scratch in paintwork - where do I go from here?


Hello all!
Some lovely neighbour of mine has scratched my Charade's (2004) metallic paint with his (or her?) key - all along three doors there is now a bright metal line.

I asked my garage what to do best and all they were willing to say is that it can'tbe polished out and that they will post me an estimate for respraying the doors. I can tell that will be expensive without having received the estimate yet. I am comprehensively insured (Norwich Union) but fear loosing that little bit of no-claims bonus that I do have.

Now the real question is whether it is OK to just paint this over with my touch-up stick?

I know it won't LOOK 100%, but will it last? The stick says it is for "temporary" repairs only. And before I face the risk of rust, I will rather go down the insurance route.

So do you think it will rust if I use a touch-up on the scratches? Or will it just show that this car has an owner who isn't too bothered about the paint? (And I don't mean that I am not bothered about the car, just not the paint really.)

Thanks for any help & suggestions.

scratched paintwork

The problem with undertaking the repair yourself is that it will then remove the insurance claim option, so if it doesn’t look right in the end you will have to pay for the respray.

You can consider spraying full panels yourself, but the preparation, without the use of a double action sander, is very time consuming, and materials are not cheap. Primer, base coat, top coat, solvents, assorted grit papers, sanding block, compound, masking tape, etc: it all adds up. Then there’s the time and skill to do it.

It is possible to remove scratches from paint provided the underlying metal has not been damaged. The polish company Mer do a scratch removal kit, with video, applicators, compounding mop, grit paper etc. I have seen it demonstrated on QVC and I think they sell in Halfords.

Dents are best left to professional dent removal companies like Dent Direct.

You are than left with the problem of paint matching, which itself can be a problem even if you are using the correct manufacturer codes. This is why a good commercial spray shop will blend into adjacent panels (if needed) so that there is no distinct line of old and new paint. The Standox web site has some interesting stuff about refinishing, and places where you can buy commercial paint etc if you have problems getting a match:

Provided the sub surface is free of rust, and the paint is applied properly, then future rust should not be a problem.

Everyone has to start somewhere, but the car is nearly new. The repair will be picked up by the trade when you try to sell it, and will probably result in a lower price being offered. If you decide to try I would suggest that you pick a little area first and finish it completely before moving on to the rest. That way you can judge whether you will be happy with the result. Even if the current job proves to be too big at least you will then have some knowledge to tackle smaller jobs in future.


Thanks for all the info!

As I tried to say earlier, I am not too bothered about appearance. If it doesn't look right, it doesn't matter. And I don't think I will be able to afford selling the car in the next 6 or 7 years. Luckily there are no dents.

But what I do worry about it that it will rust. I can see the metal on the scratch.

Really I don't think I can sand the door down and do it myself. Just not enough of a diy person. But I can apply some touch up stick. I can do that over and over. But will it rust? Will it wear off?


For rust (iron oxide) to form you need: iron (the car), water and oxygen (air). As soon as the paint is removed and the iron is exposed to the air, then rusting occurs. What paint does is stop the water and oxygen getting to the iron. If you put on a paint that is formulated to stick to metal, and stops water and oxygen from passing through it, then rusting is stopped. Car primer on its own is not formulated to do that job, and rapidly breaks down without a proper top coat. All paint will break down over time. Touch-up paints are really intended for small chips, and scratches. They do work, but often seem to breakdown before the rest of the panel. If that happens you usually just sand down to bare metal and start again. If you fail to clean and degrease the area thoroughly the paint will not stick. Even the grease from a careless contact with the hand is enough to prevent proper bonding. The touch-up kits of the type Halfords sell tend to give full instructions and the items needed for a reasonable result. You will need additional items such as a can of panel degreaser.

Even if you were good at DIY, considering that the car is nearly new, I would still suggest getting a quote form a couple of professional paint companies, and work out exactly what an insurance claim will actually cost. A claim may work out cheaper in the long run, or the damage may be easier to repair than you think. I know it depends where you live, but with a professional touch up, rather than a panel respray, the cost in paint will be minimal; the labour should not be too excessive, and the finish will be better than you are likely to achieve on your own.