I'm new here, excited to get started!
So I just got my 2010 Mazda 3 last year, making payments on it. Love it, but it has a ton of scratches all over the body. Wondering if you guys have found any solutions to take care of scratches. It's black, so the scratches stick out like a sore thumb. I've used the Meguiars Scratch X 2.0 and it doesn't seem to work, just makes them more white. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
before suggesting anything if you go out and run your finger along the body and come to a scratch does your finger nail sink into the scratch or does it just kinda glide over and you cant really feel anything? if your finger nail slides into the scratch you will need touch up paint to address this issue as it has deeply marred the clearcoat or even gotten down to the color coat. if your finger nail just glides over the scratch and does not try to go in then that is a minor scratch and more likely what is known as a towel mark or swirl mark depending if they are straight or in circles, but its still the same principle of how it scratched and how to fix it. These marks show up like a mother you know what on dark colored cars black, dark grey, dark blue are the worst for this. They are caused by improper wash technique using an automated carwash that has old style brushes in it and not meant for newer cars (many new car washes have closed cell foam brushes and actually do not put marks in the paint due to closed cell foam not being able to trap dirt in the brushes and the slide these dirt particle s down your car, however you have to ask the owner or head person that knows the wash well what kind of brushes they have, its difficult for the untrained eye to spot the difference)
Either way these light scratches are caused by tiny little dirt particles trapped between a wash brush in a car wash, a sponge you use to wash at home or a towel used to dry the car after not getting it clean enough, and the paint of the car. with nowhere to go the dirt particles eat into the paint as you apply pressure and cause the scratches. First you may want to claybar the car to remove any impurities or bonded contaminates on the car (if you detail or care about your finish this is something once a year or so before a wax job to do to keep the paint smooth and mirror like reflective) this kit is great and has all you need to clay:http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotive/products/g1016-smooth-surfacereg-clay-kit/
using scratch x by hand is very difficult to do anything to these, you need a random orbital buffer a good foam or microfiber/cotton pad meant for detailing and some swirl remover to get rid of these. first you want to wash the car and wash it very well maybe even wash twice before drying to ensure its clean then dry the car completely, if you choose to clay do it before any further steps then do the swirl remover. this is the swirl remover you need(or one like it, meguiars makes the best readily available stuff around from my experience):http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotive/products/g17616-swirlx/
then you need to polish the paint to restore the oils in the finish to keep it from ageing, this can be done by polisher or by hand this is the good polish meguiars makes and its sold everywhere: http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotive/products/g19216-ultimate-polish/
then to protect the finish and keep it nice and shiny you need to wax or seal the paint and there are tons of waxes meguiars sells to do all different kinds of protection lengths and levels, being you have a black car stay away from old style carunba wax as when heated over 125 degrees(which a 85 degree day in straight sun can more then easily do on your paint) it tends to melt and lessens the effectiveness and life of the wax, so stick with the synthetics the nxt wax is good and so is the ultimate (I prefer the ultimate as it seems to last longer and is a little easier to work with, also easier to find in stores) you can get liquid or paste wax in both of these and it more personal preference then anything there, I prefer paste as it glides on and off easy and smooth and helps prevent you from accidently getting too much in any area, as getting too much in one spot can make removal a pain, and meguiars synthetic waxes actually work better in a thin layer so they can bond to the paint (as its harder for it to bond to itself) it even states this in their directions. here is the link to their ultimate paste wax: http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotive/products/g18211-ultimate-wax-paste/
and if your good or follow instructions well your car could even look like the one in their picture on the wax, its a lot of physical work to get abused paint looking good, but once you have done all this once you really don't need to do much more to maintain it. I wax every 3-6 months with the ultimate wax, polish every other time or so that I wax and claybar once a year or so if it feels like it needs it (I am fanatical about washing the car though so things don't usually get a chance to bond to the paint, so clay bar is not needed much) wash the car at least every 2 weeks with clean materials and good soap (meguiars soaps are good I prefer eagle 1 ultimate "wax as you wash" though (blue liquid)as it is cheaper around me then the meguiars ones and produces the same clean and shine for half the cost) here is the link to their soap: https://www.eagleone.com/nanowax-as-u-wash
this is not really doing much actual waxing as the name states (even meguiars and all of the "wax as you wash" products don't do much actual waxing) but it does help extend the life of the wax on the car.
if you do wash your car yourself use what is called the 2 bucket method and have one bucket filled with your soap/water mix and the other filled with just plain water(best to get whats called a "grit guard" for the plain water bucket, some have built in grit guards and these are ok if using a 5 gallon bucket not a "car wash bucket" sold at the car parts store then you will want a separate grit guard, after each time you need to re wet your sponge dip it in the plain water first and squeeze it out then soap it back up in the soap water this helps rid the sponge of any stuck dirt particles and keeps your wash water clean. go from top to bottom washing the car as you don't want to get the big nasty road tar dirt chuncks from the bottom all over your paint so start with the roof or hood and work down the panels making sure none dry out completely then don't just spay off the car to get the soap off "sheet" the water onto the car to allow it to flow off naturally this reduces the amount of water you have to dry and your dry time it also helps move any remaining dirt off the car with water flow which helps prevent scratching as you dry. this is a good video showing how to sheet:
if you take your car to an automated wash, again be sure they use the closed cell foam brushes, they maintain the wash well and bring your own towels to dry with if they have people drying at the end, request they don't dry your car and you do it yourself, as they will just use the same dirty rags they used on the muddy f350 that just went through on yours and sling dirt and crap all on your car. if they use a brush to pre soak the back of the car with soapy water again tell them no as this is usually a hard bristled thing similar to a push broom that will put new swirls all on the car again. I am lucky the car wash near my house is new uses closed cell foam and knows now to not use the broom thing on my car. My car looks great and stays that way after I run through their wash, I have no doubts or regrets using them as I see the owner out every morning calibrating and cleaning the wash on my way to work. I still prefer hand washing but due to my hectic work schedule and rain events many times I don't have time or get rained out on the weekend from doing it.
On the towels to do all this you need several good microfiber towels 5-10 small ones to clay/wax/polish with and 2-4 big ones to dry with, make sure to clean them regularly as well.