How to Remove Car Scratches? Best Scratch Removers in 2022

November 8, 2021

If you are wondering how to remove car scratches quickly and easily at your home using non-professional tools you came to the right place. Removing car scratches can be expensive if you go to a local dealership or detail shop. The products you will see here cost a few bucks and can be used multiple times. 

Before we get into removal of scratches!

detailer removing Car Scratches

Before we get to tell you about how to remove car scratches from your paint you first need to know a little about how the paint really works. Cars have 3 layers that make up the paint. 

The 3 layers of the car paint are:

  • Primer
  • Base Color
  • Clear Coat

You might see other newer cars having other layers that act as a rust protective layer for cars but that was included in the primer in most cars during the past years. Other than that the makeup is the same.  

In short terms:

Primer: Primer is the first layer that helps the paint stick to the surface and protects it from outside factors like panel rusting and better paint durability

Base Color: Base color is the color of your car before additional layers are applied.

Clear-Coat: This is the layer that protects your car from UV, rock chips and makes it shine.

Now that you have a general idea of paint make-up you can tell the clear coat is the first layer to get scratched. This tutorial and products showcased will help you remove car scratches from the clear coat.

Disclaimer: For deeper scratches that have passed through the clear coat this will not work and you need the car to be painted, however, it’s always worth trying as these products are inexpensive and can be easily applied to return shine to your car.

How to determine that you have a clear coat scratch?

To determine if you have a clear coat scratch is very easy. You spray water and rinse the water off. If the scratch will permanently disappear and then show up again, that’s a clear coat scratch. Clearcoat is about 0.5mm-0.1mm thick so you might have different outcomes.

Secondly, you can try to touch the scratch. If your finger can feel the scratch too deep that means that the scratch went all the way to the base coat or primer. 

Best Car Scratch Remover: Which one is best?

Chemical Guys Scratch and Swirl Remover

Chemical Guys Scratch and Swirl Remover

This compound is made in the USA. The compound is easy to use and comes in a 16 Ounce bottle. This is not a cover-up product. It will work on all car paints and easily remove car scratches from your clear coat. Based on price and performance Chemical Guy’s car scratch remover is the best overall.

It can be applied by hand and be purchased with 3 sponges to apply the compound but you can also use a machine polisher but that will require some extra skill. The benefit of using this product is that it creates a mirror finish in one step. You can apply it directly to the panel you are willing to remove car scratches from or sand the clear coat with a maximum of 2500 grit sandpaper. This compound cannot repolish sanding marks greater than 2500 grit.

Pros

Chemical Guys  Scratch and Swirl Remover work as a compound by diminishing the scratches and then becomes a polish. If all that sounds too difficult for you, all you need to do is apply the compound and let it do its magic. 

Cons

To get better results you will need a rotary polisher as the compound requires more rubbing to make your car shine. This applies to all polishing compounds and is always used in professional shops.

Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound

Meguiar's Ultimate Compound

Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is made in the United Kingdom. This ultimate compound is budget-friendly and can be applied by hand. Meguiar in general makes great affordable products. You may also find the same compound with a complete kit we reviewed as the best car detailing kit for starters.  Compared to meguiars scratch x 2.0 this ultimate compound will perform better with the only downside being the application over the paint scratch. Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound can return an incredible glossy paint and depth of shine before waxing.

Pros

The compound is budget-friendly and easy to apply. It will restore faded paint, remove car scratches, and haze. Time-saving compound with no need for a special rotary. 

Cons

Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound can sometimes require to go over a scratch twice or three times to completely remove car scratches.

CarPro Essence Xtreme

CarPro Essence Xtreme

If you are thinking of the best car scratch repair you should pick a more premium compound. CarPro Essence Xtreme will shine and remove all scratches from car paint. CarPro Essence Xtreme is used in professional shops as a cutting compound before other polishes or ceramic coating is applied.

Pros

Great results with very little compound. Other compounds require two or three layers of rubbing and lots of compounds to be used. Using this car scratch remover you will save more in the long run. Great shining results and ease of scratch removal.

Cons

The paint needs to be prepared and free of contaminants. Must be used with a rotary machine, applying by hand will not work.

Essential Tool Needed To Remove Car Scratches

You will also need to pick sandpaper as you need to sand down the scratches before applying the compound. We recommend you use 3M sandpaper as they provide great sanding and have well-built paper with a spongy feel so you won’t harm your paint. 

