Regardless of how careful you are with your motorcycle, scratches, chips, and damage can happen. Learning how to remove bike scratches will give you a little peace of mind knowing you can fix this type of minor damage by following a few simple steps. While the process can depend on the type of paint job you have, taking care of this type of damage on your own can end up saving you hundreds of dollars. Following the proper steps and using the right paint kit and bike stand, you can get the job done in under an hour.
Common Causes of Paint Job Damage
You might be washing your bike one day and notice some large scratches in your paint job. In most cases, bike scratches occur due to pieces of flying road debris or gravel that strike your bike as you ride. Pieces of road debris and gravel can do some serious damage to a bike’s finish. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid them. If you tend to ride your bike on gravelly areas or unpaved roads, then your bike is no stranger to scratches.
Repairing scratches on your motorcycle can end up costing hundreds of dollars. Most riders fork over the cash, only to get more scratches on their bike the next time they ride. Instead of paying these high prices to repair scratches, the best step is learning how to do it on your own. This type of paint job repair is not very time consuming or difficult and it can end up saving you a fortune over time. Deep, large scratches should be left to the professionals. However, minor dings and scratches can easily be repaired in your own garage.
Matching the Paint
Before you begin repairing any scratches on your paint job, you’ll need to match your bike’s paint perfectly. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply walking into a shop and asking for red paint. There are actually hundreds of variations of each color. Repairs to a paint job that aren’t quite right will stick out like a sore thumb, leaving you wishing you would have paid the steeper price tag to have the pros do it. You can search online for custom bike paint suppliers that offer touch up paint for most motorcycle manufacturers.
If you want to determine the exact paint color of your bike, when you’re on a paint supplier’s website they’ll offer a search feature so you can look up the color. All you’ll have to do is enter in the year, make, and model, and manufacturer of your bike. Then you can choose the right color. For scratches, make sure you stick with a jar of paint or a paint pen. Paints are often available in a variety of sets, but for best results you want to choose one of the paint sets that includes a base coat, the main color, and the clear coat. These paint sets only add a few bucks to the overall price, giving you all the tools you’ll need to get the job done correctly.
Prep the Bike
Before you start painting, you need to thoroughly clean the area on your bike that’s damaged. To clean, use a nonabrasive cloth, washing the area of the scratch thoroughly to remove any dirt and grime. If you don’t prepare the area before you start painting, this can result in an uneven finish or you’ll end up sealing in dirt. Before you move on to the next step you’ll need to completely dry off the area using another soft cloth. You should also allow your bike to dry out in the sun for a period of 30 or 60 minutes.
Next, you’ll take some sandpaper and sand down the area of the scratch. For most motorcyclist’s this step can be very nerve wracking, but it will even out any damaged areas for repairs. If the scratches are shallow, you’ll need to use A 320 grit sandpaper. Once the surface has been evened out as much as possible, you’ll finish off using a 2000 grit piece of sandpaper. Next grab a clean towel and gently wipe away any debris.
Now you’re ready to paint.
Use a touch up paint, dabbing dots or a line instead of making strokes. When you apply the paint using strokes it ends up creating a surface that’s very rough looking, which is definitely something you’ll want to avoid. Apply the first coat and allow it to thoroughly dry before you add a second coat.
Apply the Clear Coat
Once the second coat has dried, you’re ready to apply the clear coat for added luster and protection. Make sure you always keep these painting supplies on hand because odds are you’ll need them again in the future.
Wax the Surface
When the paint is completely dry you can add a thin layer of wax, applying it using a circular motion. The wax should be spread evenly over the repaired area and surrounding areas. Once it’s dry you can use a soft cloth to polish the area to add some shine.
Windshield care is definitely something you should add to your motorcycle maintenance checklist.
Like the rest of your bike, the windshield is prone to scratches. For this type of repair, the issue is more than just cosmetic. If the windshield on your bike has several scratches and your view is very hazy, it can create a potential hazard when you’re riding. Many bikes have windshields that are made out of plastic, which means that they can easily become damaged. Learning how to keep your bike’s windshield free from scratches is crucial to your safety.
Before you get started, you need to mix some dawn dish soap with a little water. Grab a soft towel and cover the surface of the motorcycle windshield with the soap and water mixture. The mixture should remain on the windshield for five minutes before you wipe it off and rinse it with a clean rag. Thoroughly dry the windshield with the rag. This step will remove any built-up dirt and debris from the windshield. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned it, you’ll need to repeat this process two or three times.
Grab a piece of wool and buff the scratched area gently. Once this step is complete, you’ll wipe the area clean with another cloth to remove any dirt. The next step is applying a polishing compound. You can purchase glass and plastic polishes from a local hardware store, or you can order it online. Carefully dab a soft cloth into the polish, careful with how much you use on the rag. Next, you’ll wipe it across the windshield. Make sure you follow the directions on the bottle closely.
Maintaining Your Bike’s Aesthetic Appeal
Flying debris and rocks are common causes of scratches. Waxing or washing a bike with an abrasive material can also cause these issues. While there’s no way you can really prevent flying debris from ruining your paint job, you can learn how to handle it like a pro.
Learning how to fix these minor scratches and dings can end up saving you hundreds of dollars a year, especially if you’re someone that has to keep their bike looking pristine at all times.
However, it’s important that you always keep the painting supplies on hand, especially if you’re someone who enjoys long cross-country adventures. For most motorcyclist’s scratches and dings can be very stressful, considering many of the newest models are worth thousands of dollars.
Some simple superficial scratches and dings can totally ruin the look of a bike. Many riders spend a significant amount of time washing and waxing their ride to keep it looking great at all times. If you’re on a tight budget or you’re tired of dealing with taking your bike in for a touch up by the pros it makes sense to learn how to remove bike scratches on your own so you can save money that would otherwise go towards a professional touch up. Once you get the hang of fixing these aesthetic issues, you’ll find that it’s a fast, simple, and affordable process. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you must find the exact paint shade for your bike, otherwise, it’ll be very obvious that it’s an amateur paint job. This will of course, totally ruin the look of your bike. If you’re having trouble finding the exact shade, make sure you contact the manufacturer. Most manufacturers have a customer support team that will gladly answer your questions. Bottom line, maintaining the paint’s finish preserves the motorcycles overall aesthetic appeal.