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How to fix a scratch on your motorcycle paint

Most minor damage to motorcycle paint is done by dropping it. We’ve all been there, right? It’s easy to do - and gut-wrenching when it happens. As most motorcycle fairings and other panels are plastic, rust isn’t an issue, but they deserve to look good. 

There are 2 scenarios when it comes to fixing damaged paintwork on your motorcycle. The first question to ask is, how bad is the damage?

1. Fix a light scratch or scuff

Sometimes a scuff to the lacquer will be visible and, if the damage hasn’t permeated the paint layer or primer, you can fix this quickly by using a polishing compound. 

PaintNuts Scratch & Scuff Remover has been specially developed for permanently removing light scratches and scuffs from motorcycle paint. It’s safe to use on all paintwork including metallics and pearlescent finishes. It will remove shallow scuffs and scratches and diminish deeper defects. 

If the damage is deeper and you need a motorcycle touch up paint, you can use the polishing compound as a final finish to assist in blending the repair.

The Scratch & Scuff Remover also comes in a kit with a sponge applicator and microfibre cloth and as a kit with a polishing pad that fits your drill. You might find our guide to using a polishing pad with a drill useful.

2. Fix a deep chip, scratch or scuff

If the damage has cut through to the paint layer, primer or plastic, the repair will take more time and attention. 

Most motorcycles (60-70%) have 3 stage paint, which means you won’t be able to touch it up using a car paint pen or bottle and brush. You’ll need motorcycle spray paint (the same as car spray paint, which is suitable for motorcycles).

If your paint is a solid colour, you might be able to touch it up with a pen or bottle if the damage is very slight - you be the judge. They’re great for around sensitive areas like headlights and mud guards, which suffer most from stone chips.


Paint contains organic vapours (VOCs) that you should keep away from your eyes, skin and lungs. 

  • Protective (chemical resistant) gloves to Standard EN 374
  • Wash hands after use
  • Good ventilation
  • Safety glasses


You’ll need additional tools if you’re fixing a dent or hole - see the guide under (2) below, which also recommends the correct filler for your task.

Process overview for 3 stage paint

One thing that motorcycles have over cars when it comes to making repairs is the fact that it’s easier to remove and handle the panels. Always use primer and lacquer as well as the spray paint for large areas or full panels.

  1. Prepare - sand the entire panel to remove all paint and primer.
  2. Repair - if the plastic fairing is damaged, you will need to fill and sand any dents or holes. See our guide to repairing dents and holes in plastic panels.
  3.  Apply your primer layer - this is applied in the same way that paint is - see our guide to using car spray paint, which is the same process for motorcycles. While the rust inhibitor aspect of primer isn't necessary when it comes to plastic panels, the primer provides a key for the paint, which will keep it looking good for longer. Allow to dry.
  4. Apply your 3 stage base coat - if you’ve got a white bike, this will be a white base coat, for example. Allow to dry. You might need to apply more layers to achieve the correct colour depth.
  5. Apply the pearlescent topcoat - as above, and allow it to dry.
  6. Apply the gloss lacquer - as above, and allow to dry.

How to order your motorcycle spray paint

Simply enter your paint code by reg, make, year and key (basic) colour into our search tool and follow the instructions. Or, see our guide on finding the paint code on a motorcycle.

Find the right product for you

Use our tool to find the right PaintNuts product to give your vehicle a professional looking repair.