3M Sandpaper 3000 Grit: This is the first sandpaper you need to use. The lower the number you find on sandpapers the more aggressive it will be to the paint. 

3M Sandpaper 5000 Grit: Secondly you need to go over with 5000 grit sandpaper for best results and to blend the polished surface with the rest of the paint. 

You can choose any other manufacturer of sandpaper, we recommend 3M as they specialize in automotive paint supplies, compounds, and home improvement items.

How to Remove Car Scratches?

Once you pick your compound of choice and the sandpapers mentioned above follow these steps. First, start washing the car so you have no dirt you can catch up while trying to remove car scratches. We need to remove car paint scratches not to cause more scratches. Make sure to always use the best car shampoo for your car washing process.

Markup the scratched areas

Make sure to markup scratches with tape. Here is a good one. This is needed so you do not sand the whole body panel where your scratch might be located. But car scratch repair does not end here.

Sand The Scratch

Start by sanding down the scratches you marked up. Before sanding make sure to spray the paint and sandpaper with water. Using the 3000 grit sandpaper you need to move the opposite way of the scratch. For example, a vertical scratch requires horizontal movement of your hand. It is recommended to wrap your sandpaper with a sponge. It will help your finger not get tired quickly and sand better.

You will be finished with sanding once the scratch becomes hazed. If you see little scratches leftover you can go over with the 5000 grit sandpaper and smooth them out. Car scratch repair will be easier if you carefully sand the clear coat. 

Pro Tip: Sand for 15 seconds and spray the sanded area with water and wipe it off. Regularly check the paint scratch.
Clean the surface

Once you sand the clear coat you will have very hazy paint but that is totally alright. The next step is to clean the surface using a microfiber towel. It is best recommended to let the surface dry before you move to the next car scratch repair step.

Apply The Compound

The final step is applying the compound to the grinded clear coat area. This is the most important step of the car scratch repair process. For the best results, you can use a rotary machine, it will help you apply the compound faster and have better results. Nevertheless, you can use something like a microfiber towel or a soft sponge.

Put the compound on the microfiber towel and start working in circles just like the rotary machine, except you are doing the process by hand. Apply pressure gently until the compound starts to disappear. You can wipe off the buffed area and check the results. If you see more scratches you go over again. The end result must be a clear surface with no scratches. 

Final Steps

This is optional and will help blend the color shine of the area you polished with the rest of the panel. Grab a wax conditioner like Turtle Wax, it comes with a dedicated sponge, which you can apply the wax with. Apply wax to the whole panel so the car scratch repair will blend in with the whole panel.

Why Repairing Car Scratches

Higher Resale Value: A well-kept car with no scratches will be more appreciated and higher in value when you decide to sell it. Keeping your car clean and free of dents and scratches means that somebody took care of this care. Sometimes little details make the difference. 

Better Looking: There are no doubts that keeping your car shining and free of scratches will make the car better looking. You will also feel better riding on a shining paint rather than a faded or scratched one.

Avoid Costly Repairs: As you let go of your car and think about doing things tomorrow things start to accumulate and end up requiring a whole new paint job. You can prevent this if you remove car scratches as soon as they occur. It takes very little time and it is fun to do. 

Best Car Scratch Remover FAQ

Q. Can I remove deep car scratches without sanding?

A: A deep car scratch is likely not to be removed directly without sanding but it will remove paint transfer or little paint scuffs. Despite all that you need a rotary machine to remove car scratches without sanding down the clear coat. 

Q. Can a car shampoo help me keep my car scratchless?

A: A good car shampoo will help you reduce the risk of scratching your car. That is because some car shampoo’s like Adams Mega Foam is very thick and your wash mitt might sometimes catch dirt pass to the clear coat but rather get stuck between the foam. 

Q. What is the best car scratch remover?

A: All scratch removers perform well in removing scratches. The best car scratch remover is the one that fits your needs based on the tools that you have. For example, meguiars scratch x 2.0 or nu finish scratch doctor is more user-friendly because they do not require a rotary.

Q. Does nu finish scratch doctor work?

A: Using nu finish scratch doctor will remove light car scratches easily but it will not work very well for deep scratches or restoring plastic trim. It is designed to work for clear coat surfaces only.

Final Thoughts

For the most professional outcome, you can pick up CarPro Essence Xtreme but keep in mind that you will also need a rotary machine.

Pickup the Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound or meguiars scratch x 2.0 for cheaper alternatives.

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