Regardless of how safe a driver you are, it's likely that your vehicle will get scratched at some point. Light scratches can sometimes be buffed out, but deeper scratches need to be addressed immediately -- otherwise your vehicle could sustain additional damage.

How At-Home Scratch Repair Kits Work

At-home scratch repair kits generally consist of a liquid, clear epoxy. This epoxy adheres to the surface in a way that refracts the light, thereby making it appear as though the scratch is no longer there. The process of using an at-home scratch repair kit is generally fairly simple: you just rub the liquid onto the scratch, buff it, and allow it to set. The liquid will settle within the scratch.

The Benefits of At-Home Scratch Repair Kits

Most at-home scratch kits will make the scratches nearly invisible. If someone isn't looking for the scratch, they won't be able to see it. Further, at-home repair kits are fairly easy to use; they don't require any additional tools and they're extremely affordable. For those who are primarily concerned about the appearance of their vehicle, a scratch repair kit could be sufficient.

The Drawbacks of At-Home Scratch Repair Kits

At-home repair kits usually don't last very long. They're more of a temporary fix than a permanent one. But the larger issue is that the scratched area is not necessarily protected. Paint serves more of a purpose than simply keeping the vehicle attractive: it protects the structure of the vehicle from potential damage, such as rust. An at-home repair kit could potentially cause issues by damaging the surrounding paint or by exposing the vehicle to the environment.

Though a scratch kit may be virtually invisible when used on small scratches, it cannot hide chipped paint or very deep scratches. Because the paint has no tint of its own, it can only be used for shorter, shallower damage. It may also be visible in vehicles with unique types of paint, such as high gloss or glitter paint.

Scratch repair kits are not intended as a permanent solution, even though they may state that they are long-lasting. Though an at-home repair kit can make a vehicle look better short-term, it will ultimately need to be repaired by an auto body expert. At-home kits can be dangerous if they are used as a permanent solution because they can cause significant damage to a car. A body shop should be consulted any time paint has been penetrated, to avoid these issues.