Here's some basic ideas from AutoGeek.net
As to scratch removal it all depends on how deep... typically if you run your nail across it and it gets hung up it's too deep. otherwise you can polish it out with a scratch remover or compound.
Here's AutoGeek's Guide to Removing a Scratch
For most other items a swirl remover and some hard work you can make most disappear....
Here's a chart of the levels/uses of many manufacturers:
AutoGeek Compound Chart
The larger the swirls/scratches the more aggressive compound is needed.
Typically I've had good luck with a 3 product/multi pass system for cars that have never been "Polished"
#1 - Heavier Compound (#6/7) - 2X
#2 - Medium/Light (#3/4) - 2X
#3 - Polish - 1X
I prefer Sealants vs. Wax for the sheer fact they hold up longer, and have been using Zaino for years, but there a some much newer companies out there now I'm eying up:
Optimum Polymer Technologies
If nothing else you should invest in Optimum "No Rinse"
just for general washing.
I've also heard some pretty amazing stories about the Hyper Compound Spray
and their Opti-Seal
Wipe On/Walk Away Product