Fine 'Scratch' Lines

  1. My model of MX-5 is: 2004 NB FL Sport__
  2. I’m based near: Towcester
  3. I’m looking for technical help or recommendations on: Fine ‘Scratch’ marks to paintwork.

My MX5 is finished in Radiant Ebony Colour, with Laquer finish. The paintwork is quite difficult to, ‘look after / maintain’, as just the slightest contact with a foreign object will result in a fine, white, (primer /base coat?) mark, standing out against the dark finish.
The resultant, lines are far too fine to attempt to mask with any form of, stone chip / touch up paint.
Has anyone out there experienced similar and if so, has anyone attempted to mask with something like the ‘Color Polish’ that used to be around, back in the 1980’s?

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Hi. All paintwork has a clear coat finish which is clear. In your case what is showing are ‘Swirl Marks’ which are easy to inflict in Mazda thin and soft paint. It will need machine polishing and finishing with a Ceramic Sealant which will help to prevent them again. The so called 'Color Polish you are referring to is horrendous stuff and does nothing. Please ditch the notion! It fills some scratches and washes away in days
I suggest you contact a Car Detailer and get a price for a full Detail and Ceramic Coat. It will look brand new again. Shame youre not near Bradford… Good luck

I’m no expert but the colour match polish is worth a go, I used it on a red Citroen I had years ago ,it helped to a point, but MX5 paint is apparently soft so you need to be careful what you apply and how aggressive you are with it.
I’m sure there are members who know more about this than me , and will offer more advice.

Quick test. If you wet the scratch, does it ‘disappear’? If so, you have a minor scratch to the clear coat which can easily be polished out. You could be bold and go to ultra fine sand paper, but TCUT, or ScratchX are a lot gentler and safer. Then a Polish is even finer to cut and smooth the surface. When all is well, a top layer of wax or sealant will finish the job.

If the scratch is still visible when wet, then you are into deeper repair, be that touch up or proper bodyshop repair.

Coloured Polish will do no harm, but won’t fix a scratch. It may mask it enough to not worry about it though. It simply helps hide the scratch rather than removing it.

As ChrisRs says it needs a machine polish.
I tried various methods to try and remove the very same type of marks (swirls) in the paint and failed.
For small areas or one off scratches you can remove them with polish (Autoglym) and plenty of effort but large areas like bonnet and boot lids it’s pretty hopeless cause.
I had a detailer out to mine, took him all day to get it back to a new like condition. Even now around 5-6 years on it still gleams in the sun, it does get a good deal of pampering but only your normal wash, polish and a wax.

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Hello ChrisRs,

Many thanks for your reply to mine regarding those scratch lines. I appreciate your comments, etc. You were not to know this, as you haven’t seen my car, but I understand and recognise, ‘Swirl Marks’, but my car is parked in a narrow drive way, so anyone walking to the house, with shopping bags, or other, unless they take real care, will brush against the offside of the car and it is only that side which carries the fine, white, scratch marks. I am extremely careful, when washing, or polishing the car, to avoid picking up any fine debris onto sponges, chamois leathers, or polishing cloths. Additionally, those fine lines are absolutely parallel to the ground, rather than circular.
However, I do appreciate you taking time to respond.

Hello Bosley,
Many thanks for your input, which is greatly appreciated.


Hello McTrucky,

I appreciate your response, many thanks, I am a great fan on ‘Meguairs?’ and have already applied ScratchX and their three part , Cleaner, Polish and Carnuba Wax, sadly with little improvement.
I understand that the Color Polish’s are not permanent, but I have to accept that the cost of a professional , ‘Detailer’, or Body Shop, are beyond my means, at present, so I believe a short term , ‘masking’ / ‘camouflaging’, is the best I can settle for.
Thanks again,

No problem

I bought some velcro attached Foam pads with backing plate for about a tenner and used a battery powered drill to Polish out a lot of scratches on mine.

