For the purposes of this demonstration, I’ll be working on a scrap panel hood I use to practice compounding and polishing techniques. First, I’ll use a screwdriver to mimic the damaged caused by a tree branch, shopping cart or bicycle handle. These scratches are usually deep and require more than just a simple touch-up. To start, clean out the scratch with rubbing alcohol to remove any leftover wax, especially if the gouge occurred after a recent wax or sealant session.
Due to the severe depth of the scratch, touch-up will not be effective or efficient when filling in the crater. For this, glazing spot putty will fill the void or crater before applying touch-up on top of the dry putty. Squeeze a bit of putty next to the scratch, then use a small squeegee to spread the putty into the scratch and allow the glaze to dry for two to three minutes. Once dry, wrap a shop towel around a foam wet sanding block, and apply liquid paint leveler to the towel.
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The leveler will remove the putty surrounding the scratch, but leave the excess putty within the scratch. Gently wipe the towel across the putty to remove small sections at a time. Use light pressure as the goal is to leave the scratch full of putty and it may take you a few minutes to get this done properly. When done, the scratch should look like a thin red line the length of the original damage. Next, use touch-up paint from your dealership or specialized online retailers and a very fine brush.
Apply the paint to the red putty by dabbing, not brushing or wiping. Cover the area with a thin, light coat and allow it to dry overnight. If more touch-up if required, add one thinner coat or simply apply clear coat on top of the dry touch-up paint. The main purpose of touch-up, especially for deep scratches is to protect the paint from future corrosion, however, if done correctly, the by-product of this process cosmetically makes the scratch less annoying to look at.