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I am noticing many scratches in the clearcoat. The most noticable are on the top of the rear clam just behind the trunk opening.

What is the best way to remove these? I wax it frequently with P21S. Thanks.

Ron
 

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First thing you'll want to do is inspect how deep the scratches are, but with some care. If you can feel the scratch, it will not be removable with any kind of poish and you'll need to repair it. If it's simply a deep scratch, you'll have to decide how much clear coat you are willing to remove to get it out. You must basically level the surrounding clear coat in order to remove it. If it is deep enough to require a lot of clear removal, then you could risk clear coat failure in the future or have to use some sanding steps to remove it. They probably aren't this bad, but just covering all the bases here.

So from here you'll have to use some kind of polish to remove the scratch. By hand, it is certainly going to be more difficult than by a quality machine, but at the very least you can round off the edges of the scratch, making it less visible. One product you might find easy to work with is Meguiars Scratch-X. Available pretty much anywhere and good results. Follow the directions on the label.

If that does not give you acceptable results, then you're going to have to step up to a more abrasive polish. At some point, you will not be able to use certain polishes by hand because you cannot generate enough heat to break them down. Think of polishes as grades of sand paper. Either your results will be ineffective or you will create small scratches that may or may not be removable by hand with a more mild polish.

If you do not have a quality machine, I would probably just stick with the mild polishes and try to round off the scratches to make them less visible. Locally available products are those like Scratch-X, Meguiars #9, 3M Swirl Mark Remover, etc. Anything stronger by hand doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Keep in mind that a lot of products, including those made by Meguiars, tend to have oil fillers that mask defects and once they wear off, you see the defect show up again. Like makeup for your car.
 

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pianomaniac said:
I am noticing many scratches in the clearcoat. The most noticable are on the top of the rear clam just behind the trunk opening.

What is the best way to remove these? I wax it frequently with P21S. Thanks.

Ron
Funny, a couple of days ago, I noticed the same thing, in the same place. Very light scratches, so I'm not too worried. But I really don't know how they got there -- it's not like I drag stuff across the paint when I take it out of the trunk. :(
 

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I have used Scratch-X a few times with great success. It obviously can't fix deep scratches, but it makes surface scratches disappear like magic.
 

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scratches get there because the Elise actually is pretty aerodynamic. All the air comes over the car to that exact point, as well as anything in the air. You'll also notice that that part of the car gets dirtier way faster than you would think.
 

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huggy bear said:
Pin & Piano:

Did the dealer wash your car at PDI? Maybe that's the source of the scratches.
I think mine came from the 1,000 mile service, post free hand wash that I didn't ask or didn't want to have done. I also found a pen in the channel around the trunk.

They are too tight of circles to be aerodynamicly caused, and the main two swirls are equidistant.

Friday night I did detail the car and they were not there, I already had 750 miles on her.

Saturday I met in Dallas with other Elise/Noble owners already with 900 miles. They were not there either.

Took it for service on Tuesday and the scratches were there when I picked the car up.

When I saw the soft top on, I figured out they did wash the car, and of course they didn't ask, they did it by hand but probably on a rush.

It takes me over one hour to do it myself but I'm definetly not rushing it, it's therapeutical to me.

Maybe it's aerodynamic and it is a coincidence.
 

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offroadr35 said:
scratches get there because the Elise actually is pretty aerodynamic. All the air comes over the car to that exact point, as well as anything in the air. You'll also notice that that part of the car gets dirtier way faster than you would think.
Interesting. That could be it -- mine are fairly straight, in the path the air current would take (I assume).
 

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...an old Buddhist proverb goes something like this:

when the water jug at the monastry was dropped and destroyed, the monks traveled the countryside to find the "perfect" jug to replace it. they returned and choose the best jug of them all, and indeed, it was perfection in size, shape, color, finish and function. when the monks presented it to the head priest it was clear how astonished he was by its beauty and requested they meditate on this. well, after a few hours of group meditation the sound of a "crack!" opened the monks eyes, only to see the preist had struck the jug with a stick. He had chipped the mouth of the jug and ruined its perfect beauty! "Now" the preist said "we may enjoy using this jug as it was meant".

I know we all want to keep our cars perfect, but unless you hermetically seal it up for life, little chips and scratches put a nice patinia on them, making them perfect for doing what they were meant for.

-Polish in peace my son!
 

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If doing it by hand, be gentle in pressure (don't try to "rub" the scratch out with sheer pressure) and wipe off the polish with a clean microfiber cloth. In practice, I find it hard to actually eliminate scratches by hand. I end up introducing many more smaller ones. At some point, if this is done strictly by hand, you will probably have to use a glaze or "wax" with good hiding properties to conceal the remaining finer scratches.

A dual-action polisher is by far the best way to remove these. It's very easy and doesn't take too much skill. Use a foam pad, some Meguiars #9 (or equivalent from your favorite vendor) and the scratches will just disappear... the only drawback other than cost of the buffer, is the polisher can make a bit of mess because it spins polish around. It is quickly cleaned up though.

While I agree wear and tear is part of using something as it was meant, I like to defy it as long as I can. It's going to accumulate some wear no matter what, if it is used, so I'm going to do what I can about what I can do something about...



DLY
 

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I go over the car every 1-2 years doing a complete swirl removal and it does take the entire day to finish the entire process. Generally I won't do any defect removal between these days unless a scratch looks pretty bad. Black is tough sometimes.

But yeah, ask me if I'd rather be driving or polishing. :)
 

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that obviously depends upon the definition of "polishing"
 

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This is supposed to be the best stuff ever made to date...Menzerna P085RD and PO106FF Polishes
http://www.properautocare.com/pofornececlc.html

Anyone know how to properly sand a crappy clear coat job that has pitts and drip marks? Can a paint place fix this kind of problem with sanding?
 

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PO85RD is wonderful stuff. Burnishes to a very high gloss, is easy to use, and removes minor defects. To take the abrasive level down if you don't need to remove anything but very minor things and go for mostly burnishing, you can alternatively use a finishing pad. Overall I'm very impressed.

Never tried to remove pitting by sanding but it should depend on how deep the pitts are and how much clear coat you have to work with. Obviously you will have to sand until you get to the bottom of the pitts. Even if you don't remove all the clear coat doing so, it could lead to premature clear coat failure. You need still need a certain amount of clear coat to remain. So I'd ask a body shop if they can make an educated guess, but unless it's very minor, you'll have to take off quite a bit of paint.

Now if the car in question is single stage, it's still worth preseving the thickness, so it's still a judgement call.

If your drip marks are in the pigment coat but below a clear coat, then some form of respray is required of course. But if it's a drip or blob that's like a mound on the top most coat, it can be sanded off for sure.

- J
 
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