How can I touch up the scratches on my new car's paint job and make it look professionally done?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a brand-new Mazda 626, which my daughter and I have managed to
scratch. At the 5,000-mile service, the dealer wanted $900 to fix the
scratches. I opted for the $3.50 bottle of touch-up paint. The mechanic
told me that the appearance won't be good. I told him for $896.50 in my
account, it will look just FINE! Unfortunately, my wife picked up the car
and also heard the opinion of the mechanic, so I'm under the gun to make it
look good. The color is Mojave Beige, and the scratches are on the driver's
side from sideswiping our garage. There isn't any body damage, but some of
the wood paint scraped onto the car. I need your advice as to how to get a
decent result. Thanks. -- Harvey

TOM: Well, you and I are philosophical soul mates, Harvey. People get too
worked up about how their cars look, don't they? Personally, I find it
liberating to get that first scratch on a new car. In fact, I think cars
should come "pre-scratched." Wouldn't that be great!

RAY: Yeah. And Harvey and his daughter can get jobs doing the
"pre-scratching." Unfortunately, Harvey's problem is not with his car's
paint anymore. It's with his wife's opinion of the car's paint. So you're
absolutely right, Harvey. No matter how little you care about it -- you've
got to make it look good.

TOM: In that case, I'd take a two-step approach. First, I'd take the car to
a body shop and ask them to compound and buff out the area you scratched.
Car paint is pretty tough stuff. And it's likely that most of what you're
seeing is the paint from the garage that's covering the Mojave Beige.
Removing that garage paint and buffing out the area around it might solve
most of the problem.

RAY: If that doesn't work, then you can always call your insurance company.
That's what insurance is for. Even though you caused the scrape yourself,
you're probably still covered.

TOM: If not, you can always try to claim it on your homeowner's policy.
Tell them the garage hit you!

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