Paint restoration and scratch removal.
"Removal of scratches"
Every car suffers from scratches to the paint work. From a brush with a hedge or bush on a tight country lane, to a deliberately keyed panel there are lots of potential scratches to be removed.
Your fist step is to determine how deep the scratch is. Run your fingernail over the scratch to determine if it is only a surface scratch. If your fingernail snags on the scratch then it is deep. If not and your fingernail goes straight over it you have a light scratch.
Once you know what sort of scratch you are dealing with you can go about removing it.
Repairing light scratches
These light surface scratches can be easily removed with the use of an abrasive paste. This is usually labelled as a "polish" or "cutting paste". It contains small abrasive particles and these restore the shine to dull scratches. Some scratches are the result of paint deposits from another vehicle. A polish will remove these taking it back to the original paint finish.
Various grades of polish are available so select the grade based
Most scratches though are just rough areas in the clear lacquer and as soon as these rough areas are polished out they will effectively disappear.
Polishes remove a thin layer of paint, it is the nature of the abrasive process. If you do this too much you will eventually wear right through the paint.
As paint gets older it experiences oxidisation and the colour will deteriorate. When you treat a scratch it can restore the colour of the paint around the scratch so you'll need to gradually work outwards, smoothing the colour change.
When you've finished with the polish you should apply a good quality wax to protect the paint.
The swirls you get in paint work which are caused by washing the car from grit in your sponge can also be removed with a polish. You can't do this too often though as you will wear away the paint eventually.
Repairing deep scratches.
Deeper scratches can be right down to the metal or base coat. Whilst the appearance of many of these can be improved by polishing your only real solution is to apply some paint.
Spray paints are useful for covering larger areas. If there is a lot of deep metal damage you may have to build this up with filler or a high build primer before applying the paint. (See our paintshop tips for a guide on how to apply car paint)
For thin and long scratches, just mask off the area either side of the scratch and use a touch up pen to fill the scratch with paint. Build this up in a few layers and leave it slightly proud of the paint surface.
Allow plenty of time for the paint to dry between applications and then allow a couple of days for it to harden.
Next you'll need to use a fine grit grade of wet and dry paper and small sanding block (a pencil eraser works quite well). Gently rub this over the new paint taking it back to be level with the rest of the paint. Make sure you frequently wet the paper as it gives a better finish and doesn't get clogged up so easily.
This sanding process may affect the surrounding paint work but don't worry the next step will match it all in again.
Now use the polish or cutting paste as directed in the "light scratch removal" section on the area to blend everything in.
Please note that metallic paints can be very hard to match up. They are best applied in very very thin coats and you must shake the paint container very thoroughly each time.
Remember that nearly all modern car paints, touch up pens and sprays, should be finished with a clear lacquer coat.
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