Examine the scratch to see if there's still colour left in the groove. Yes? Good - you've only scraped the clearcoat, a finish that protects the paint from sunlight and gives it that glossy sheen. You'll be able to fix it yourself, says Dennis Parks, the author of The Complete Guide to Auto Body Repair.
First, buy a clearcoat polishing compound. Two good ones are Turtle Wax or Meguiar's. Using a soft cloth dabbed in the compound, buff out the scratch, using circular motions.
If the scratch has chipped the paint, clean the area with a wax and grease remover. This removes crud and will help the new paint stick.
Next, pick up a bottle of touch-up paint at a local auto-parts store. (Colours are typically broken down by manufacturer, but for the exact shade, find the tag on your car that lists the paint number. The staff at the store can help you.)
Apply the paint in light coats, allowing it to dry in-between. When you've covered the scratch, let the paint dry for at least 24 hours. Moisten a piece of 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper and gently smooth out any bumps, ripples or runs. Finally, rub on some automotive wax. Smile, and inspect your teeth in the reflection.
May 16, 2012