How to Repair Scratched Aluminum

Written by owen e. richason iv
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Aluminium can become scratched and dull over time. No matter where you find aluminium -- on boats, cars, trucks, motorcycle rims or anywhere else -- scratching and dulling are bound to happen. Keeping aluminium free of scratches takes a bit of elbow grease and a few common hand tools. When repairing scratched aluminium, exercise caution so that you don't damage the metal itself or create new scratches.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Cloths
  • Towels
  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • 1200-grit sandpaper
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Aluminium polish
  • Brush

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  1. 1

    Clean the surface of the aluminium with dish soap and warm water, using a clean cloth. Rinse with water and dry with a towel. Rinse out the bucket and refill with fresh water.

  2. 2

    Dip 400-grit sandpaper into the water, lightly dampening it. Begin to sand away the scratch in a gentle, circular pattern, not pressing down. This will begin to "erase" the scratch. Continue to dampen the sandpaper as necessary, then wipe dry with a towel to remove all dust.

  3. 3

    Refresh the water in the bucket by pouring out the old water and refilling the bucket. Lightly moisten the 600-grit sandpaper using the fresh water and continue sanding the scratch on the aluminium with gentle, circular strokes. This will remove the scratch. Re-wet the sandpaper as needed.

  4. 4

    Rinse the bucket and refill. Sand the scratch with dampened 1200-grit sandpaper but do not sand in a circular motion. Instead, sand gently in one direction only. This will finish the aluminium. Wipe dry with a towel.

  5. 5

    Apply a thin, even layer of aluminium polish with a brush or cloth. Dry as long as suggested by the manufacturer. Polish with a microfiber cloth to make the aluminium shine.

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