How To Remove Scratches From A Car!
Scratches in our vehicles paint leads to a nasty looking paint job. Luckily most scratches are actually removable from your car. Today we will be taking a look at the best methods to remove scratches from a car.
To remove scratches from a car, you must buff them out with compound and polish. Sometimes the scratches on your car might be to deep for the rubbing compound to take care of them. It is at this point you will need to wet sand the area with a higher grit and then buff out the minor scratches left over from your sand paper. This is the most effective method in order to remove scratches from a car.
Light And Minor Scratches!
When driving down the road, getting scratches in your cars paint is inevitable. Luckily enough, these scratches are also the easiest to remove. Light and minor/normal wear and tear scratches will typically come out with some rubbing compound and a little bit of elbow grease.
For the best results, utilize a dual action polisher or a orbital buffer on a medium speed setting. This will reduce the amount of time needed to remove these scratches and yield a much clearer result.
In order to properly remove these surface scratches, start by cleaning the area well with some car soap. Do not apply any wax or sealants after washing the affected area. Once the area is stripped of any dirt, rocks, or debris, apply a small amount of rubbing compound to your pad.
Using your elbow with a microfiber towel or buff pad, simply follow the wax on, wax off method. Lightly press the pad/towel against the surface and begin working the compound into your vehicles paint. You may need to repeat these steps multiple times until all scratches come out.
If you are using an orbital buffer/dual action polisher to remove scratches from a car, it’s the same process but turn the machine on to medium speed setting and carefully work the scratches out.
Once you have a clear reflection with no scratches, follow up with some polish to restore the color and seal it with a protection product of your choice.
Those Pesky Deep Scratches…
To remove deep scratches from you car comes with a little more work, but we promise, it isn’t too bad. If you scratch your cars paint and it’s a pretty deep scratch but only affects the top layer of clear coat, you will just need some high grit wet sand paper and some compound again.
Before doing anything verify first that only the top layer of clear coat is affected. Using your nail, try to feel out the scratch and make sure NO COLOR comes up with the scraping process. This will verify that the scratch is deep enough to look terrible, but isn’t deep enough that you hit the base color coat.
Once you have verified that only the top layer of clear coat is affected, it’s time to start removing the scratch.
Start with a 1500 grit piece of wet sand paper and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Wet the area that you will be working on and begin moving the sand paper in vertical and horizontal movements. What we are doing here is sanding down the top layer of clear to be flush again.
Once you have hit it with 1500 grit, repeat again with 2000, 3000, and then 5000 grit wet sand paper. You are consistently going up in grit to put smaller and finer scratches in the top paint surface. That way when we come through with the compound, these scratches are super light and fine making them much easier to get out.
Be very careful and don’t press hard as you can sand down so much that you break through to your color coat.
However if you were successful, take your nail/finger again and feel the surface, is the deep scratch out? If it is then go ahead and repeat the same process as above. Buff out the small and minor scratches, polish your paint up, and seal it with some protectant.
Scratches Through Color!
If you managed to scratch your vehicle up to the point where the scratch is so deep that it broke through the top layer of clear coat, then this is the section for you. These scratches typically need extensive repair because you have broken through to your base coat.
The base coat or color coat in your vehicles paint is the layer you do not want exposed. Your clear coat delivers that wet glossy look but also protects the color coat. When this gets exposed to moisture, salt, and other nasty particles, rust begins to happen, and it all started with a scratch.
If you need to perform this repair, the good news is, it can all be done at home.
However this time around your going to use a lower grit of sand paper to smooth out the entire surface first. Start with a 600 grit and continue to work your way up to the 1000 grit mark. Once again start by sanding in horizontal and vertical motions until the entire surface you are working on is flat.
You can verify this by using your bare hand and feeling the top surface. The rule of thumb to follow is simple. If you can feel it, you can see it. Basically if you don’t feel any ripples or uneven spots in your paint, you’ve done the job correctly.
Apply Your Paint.
After the sanding process, go ahead and tape off your section and using a touch up can/hvlp gun, touch up the area using your primer, for more information on all of this refer to our guide on auto body repairs. We also have a guide here if you need any help with utilizing rubbing compound.
Once you have laid your primer down (about 2-3 coats) go ahead and wet sand that after it dries with a 2000 grit to level it out and make it smooth.
From here you will want to apply your base coat of paint. We recommend 3 coats, 1 tack/light coat, and then 2 medium coats for maximum color coverage. Let the area dry. Afterwards, go ahead and apply 3 wet coats of clear coat. Let this dry for a full 48-72 hours.
After the clear coat has dried you are going to want to wet sand it with 1500, 2000, 3000, and finally 5000 grit just like last time. Once you have a dull looking finish on the clear coat, you will now know it’s entirely smooth and ready for buffing.
Very carefully once again apply some rubbing compound to the surface and begin working it in. It may take multiple passes to achieve those crystal clear results but you should be looking pretty good by this point. Continue to work the small fine scratches out and look back and enjoy your hard work!
Remove Scratches From Your Car!
Cleanliness Is Everything!
Always make sure you are working with a clean surface. If you are unsure if the surface is clean, do a car wash and a clay bar treatment to help get rid of all of those surface contaminates. It is not uncommon to find small pebbles/stones logged into the paint.
If you go to buff this section/sand it out you could break these contaminates free and cause even more scratches in your vehicles paint surface. To remove scratches from a car correctly, a clean surface is absolutely critical.
Don’t Be Afraid To Go The Extra Mile!
Do your repeated steps! We cannot express this enough! You will not get perfect results on the first try. It is going to take multiple passes in order to get the full effect of your work.
Use Only Premium Products.
The average cost to move up from an entry level detailing product to a professional detailing product is give or take $5-$10 bucks. Don’t cheap out on these products and always remember, you pay for what you get. Companies like Meguires, Rupes, and Chemical Guy’s are all great examples of the many detailing products we love.
Great cost and a great performance!