So, you were trying to squeeze into a tiny gap at the Supermarket because some guy in a Transit van parked across two spaces and you really needed a loaf of bread? Don't worry, at Compact Cars, we've got you covered with this step-by-step guide that'll get your scratch repaired, maybe before your spouse even notices it's there.
Anatomy of a Scratch
You need to identify the depth; a scratch that only removes clear coat is quite easy to deal with whilst one that's removed colour or primer can be a little more difficult (read: time-consuming).
Finding the Factory Paint Code
Break the factory paint code - don't worry you don't need to be Alan Turing. Simply search the car for the colour plate: focus on stickers, plaques and the doorsill as they're common places. It might be worth checking out the habits of you car maker; BMW, for instance, tends to put the code under the hood whereas Toyota favours the driver's door sill. If you're struggling it's worth taking to the net to streamline the process.
Clear Coat Scratch
If you're here, your scratch didn't even hit the colour and you're dealing with a clear coat scratch. You won't need paint but you will need caution because this is fixed by polishing:
You'll be left with a dull patch
Apply compound and polish off with a microfibre cloth
Once the area is clean and you've got pad-in-hand it's time to polish. Give it at least 2 dozen strokes before buffing the area and surveying what you've done and whether it needs to be done again. It's important to be cautious and this stage and not just keep going without stopping to take a look because it is possible to over do it.
Base Coat/Primer Scratch
If you're here, you weren't so lucky. Take the factory paint code you found earlier and go to your favourite parts shop and match it up. Note: If you're repairing a primer scratch start by brushing in primer and sanding it to the bottom of the scratch.