Car paint scratches are inevitable, but you do not have to pay a body shop lots of money to repaint every scratch. Depending on the size of the scratch or chip that you have, it can be a do-it-yourself job or having to go to the professionals. Any ding over a nickel or scratch that is wider then a pencil eraser, is better left to the professionals.
Tip 1: Locate exact-matching paint.
One of the biggest things in a do-it-yourself scratch / chip repair is getting the right color. You can obtain the right color from your local car dealer. It's even easier online, where you can order a bottle of paint in about 5 minutes and have it in your hands within a week. To find you proper color the first place to look is the door jamb of the driver or passenger side. If not there, a few other places to look are the glove box, trunk, or under the hood near or on firewall. Color codes vary depending on make or model. Just because you bought a "cosmic galactic green" does not mean that name is what the car company named it the next year or another car company did not take the same name, but it is completely different color. The color code is very important in ensuring you get the right color and can vary from 2 numbers and letters, up to 7 numbers and letters and all combinations in-between.
Tip 2: Test your color match before beginning your repair.
Once you selected the proper color code now is a time to see if it's a match for your car. You can do a few things here. Try just a tiny spot in an inconspicuous place, trunk, under the hood, door jamb, or apply the paint on a piece of sheet metal. If it matches time to prep your car.
Tip 3: Clean first, for permanent results.
Completely wash your car; you never know when a scratch is hiding under some road grime. You will want to use a soap that will remove any wax residue like Dawn, due to the PH balance. You are going to want to make sure the area you are going to fix is thoroughly clean so go over it again with window cleaner or a wax / grease remover.
Tip 4: Dab, do not stroke, for best results.
When applying the paint it is best to be out of direct sunlight and a mild 70 degree does best. The cooler it is the longer dry times will be and the sun can give you an uneven look to your repair. With automotive paint a little goes a long way, so if you need you can add a second coat after allowing the first coat to dry takes at least 30 minutes. When applicable, dabbing is recommended so that it does not leave stroke marks. Try to just apply the paint to the affected areas, and be as tidy as possible. If you make a mistake, remove unwanted paint with nail polish remover and repeat.
Tip 5: Polish your paint to blend in your repair.
Let the repair completely cure for a couple of days then wash wax and polish the car paying special attention to the area you touched up. If everything went well you should have a scratch that is almost undetectable and blend in with the existing paint. The remaining paint can be reused for future use. Keep it in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight it will last longer than keeping it in your car.