mixing. Using a fine brush, carefully apply the touch-up paint to the scratched area. Start from the center of the scratch and work your way outwards. Apply multiple thin layers for better coverage, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next.
  • Buffing and polishing the area
    • Once the touch-up paint has dried, wet the 2000-grit sandpaper and lightly sand the repaired area to achieve a smooth finish. Then, attach a buffing pad to a polishing machine and apply a small amount of polishing compound. Gently buff the repaired area in circular motions until the surface becomes glossy and blends with the surrounding paintwork.
  • Applying a clear coat
    • After polishing, apply a layer of clear coat to the repaired area to protect the paint and enhance its durability. Follow the instructions on the clear coat product for proper application and drying times.
  • Waxing the car
    • Finally, wax the entire car to provide an extra layer of protection and give it a shiny, polished look. Apply the wax using a clean microfiber cloth, following the product instructions. Buff the waxed surface to achieve a smooth and glossy finish.

Tips to Prevent Keyed Car Damage

  • Park your car in well-lit and populated areas to deter potential vandals.
  • Use a car cover or park in a garage when your car is not in use.
  • Install a security camera system near your parking spot to deter vandals.
  • Consider using a paint protection film or ceramic coating to provide an additional layer of defense against key scratches.

The Importance of Professional Mobile Detailing Services

While fixing a keyed car yourself can be a viable option for minor scratches, it is important to recognize the value of professional mobile detailing services. Mobile auto detailing experts possess the skills, experience, and specialized equipment to repair key scratches effectively. They can provide a thorough assessment of the damage, utilize advanced techniques, and ensure a seamless repair that restores your car’s appearance to its original condition.


Repairing a keyed car may seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach and materials, it is possible to restore your vehicle’s pristine appearance. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can repair key scratches and prevent further damage. However, for more extensive or deep key marks, it is advisable to seek professional assistance from a professional mobile auto detailing service like Big’s mobile. Remember, maintaining your car’s appearance not only enhances its visual appeal but also protects its value in the long run.


1. How long does it take to fix a keyed car?

The time required to fix a keyed car depends on the severity of the damage and the repair method used. Minor scratches can be repaired within a few hours, while more extensive damage may take a day or more, especially if professional assistance is required.

2. Can I use touch-up paint for deep key marks?

Touch-up paint is primarily designed for minor scratches and chips. For deep key marks that reach the bare metal, it is recommended to consult a professional mobile detailing service to ensure proper repair and prevent further damage.

3. Will fixing a keyed car completely remove the scratch?

Properly repairing a keyed car can significantly reduce the visibility of the scratch and restore the car’s appearance. However, it may not completely remove the scratch, especially if it is deep or extensive. Professional detailing services can provide a more seamless repair.

4. How much does it cost to fix a keyed car?

The cost of fixing a keyed car can vary depending on factors such as the severity of the damage, the size of the scratch, and the chosen repair method. Minor scratch repairs can be relatively affordable, while extensive damage may require more comprehensive repairs that can be costly.

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These blogs are meant purely for education and demonstration purposes. It contains only general information and may not account for specific issues related to your particular vehicle or situation. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. Read full disclaimer.

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