How to Repair a Motorcycle Scratch

Written by dan gaz
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How to Repair a Motorcycle Scratch
Repair scratches in your motorcycle's paint before they turn to rust. (surface of the metal with rust and scratch image by Dzmitry Lameika from

Whether your motorcycle is a Harley-Davidson or a Ducati, or any number of bikes in between, there's one horror that is always on your mind: The dreaded paint scratch. Depending on the severity of your scratch or gouge, it can be repaired to look as good as new using a few items found in your local hardware store.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Dark shoe polish
  • Block sander (2000-grit wet/dry)
  • Small container/bottle of water
  • Rubbing compound
  • Polishing wheel with buff polisher
  • Automobile wax
  • Clean, dry rags

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  1. 1

    Using a clean rag, apply dark shoe polish over the affected areas. This will bring out the obvious scratches, as well as any that might not be as deep or wide.

  2. 2

    Block sand the scratches, but use copious amounts of water when sanding. This reduces the scratches and will allow for an easier reduction in scratches later on in the process.

  3. 3

    Liberally apply rubbing compound to the newly-sanded area so as to cover any and all existing scratches or gouges completely.

  4. 4

    Lightly buff the rubbing compound using your polishing wheel. It is crucial that you don't set the speed too high, as increased RPMs can buff through to the next layer of paint.

  5. 5

    Using another dry, clean rag, hand buff the remainder of the rubbing compound around the scratched area. Finish off the area by applying car wax and buffing it out with a clean, dry rag.

Tips and warnings

  • There might be times when your motorcycle shows a "scratch" that is actually rubber or paint from another vehicle touching your motorcycle's paint job. To easily remove these blemishes, simply rub the area with adhesive remover or acetone on a soft, dry rag.

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