car scratches

The Ultimate Guide to Removing Scratches From Your Car

Scratches in car paint can be caused by a variety of things. Car accidents, teenage recklessness, poor parking, and other parking lot mishaps are all common causes of a scratch or two in your perfect paint job. While scratches can detract from your car’s appearance, it can be expensive to pay an auto body shop to repaint or even make minor touch-ups. Use these steps to remove minor scratches without having to hire a professional.

Assess the damage

Determine if the scratch is actually a scratch and not just something on the paint surface.

Take a close look at the spot and see if you have a scratch or just dirt on your car. Sometimes what appears to be a scratch is actually just a raised line of material from an impact. This happens when your car comes into contact with another bumper or any other object with a coating that is softer than your car’s paint. Removing these blemishes takes a lot less work.

Determine the depth of the scratch.

After you determine that you actually have a few scratches that need repair, you need to figure out how deep the scratch is. This will determine how you approach the repairs. Clear coat scratches can be easily repaired by following these steps. Your car has four main layers: clear coat, paint, primer, and sheet metal. If the scratch only extends to the clear coat or paint, it will be much easier to remove. If you can see a different color or sheet metal, the scratch is deep and may be more difficult to repair yourself.

Keep an eye out for more areas to repair at the same time.

If you have an annoying scratch that you want to fix, it’s a good idea to look for other spots that could be fixed at the same time. If you already have the tools and materials to do it, why not do it all right away?

Prepare the site for repair

Wash and dry your car thoroughly.

If your car is dirty during the scratch repair, the dirt could create more scratches. Pay special attention to the area you are repairing. Spray the scratched area with water, being careful to get any dirt out of the scratch.

Lightly sand the scratch.

Wrap 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper around a sanding block and start sanding. The goal is to just sand through the clear coat and not further. Always sand in the direction of the scratch. You don’t want to create opposing scratches, which will only cause more ridges and ridges in the paintwork that need to be repaired. Rinse the area with water from time to time. This will allow you to see better if you got the scratch all the way. If the scratch is slightly deeper than the clear coat, use 1500 grit sandpaper to level the finish initially. Then use 2000 grit to remove the scratches you made with the coarser sandpaper. Avoid getting dirt or dust between the sandpaper and the vehicle.

Rinse the area, making sure it’s clean and dry.

Use high-quality, clean microfiber towels to wipe the surface dry. Keep in mind that old rags could easily create more scratches on your car’s finish!

Repair the paint surface

Apply the abrasive paste to the scratched areas.

Don’t turn on the polisher just yet, use a polishing pad to spread the paste over the area dulled by the sanding. The abrasive paste is an abrasive that removes a little more of the paintwork surface. It also smoothes the paintwork surface and prepares it for waxing. Essentially, the abrasive paste is used to remove the scratches from the sandpaper.

Polish the area with the abrasive paste.

Set the polisher to its lowest setting and move it around for about 10 seconds. You’ll need to buff the abrasive paste fairly quickly so it doesn’t dry before everything is smoothed out. Increase speed to 2,000 rpm and buff for 1 minute. You should move the polisher from side to side and then slowly down. Keep going until the dullness is gone, but be careful not to go through the layer of polish. This could take up to five minutes depending on the scratch, your speed, and your pressure. Don’t buff the same spot for more than a second. You’ll scratch the next layer if you buff in the same spot for too long.

Wash the spot again.

Remove the residue of the grinding paste from the paintwork surface with clean water and a towel. Use a toothbrush to get the abrasive paste out of the grooves. Always wipe off the remaining abrasive paste immediately after polishing. Otherwise, the residue will stick to the paint and it will be more difficult to remove it.

Wax the area to seal the paint you repaired.

Apply a high-quality Karbauba wax to the surface, then buff with an orbital polisher. If you wax your car regularly, you can use your usual method. Consult Waxing a Car for suggestions on how to do it if you’ve never done it before.

Finish off by washing the area again.

Make sure that all scratches are gone and the repaired area is shiny and water repels easily.


You can remove raised areas by scrubbing the area with a soapy cloth. If that doesn’t work, try an adhesive remover. Even if one end of the scratch is shallow, the middle or the other end could be much deeper. Look closely at the entire scratch before determining the best way to remove it. Use your toothpaste! Put a small amount of toothpaste on a wet cloth and rub it onto the scratch.


If the scratches on your car paint are particularly deep or excessive, you may want to consider actually driving to an auto body shop to have them repaired. Body shops have the professional equipment and know-how to give your car a beautiful, shiny new finish.

About the Author

Julia Taylor

Julia Taylor is Freevoucherhub Contributing Writer. She loves writing the latest tech gadgets, helping consumers weigh the pros and cons of new devices prior to purchase. She also writes news and trends, and feature stories about business. Her work has appeared on popular publications like Gizmodo, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, and CNET.