Why Do People Key Cars?

Keying is an unfortunate act which many of us will probably have experienced at some point with our beloved cars. From time to time we get calls from personal car leasing and business car leasing customers wondering what to do next. You pop out to the shop or walk out to your car in the morning to find that there is a long or deep set of scratches that have blatantly been caused by someone else. It costs a lot to fix these scratches and it's incredibly infuriating, but why exactly do people do it?

We've conducted a list of some of the reasons as to why individuals key cars, whilst also explaining how you can get the problem fixed, and what crime keying is classified as. So if you are thinking of keying somebody's car think again as it's against the law and incredibly frowned upon.

Why Do People Key Cars? 


Angry man


Jealously is probably the key reason as to why people key cars and it's incredibly petty. There will always be people in this world who are jealous of what somebody else has and unfortunately, as they can't have it, would rather ruin it for the other person instead. It's also very common for expensive performance cars and supercars to be keyed.

By Accident

It may be hard to believe, but you may find that some keying incidents are caused by accident. This could happen where somebody is holding a fairly sharp object like their keys, and are completely unaware of their surroundings and unfortunately catch a car with the sharp object. In busy town centres, where cars are next to the pavement and there are big crowds, you may find that there is very little space, which unfortunately may lead to being pushed towards a vehicle. Even the likes of cornered objects in shopping bags could cause damage to the paint if brushed alongside a car; with the person holding the bag having no idea.


As we all know, being drunk leads to some situations that we all regret, kissing the wrong person, making a mockery of yourself, name-calling, it all unfortunately happens after a few beers in town. If somebody has way too much to drink and is being incredibly stupid, they may take it upon themselves to key a vehicle.


Unfortunately, there are people in this world who have every intention to cause damage to property and vehicles as they actually like being vandals. If a vandal keys your car it would be a mindless act.


It has been found that keying incidents have been caused due to frustrated individuals who are annoyed by the way in which you drive or by something you have done whilst driving. Like if you were to take up two parking bays, park in a disabled space, or take a parent and child's space, some people may take it upon themselves to inflict damage to your vehicle.


Some people have feud's with one another, whether it's due to issues from your childhood or problems with a neighbour, conflict is an incredibly common thing. You may find that some people take it too far and end up keying your car in revenge or vexation.

How To Prevent Your Car Getting Keyed

  • Park in a well-lit area where you can easily see your vehicle
  • Consider installing CCTV at your property
  • Be courteous to other drivers (do not make a driver angry for them to be reckless and break the law)
  • Leave space between your car and other cars which are parked close to you
  • Park near cameras

How To Fix A Keyed Car

spray paint can

There are a variety of different tips and tricks used for hiding or fixing scratches inflicted by keys on your car. However, if you would like the problem completely resolved and back to normal, then you must make sure to take your vehicle to either a specialist or garage where they can then either replace the parts or fix the mark themselves. It all depends on how deep the scratch is and the amount of scratching that has taken place.

If you would like to save some money, you can minimize the scratch mark yourself with some DIY tricks, however, this may not fully resolve the problem. You must always bear in mind that a specialist will always get the job done properly and that you may actually make the scratch worse as a result of doing the job yourself.

  • Make sure to wash the affected area to avoid rubbing dirt and grit even further into the scratched area. You can use toothpaste with a microfibre cloth on the scratched area and gently rub it in. You may find that you need to apply a few applications of toothpaste, but the technique does surprisingly work.
  • Use a scratch removal product on the car.
  • Use a black marker/different coloured marker pen/spray paint to touch up or minimize the harsh look of the scratch. It will all depend on the colour of paint on your car, and it will not last forever, so use this as a temporary resort. It also is dependant on the size and deepness of the scratch itself.

What Crime Is Keying Classed As?

Intentional Vandalism is the act of damaging or destroying something with intention and keying a car would be classified as this particular criminal act. Vandalism is classed under antisocial behaviour. (ASBO)

What Penalty Would You Get For It ?

The penalty for vandalism can include a jail sentence of up to a maximum of five-years or most commonly a fine of up to £5,000.

Someone Scratched My Car And Didn't Leave A Note

If somebody has scratched your car by accident, you may find that they have left a note on your windscreen with their contact details attached for you to get in touch with them. On the contrary, if someone has scratched your car and didn't leave a note, it was most probably done on purpose. If this happens, you should try and get camera footage of them committing the crime, or try and figure out who may have done it. 

What Happens If Somebody Keys a Lease Car?

Unfortunately, if somebody keys your lease car there isn't must you can do about it; especially if you have no evidence of somebody committing the crime. You'll have to get the car repaired yourself before handing the car back to the finance company due to the fact that all lease cars must be returned back in their original state. The best course of action to prevent this happening is to follow some of our tips on how to prevent your car from getting keyed, or try and found out who keyed your car with photographic evidence, produced from either a camera hidden in your car or CCTV outside. You can then claim money from them to fix the problem. 

Related Pages

Personal Leasing Page

Car Leasing Care - Dents and Scratches

Returning A Damaged Lease Car

Car Leasing