Matte Scratch Fever (Solving Scratches In Matte Paint)

Matte Blue Hyundai

Every so often I get an email from a concerned matte car owner asking about minor scratches in their paint—most of the time only visible from certain angles. If they had glossy paint the answer would be simple: a light hand polishing. But, as we’ve covered before, matte paint should not be polished. Read on for a more detailed look at matte paint scratches and learn why proper maintenance is so key.

Do not polish matte paint

Polishing matte paint will gradually reverse the surface’s ability to scatter light and appear non-reflective. The car’s finish will quickly become uneven and blotchy due to irreversible damage to the matte clear coat. If you don’t have a matte clear coat, well, just consider that you’re polishing a single stage paint (in other words: you’d be removing the paint). Regardless of what traditional (glossy) car care says, do not polish your matte car, truck, or motorcycle.

Making the scratches less visible

While most matte paint scratches will be so minor that you really have to examine the car to see them, that doesn’t mean you should just live with it. Sure, you could and be perfectly, but given that matte car aren’t exactly cheap, the majority of owners ask me about fixing the problem. My answer to them traditionally comes in two parts:

Cover it up: In testing, we’ve had success covering up minor scratches (I’m talking hairline… the most common) by thoroughly cleaning and protecting the area. Often scratches are caused by small rocks (or even your pant leg brushing up against your car) that gently slice into the clear coat and create a small white-looking mark. This small, but visible imperfection is what may have caught your eye in the first place. By cleaning and protecting, we’ve found the mark becomes much less visible.

Touch it up: Aside from repainting the panel, your last resort is acquiring touch-up paint from your dealership. The dealer or manufacturer can provide you with matte touch-up paint that will match the rest of your car almost perfectly while successfully eliminating the scratch from sight. Most of the time these are applied with a very fine artist’s brush, and in some cases your dealer’s service department (or even a local detail shop) can do it for you. Again, short of repainting the panel or affected area, this is the only other non-invasive technique to completely remove scratches from matte paint.

So, if your matte car gets a scratch, don’t freak out. Come here first and send us a photo—the solution might be easier than your mind may trick you into believing. And remember, the best solution is proactively protecting your finish from the elements with a polymer based matte paint sealant.

  • Mike G

    Hello, I got to my bike and noticed this hairline scratch? Honestly I’m not entirely sure what it is… Like the paint rubbed off or something randomly. Any ideas on how I could treat it? Your advice would be greatly appreciate it. It’s very minor, but it’s driving me quite insane.

    • Ian Poisson

      Hello Mike! I have the exact same bike, Night Rod Special with this black demin (matte).

      I also have similar sratch and wonder how to repair!!!!

      Really appreciate to have your feedback on how you manage it!

      Thanks in advance

      Ian P

      • Mike G

        Sadly it doesn’t look like there is much you can do other then getting the entire part repainted or buying a new one. The concern with either of these options is that the color on that part might not match the rest of the bike anymore, so you might need to repaint to replace more than you need.

        They do sell touch up paint, but I wouldn’t touch it up, it almost always draws the eye to the area and looks worse than the scratch unless it is a very large scratch.

        • Ian Poisson

          Hello Mike,

          Thank you very much for your feedback.
          In case I am lucky by finding solution other than repainted all the part, buying new one, or having visible touch up, I let you know.

          Ian

          • Mike G

            Thanks!

  • Nathan

    Could you please elaborate on the “Cover it Up” part? Are you saying just use your Matte Body Wash and your Matte Paint Sealant?

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  • Ian Poisson

    Dear Dr Beasleys. Here is my main scratches in may motorcycle tank, in black matte color (black denim). If you have any solution or suggestion, it will be highly appreciated

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Hi Ian,
      Thanks for reaching out to us.
      Unfortunately it looks like your scratch is fairly deep, so there isn’t much to be done as far as removing it. As you may already know, matte paint cannot be buffed or it will become permanently shiny.
      Your best option is the contact the OEM and see if you can purchase touch up paint that matches your color exactly. You can contact a body shop near you that has experience with matte paint and have them touch up the area for you.
      After the paint is touched up, you should seal the entire with Matte Paint Sealant (http://goo.gl/KQccir). If you choose not to touch your paint up, you should still seal it to prevent staining and fading. Hopefully that helps. Don’t hesitate to reach out via email (myteam@drbeasleys.com) if you have any other questions.
      -Dr. Beasley’s Team

      • Ian Poisson

        OK, noted. Thanks for the reply.

        Ian