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My Ford Focus seems to attract scratches quite badly, and it got to the point that I would like to try and fix them. All of them are rather small, resulting from parking in bushes, careless opening of doors, etc. The metal is not bent, so I would think it should be enough to just paint them over.

There are two types of scratches:

  1. Deeper ones, as if someone used a sharp object and just made a cut. They are all the way to the metal, have sharp edges but are very narrow (1-2mm)
  2. Wider ones, that don't actually go all the way to the metal, don't have sharp edges, but still are visible (e.g. when another car touched our with his side mirror).

I already bought matching paint, but I don't know how to apply it, so that the results are best.

  1. How should I prepare the surface?
  2. What tools should I use to apply the paint?
  3. Should I do anything after the paint has dried?

I would appreciate detailed answers, because I am complete newbe in this area.

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Did you just buy one of those little bottles of touch up paint? That is a different process than if you are going to respray part of the car. –  Ukko May 7 '13 at 16:49

2 Answers 2

If the wider scratches are just surface scratches, you may be able to make them disappear by polishing/buffing the area using a suitable polishing or rubbing compound. Some of these products are specifically labeled as "scratch removers." Make sure the product you choose is labeled as clear coat safe. Essentially you want to bring the level of the surrounding paint/clear coat down to the level of the scratch. This requires no painting, and can give great results (better than applying more paint on top).

If what you bought is a nail-polish-type bottle of touch-up paint,

touch-up paint

it can be very hard indeed to make a good repair of a deep scratch. This type of paint/applicator is good for fixing stone chips and such. Just follow the prep and painting instructions that came with the paint. Really I think of this as just being about getting some paint onto the body to avoid future rust. It never ends up blending very well with the surrounding paint in my experience.

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You're going to need a compressor with a paint attachment if you want to do it properly. You're going to need to

  1. sand down the scratch
  2. smooth the area with a very fine grain sandpaper
  3. spray a coat of paint
  4. let paint dry
  5. repeat steps 2 to 4
  6. apply one or more layers of clear coat

I would suggest taking your car to a body shop and asking them how they would go about doing it + how much they're going to charge you. It should give you the best idea about how to go about it and how much effort it's going to be.

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