This was much more successful than doing it by hand.

I know everyone will say you need a dual action machine to machine Polish, but I already had a drill and being sensible was able to get good results without causing any hot spots.

I was addressing multiple areas of minor scratches, and reckon I removed around 50% of them completely, and made a significant improvement to the appearance of the others.

First pass used ScratchX, second pass used Autoglym Super Resin Polish, which has a filling agent. This can be applied, buffed and re-applied to built up the filler into scratches. Then you can leave it or apply a top layer. I have tried Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection which seems fine. Wax paste, which is a nightmare to use (at least for me using it on warm metal where it drys hard too quickly) and my favourite Gtechiq liquid crystal v3
The C2V3 stuff is great. Just dampen a cloth with it and wipe all over, dries on and gives a great finish for no effort.

I have previously watched videos of using fine sanding paper to cut through the scratches, and tried this, but going the drill applied ScratchX, AutoglymSRP, wipe on C2V3 route has given me the best results.

Whatever you do DO NOT be tempted to use “T-Cut” or anything of that ilk as they will MURDER your MX-5’s paintwork!!!

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My one year old MX5 has three areas where I have scuff marks. It’s almost like you’ve only got to say to the car watch out for scratches and the next time you look there’s another one. I have no idea where mine came from as it is kept in a garage but I guess half an hour in a car park and there’s another one. My question is, I am taking it to one of these scuff/chips away places but what can I do afterwards to give a tougher protection to the paint? Diamondbrite maybe?

A Ceramic coating will help to protect against light scratches
Many types and durabilities out there
Best onesI have used are ‘Gyeon’ , ‘Gtechniq’ and 'Kamikazi ’ Best applied after a full machine polish by a Pro Detailer, but you can DIY if you know what youre doing

Couple of points, Mazda paint is really thin and prone to scratches however easily fixed. If you don’t now the history of the car/ paint go to a detailer who will measure the paint for you if they are any good.

Personally on mine I have completed a two stage approach with a very fine cut and then a polish. On top of that I used chem guys buttermilk glaze and the whole car gleams. The glaze will fill in the very fine scratches so the sun does not highlight the mark.

A two stage I would recommend if you paint is thick enough and if you do t know what you are doing take it to detailer. ShineOn highly recommend Paul Townsend the only guy I would let touch my car not cheap but amazing results

Once again, many thanks for all who replied to my issue regarding fine scratch marks on paintwork. Interesting to read about MX5’s , ‘soft’ paint - when I’m using my, ‘Henry’ to vacuum out the interior. If I’m not careful and let the convoluted hose rub onto the paintwork, then I’m left with hose , ‘imprints’ on the paintwork, requiring further application of ‘Mequairs?’ Cleaner, Polish and Carnuba Wax!
Slightly more serious issues to challenge me now, which I will post under a new , ‘Topic’.

If the scratches show white it’s still likely they are in the clear coat only, whether they are swirls or straight lines. Marks in the clear coat can look white, it’s unlikely they will be deep enough to go to base coat.
If you don’t fancy getting a proper DA polisher and having a go yourself (look on you tube plenty of how to do it videos) then get a detailer to do it. You will be amazed at the results.

One tip is once it’s clear of swirls, scratches etc, don’t use a polish. By nature all ‘polishes’ are abrasive. Just use a wax, glaze or ceramic coating that isn’t abrasive.

For all you need to know about cleaning, polishing, detailing etc.

Hello Steeve,
Apologise for very tardy response time. Your comments are appreciated and I will follow them up. My scratch lines are straight, through careless contact from unknown others! Not swirl marks.
I am always very careful when washing the car , to prevent abrasive particles from getting embedded in the cloths or chamois leather. Additionally, I typically use Meguiars products, which they suggest do not depend upon abrasives to clean and protect. I have, however used ‘Swirl X’ and ‘Scratch X’.
Thanks again and I’ll check , ‘detailing world’