How To Buff Your Car And Remove Scratches

Do you want to know how to remove car scratches without going to a mechanic? Find out how to buff your car and remove scratches from paintwork here.


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Have you just found a scratch on your beloved car? We know how it feels, but the good news is that there’s no need to call a mechanic.

Follow this easy guide on removing scratches from a car to make it look shiny and new.

If you don’t have an electrical buffer you can use a microfibre cloth and lots of elbow grease to work products into your car’s bodywork. Always test your rubbing compound on a small area first before removing scratches from your car.

How to remove scratches on a car?

You’ll need:

  • Large, soft sponge

  • Microfibre cloth

  • 2000-grit sandpaper

  • Rubbing compound – this is an abrasive paste that will help smoothen the surface of the paint around the scratch

  • A buffer

  • Wax

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When removing scratches from car bodywork, it’s important to follow these steps.

Step 1:

Assess the depth of the damage. There are four main layers of material on a car chassis – clearcoat, paint colour, primer and steel – and you need to know how deep your scratches have gone. You can tell if you’re dealing with a scratch that’s as deep as the primer & is a different colour than that of the paint. Scratches that go as deep as the primer and steel are more difficult to fix than the surface scratches. If you want to know how to remove those deep scratches from a car, you may need to go to a car repair shop.

Step 2:

Clean the scratch. Dirt and grit can scratch the surface even further, so clean and dry the scratched area thoroughly before you do anything else. This is one of the most important steps in learning how to remove a scratch from car paintwork – skip it, and you could do more damage!

Step 3:

Use sandpaper to level the scratch. Smooth down the damaged area by lightly rubbing the scratch with 2000-grit sandpaper in the direction of the scratch. When you’re done, wipe the surface you’ve been working on with a good quality microfibre cloth and check if the area is levelled with the bottom of the scratch.

During this step, you must be careful not to sand down further than the clear coat. If you’re looking to find out how to remove a deep scratch where it penetrates further than the clear coat, then you may need to consult a specialist from the repair shop.

Step 4:

Apply the compound. Use a microfibre cloth to apply rubbing compound to the scratch. Always make sure you check the manufacturer’s guidelines to see what products are suitable to use on the surface of your car.

Step 5:

Buff the area. Dry and polish the compound by setting your buffer to its lowest level and quickly moving it around the damaged area. Be careful not to buff one spot for more than a second as this can damage the car’s paint layers. For more tips on how to polish a car without damaging its surface, read our guide to waxing and polishing a car.

Step 6:

Remove the compound. Wipe the remaining compound from the area immediately after polishing the scratched area with a quality microfibre cloth.

Step 7:

Apply wax. Seal the area you have repaired by applying a wax that suits the colour of your car – you can either do this manually, with a microfiber cloth or with the help of a machine such as a random orbital polisher. Wash and wipe the area once more with a microfiber cloth and inspect the scratch to make sure it has disappeared.

After following these steps, you should find the scratches and marks on your car have considerably reduced – if not removed entirely. After teaching yourself how to remove scratches from car paintwork, you may also want to read up on how to wash and polish your car, and specific areas like the wheels, to help you keep it looking its best.

Key steps:

  • Identify the depth of the scratch

  • Clean and sand down the scratch

  • Apply a suitable rubbing compound, following the instructions on the packaging

  • Buff the scratched area

  • Seal and polish the area with wax

Originally published