Do car scratch pens really work?
Published on 25 May 2021
Are ‘magic car paint pens’ worth the money?
Car scratch pens are becoming an increasingly popular method of fixing light scratches. To achieve a totally fresh restoration we recommend seeking professional services, however we understand the temptation of a quick-fix solution.
These pens claim to provide immediate professional results that fill scratches and polish the surface of cars, leaving them in top condition. We are going to evaluate car scratch pens to assess the credibility of these claims.
Let’s face it, when you think something is too good to be true, the instinct is often correct.
We’re going to give you the lowdown on car scratch pens, their effectiveness and the finished results you are likely to achieve.
What types of car scratch pens are there?
There are two options when it comes to choosing a paint pen.
Clear paint pens
In spite of being called a ‘paint pen’, these pens do not actually contain paint. They contain a clear lacquer that is applied over the scratched area and this gives the appearance that it has been fixed.
Car paintwork will contain a layer of clear lacquer and these magic pens aim to fix the lacquer rather than the scratch itself. Lacquer-based paint pens are not effective on deeper scratches but can help to disguise minor, surface scratches.
Colour paint pens
If you do not want a clear paint pen, you can opt for a pen that contains actual paint and in different, vibrant colours to provide an exact colour match for your car.
There are also custom designed paint pens that use the colour code of your vehicle in order to select the best colour to use.
We do not recommend using off-the-shelf paint pens because a DIY job using one of these can very easily go wrong and end up ruining your car’s aesthetic even more than the scratch did.
What is a ‘magic car paint pen?’
These car scratch pens have a number of different names but they are often referred to as ‘magic car paint pens’. They are said to have the ability to cover up paintwork scratches by matching the colour perfectly and at a cheap price.
How do car scratch pens work?
For smaller marks and scratches, these pens can help to disguise them. All you have to do is clean the affected area, leave it to dry and then draw the pen over the mark.
These car scratch pens can also be used to seal and protect scratches from further damage if you are looking for a temporary solution.
If you want to use a custom made pen that uses your car’s colour code, then you should follow these necessary steps:
- Clean the affected area and apply a primer.
- Wait for the primer to dry completely.
- Pump the pen in order to produce the paint and wipe off any excess paint before applying it to the car.
- Apply a base coat of paint.
- Wait for the base coat to dry.
- Apply a top coat over the base coat.
Note: Do not conduct the repair in an area with poor weather conditions as this can affect the finished look
Do car scratch pens really work?
Although they seem like magic applicators that will save you bucks in the long run, these pens can actually be very fiddly and it is highly unlikely that you will achieve a well-polished look.
These pens can also sometimes emphasise rather than disguise scratches – the opposite of what we want!
We have to stress that when cars suffer deep scratching, we recommend seeking the services of a professional car body technician who can deal with it efficiently. It can be a risky venture trying to fix scratches if you have no prior experience or a set of specialist tools.