You spend a lot of time washing and waxing your car so it looks just right. That’s why it is so disheartening to see a scratch in the paint.
Whatever has caused that automotive scratch, it’s possible to fix it quickly, especially if it is a minor blemish. In this guide, we look closer at how to get rid of car scratches, evaluating what types of products work and which are just a waste of money.
Understanding the Differences Between Polishing Compounds & Scratch Removers
As you evaluate the various products on the market, you will see that most are either a polishing compound or advertised as a scratch remover. What is the difference between the two and what works best for your vehicle?
In general, the scratch or swirl removing products, such as the Nano Sparkle Cloth, have many of the same compounds as the polish but are specially formulated for repairing blemishes and offering some level of repair.
On the other hand, the polishing compound is perfect for dealing with a dull finish or oxidation of the paint but doesn’t do much for scratches.
Best Ways to Remove Car Scratches
To remove light scratches from your automotive paint, you can follow these steps.
- Wash and dry your car as normal.
- Mark off the scratch with some masking tape.
- Apply your scratch removal product with a microfiber cloth.
- Use a back and forth motion for at least thirty seconds.
- Wipe the area dry and inspect it.
- If you need to reapply, now is the time.
Removing Deep Car Scratches
If the scratch goes beyond the clear coat or top layer, you might need to take more action. Using an orbital buffer can help handle larger surfaces and deeper scratches. However, you must be careful with these buffers as they can cause more damage if you don’t know what you are doing. You don’t want to remove an abundance of paint in the process.
Best Practices When Choosing Car Scratch Remover
As you look at the available scratch removal products, you could easily become overwhelmed with the selection. However, if you follow these criteria, you can’t go wrong.
Start by picking the best car scratch remover type from these options.
- Compound: Ideal for shallow and deep scratches, plus it is easy to apply.
- Polish: While it doesn’t remove scratches, it will cover up surface imperfections.
- Touch-Up Pen: If the scratch can’t be removed, you can touch up the paint for a refreshed look.
When you treat one scratch, you won’t need a large product. Look for the smallest bottle you can to save some money. However, if you are attempting to fix multiple scratches or deep scratches, you will need something larger.
Silicone & Wax Content
Some scratch removal formulas contain silicone or wax. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing one with or without these properties. If you opt for a remover without silicone or wax, the product will last longer but tends to be runnier.
On the other hand, the silicone and wax make formulations thicker, allowing for an easier application and better results, but the product can fade, requiring reapplication.
Ease of Application
Each scratch removal product comes with its own set of application instructions. It’s important that you understand what to do if you want the best results. We recommend reading through the instructions before purchasing the product to see how long the application takes and to ensure you have the necessary tools to complete the job. Some removers are going to require sandpaper, an orbital buffer, a sponge or a microfiber towel to use.
Avoid Gimmicky Products
When it comes to detailing or scratch removal products, you are sure to find many that simply don’t work. These products are often hailed as a miracle, literally making scratches disappear. However, using some of these products can cause more harm than good. For example, there was a drying blade on the market that promised to squeegee the car quickly. While it did its job drying, it would also drag particles and contaminants across the paint to add more scratches.
This illustration shows that what is boasted of as the best solution isn’t always a good choice. Use some common sense when it comes to choosing detailing or scratch removal products. You want an item that comes from a brand name and has good reviews. If it seems that the product might make the scratches worse or harm the paint in any way, it’s best to simply avoid it.
When washing your car or fixing scratches, sometimes basic is best. Having a good car wash solution, dedicated sponge, soft wash mitt, multiple buckets to keep solutions separate, a microfiber cloth and your chosen liquids or compounds is often all you need.
If you want to take it a step further, consider grabbing a clay bar that removes particles from the paint, allowing for better adhesion of coatings and waxes for more protection. Additionally, using a high-quality clear coat can ensure that the paint doesn’t get scratched in the first place. These are the types of products you want to spend a little extra on.
When to Call a Professional?
There are times when it is best to trust a professional with your car scratch repair. For example, if you are unable to access all of the damage easily, it’s best to consult with a professional. Aside from buffing out minor scratches, the deeper blemishes often require sanding, filling and sometimes more paint. To do this level of work, you need the right tools and expertise.
Additionally, if paint is needed, you want to go to your local body shop. It can be very difficult to match the paint color perfectly, but these sophisticated repair shops have the equipment to do just that. If you are unsure how to perform a repair, you should never seek out to do it alone. The money you save initially will be wasted when you need help fixing your mistakes.
A scratched car doesn’t need to cause you more headaches. If you feel equipped, try and repair it yourself with some top-rated products. Otherwise, contact your local professional for a factory-like finish.