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How Car Dealers Hide Scratches

 5 Ways Used Car Dealers Hide Scratches 

Best Quick Scratch Eraser Kit

Purchasing used cars is undoubtedly a great economic and affordable alternative in comparison to the overpriced new cars. A used car provides a cheap alternative for customers to fulfill their daily necessities. Not only do the customers save on the initial price of the used cars, but they also benefit from lower insurance and dealership fees. However, it is of utmost concern that car dealers hide scratches on a car which often makes it questionable whether used cars are worth the money spent on them. Customers need to be quite observant and aware of some of the methods that are used to hide away scratches. The top five ways a car dealership effectively hides away the scratches are through car polishes, paints, mud/dirt, lightning at the dealership, and selling the vehicles cosmetically as is. Now let’s go over each one of these methods and learn what you should do if a used car dealer sells you a vehicle that has deep scratches. 

How Car Dealers Hide Scratches

1. Car Polish For Scratches

The foremost method of hiding scratches that is popularly used by car dealers is car polishes. Car polishes are manufactured by companies such as Meguiar’s, Carfidant, Adam’s, etc that primarily aim to remove a noticeable scratch and restore the paint to its original color. With the help of a microfiber cloth, car polishes can be rubbed on any scratched car to remove imperfections and deceive potential customers. Along with car polishes, scratch, and swirl removers are offered by companies such as Adam’s. The scratch and swirl removers ensure to buff out the moderate scratches and the polish then restores the car paint to its original color.

2. Paint

Car dealers often tend to hide and blend away the scratches through the use of paints. Light-colored paints are primarily used to blend away the scratches in a manner that they are unnoticeable by the customers. Spray paints account for an excellent choice to remove scratches on a comparatively large section of the area that needs to be covered. The way it works for car dealers is to clean up the scratched surface followed by applying fine sandpaper. Upon spraying the scratched area with the matching car color, dealers can successfully hide away any scratches or imperfections. In addition, car dealers use touch-up paints to hide or conceal scratches. Touch-up paints come with a color chart that can be used to match the original color of the car through the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Since touch-up paints are impressively close to the original color, they account for an effective method to conceal the scratches in a perfect manner

3. Mud Or Dirt

In many occurrences, car dealers deceive their respective customers by offering them mud-filled or dirty cars. The dirt or mud can overshadow the scratches in a way that is completely unnoticeable by the respective customers. Scratches are only visible to the customers, once they buy the car and get a proper car wash. By then, it is too late and customers often regret buying such cars from the dealers. In some instances, washing away mud or dirt further increases the scratches on the car which makes matters even worse for the buyers.

4. Lighting At The Car Dealership

Another effective method car dealers use is to conceal the scratches through the use of lighting techniques. Car dealerships and showrooms often have a strong lightning infrastructure, which ensures that the bright lights reflect away or conceal the scratches at the instance when the customer is inspecting to buy a used car. Lights not only conceal the scratches, they often give cars a shiner and glossy look which further encompasses the attention of the buyers.

5. Car Dealership Sells Vehicle “Cosmetically As Is”

In some occurrences, car dealers sell the car ‘cosmetically as is’ and abstain from using any deceiving strategies. Cosmetic damage or imperfections refer to any imperfections such as scratches that do not have an impact on the functionality and the mechanism of the vehicle. Such car dealers often show any scratches or cosmetic issues to the buyers before the time of purchase. Although such car dealers might have to sell their cars at comparatively lower prices than those who hide away cosmetic damages, they tend to build a robust relationship of trust with their customers. For customers, a car is a huge investment with some pouring their savings to be able to afford a car. Therefore, honesty goes a long way in car dealerships, as the customers tend to value such car dealers since they know they have the best interests of their customers at heart.

Dealer Sold Me A Scratched Car – What Can I Do? 

Although it is unethical, many used car dealers sell cosmetically damaged cars without notifying or warning their customers. According to FitFreak, a buyer went into the dealership looking for a Honda silver fit, 2009 model. Since it was a sunny day, the sunlight shone on the car making it look great, but the sunlight concealed the scratches that were present on the car. The buyer only noticed the scratches once he bought the car and the vehicle was off the lot. After an hour or so, the buyer brought the car back to the dealer and made him aware of the cosmetic damages to the car. The dealer was kind enough to take the car back and buff out the scratches. He mentioned that in any instance more scratches were found on the car, the buyer should revisit the dealership immediately. After some time, the buyer inspected his car only to find out there were more scratches. Therefore, the buyer quickly went back to the dealership to resolve this issue. To his surprise, the dealer was adamant that he would not fix the scratches. The car dealer claimed that the whole vehicle had to be re-painted which the buyer thought was absurd. The repainting of the car would be significantly more expensive.  The question then arises ‘What to do if a car dealership sold you a vehicle with deep scratches?

Upon being scammed by a dealer, the buyer should immediately go back to the respective dealer and make him/her aware of the situation. If the dealer fails to admit to selling a cosmetically damaged car, the buyer should opt to file a lawsuit as every country has consumer protection laws. The protection laws intend to recover the money that has been lost in a scam such as that of a car dealership. If the option of filing a lawsuit cannot be availed, then the customer should opt to omit the scratches through the use of polishes and paints. Polishes from companies such as Meguiar or Carfidant can be used to remove any visible scratches. The owner of the car can clean the scratched area with soap and water followed by using a microfiber cloth to dry the scratched part. The polish or scratch remover can be then applied to hide away the scratches. Similarly, paints, especially touch-up paints can be used to conceal scratches. The touch-up paints are available exactly according to the matching color of the car using the Vehicle Identification Number. Since such paints perfectly match the car’s original paint, they contribute as an effective method used by owners to omit scratches on their cars.

Related Content: Best Car Dealer GPS Tracking Device

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Identify If A Car Dealer Has Tried To Cover Scratches On A Used Car?

Pay close attention to uneven paint surfaces, spray-painted areas, or mismatched colors. Inspect the car under different lighting conditions and always perform a thorough car wash before buying to reveal any hidden scratches.

What’s The Best Approach To Remove Light Car Scratches?

For light car scratches, use a scratch removal product available in the market, such as a rubbing compound or polishing compound. Apply it with a soft cloth in a circular motion, following the product’s instructions for the best results.

How Can I Prevent Scratches From Affecting My Car’s Resale Value?

Proactively maintain your car’s paint job by regularly washing and waxing. Fixing scratches as they occur with proper methods like touch-up paint or fine sandpaper will help preserve your car’s resale value over time.

Are There Any Professional Services For Scratch Removal?

Yes, professional scratch removal services are available, specializing in fixing moderate to deep scratches. They use advanced techniques and matched colors to restore your car’s appearance, ensuring a seamless finish.

Can Duct Tape Be Used To Hide Scratches Temporarily?

Duct tape can be a short-term solution to cover scratches, especially for cars with paint chips. However, it’s essential to remove the tape before it damages the paint further and seek a more permanent solution.


Upon purchasing a used or new car, it is the responsibility of customers to inspect used cars mechanically as well as cosmetically. Used cars are prone to defects, therefore customers should ensure they properly look for any cosmetic damages since in many occurrences scratches are concealed by the car dealers. The buyer should keep in mind the strategies used by dealers to conceal scratches, so they are not deceived and scammed into buying a damaged car

Learn how buy here pay here car dealerships use GPS tracking devices for repo by CLICKING HERE!

Matthew Henson
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