How to remove scratches from motorcycle paint

Written by april dowling
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How to remove scratches from motorcycle paint
Scratched paint ruins the appearance of motorcycles. (motorcycle image by Bionic Media from Fotolia.com)

Maintaining a motorcycle's paint finish preserves the bike's overall aesthetic appeal. Flying rocks and road debris are common sources of scratches in motorcycle paint. Washing or waxing motorcycles with abrasive cleaning materials can also cause paint to become scratched. The longer scratches remain, the more exposed the motorcycle is to the elements. Untreated scratches can eventually cause the motorcycle to rust. Promptly remove scratches to restore and preserve a motorcycle's shiny appearance. Fortunately, basic supplies can effectively remove scratches from motorcycle paint.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Garden hose
  • Motorcycle cleaner
  • Microfiber rag
  • Shoe polish paste
  • Microfiber applicator pad
  • Plastic bowl
  • 1 cup cold water
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Ultra fine 3000-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Rubber sanding block
  • 3 terry cloth towels
  • Polishing compound
  • 3 microfiber cloths
  • Swirl mark eliminator compound
  • Auto paste wax
  • 3-inch wax applicator pad

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Park the motorcycle in a shaded area away from sunlight. Allow the bike to completely cool.

  2. 2

    Spray the motorcycle with water from a garden hose to rinse off loose grime. Do not spray water into the exhaust pipe.

  3. 3

    Spray motorcycle cleaner onto the affected paint. Follow the manufacturer's directions on the product's label. Wipe the paint with a microfiber rag to remove bug debris, bird droppings and other road grime.

  4. 4

    Spray the painted surface with water from the garden hose to wash away the soapy solution and grime. Allow the bike to thoroughly air-dry.

  5. 5

    Apply shoe polish paste to a microfiber applicator pad. Wipe the pad over the paint to fill the scratch with polish. Use a colour of polish that contrasts with the paint for visibility purposes.

  6. 6

    Fill a plastic bowl with one cup of cold water. Add three drops of liquid dish soap to the water. Thoroughly mix the solution.

  7. 7

    Place ultra-fine 3000-grit wet/dry sandpaper on a rubber sanding block. Dip the sanding block in the bowl of soapy water.

  8. 8

    Hold the sanding block at a 60-degree angle to the scratch. Slowly sand along the length of the scratch using short, light strokes. Frequently dip the sanding block in the soapy water to keep the sandpaper wet. Continue to sand until the contrasting marks vanish.

  9. 9

    Dry the sanded surface with a terry cloth towel. Apply a bead of polishing compound along the length of the scratch. Buff the painted surface with a microfiber cloth using circular motions until the polishing compound is completely dissolved.

  10. 10

    Spray the painted surface with water from the garden hose to rinse away any remaining compound residue. Thoroughly dry the paint with a clean terry cloth towel.

  11. 11

    Apply swirl mark eliminator compound directly to the painted surface. Follow the manufacturer's directions on the product's label. Buff the painted surface with a clean microfiber cloth using circular motions until the compound is completely dissolved.

  12. 12

    Apply auto paste wax to a three-inch wax applicator pad. Coat the painted surface with an even layer of wax. Allow the wax to dry for the amount of time recommended by the wax manufacturer.

  13. 13

    Wipe away the wax residue with a clean terry cloth towel. Buff the painted surface with a microfiber cloth using circular motions.

Tips and warnings

  • You can substitute an oscillating polisher for the microfiber cloths. Operate the polisher according to the manufacturer's directions.
  • Do not use a pressure washer; the high water pressure can damage motorcycle paint.
  • Use products and techniques recommended by your motorcycle manufacturer to prevent damaging the paint finish.

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