For many people, a car purchase is the second-biggest transaction of their life after buying a home. So it is understandable when you feel terrible after scratching your ride. We feel it too when our beautiful car gets even the slightest scraping on the side. However, you need not worry over slight surface imperfections if you have the best car scratch remover.
When used with other car care kits, a car scratch remover can keep your car in blemish-free condition. But you need to know how to choose the right product for your car. That’s why you need to read our car scratch remover reviews.
In this detailed article, we’ve researched the top brands on the market to make your shopping easier. We provide a buying guide, how to use car scratch removers, and tips for keeping your paint job in top shape. Let’s go!
Best Car Scratch Removers Comparison Chart
Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover
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Griot’s Garage B110P BOSS Fast Correcting Cream
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3M 39071 Scratch Removal System
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TriNova Scratch Swirl Remover
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Ethos Ceramic Wax PRO
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Meguiar’s G17220 Ultimate Compound
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Best Car Scratch Remover Reviews (Editors’ Picks)
1. Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover
Carfidant’s scratch remover can also remove swirls and other superficial defects on your paint job. The specially formulated compound can remove wear and tear after several years.
This product can also restore the gloss and shine of your paint, giving it its lost luster. It comes with a buffer pad to apply the rubbing compound into the paint to remove contaminants. The powerful compound can rid your paint of water spots and oxidation.
While this product is made with professional-grade materials, it is easy to use for everybody. The kit includes everything you need to remove impurities and bring out the shine in your car’s paint.
It is safe for use on all paints, including clear coat, single stage, and multi stage paint. Carfidant also claims the product has no unnecessary scents or dyes. So there is a little risk of adverse reactions.
2. Griot’s Garage B110P BOSS Fast Correcting Cream
The BOSS Fast Correcting Cream is specially formulated to remove deep scratches and swirls on your paint. If you have severe scratches, swirls, and oxidation on your car, this product can help prepare the surface for sealing. Unlike regular scratch removers that can only handle tiny defects, this correcting cream is ideal for professional garage use.
This correcting cream is easy to use and produces no dust during wipe off. You can apply it with a microfiber pad or an orbital wheel. Because of its aggressive nature, Griot’s advises choosing the pad carefully to get the right results.
The product does not use silicones or fillers to correct surface defects. It acts at the molecular level so you have a scratch-free paint ready for polishing or waxing.
This product is suitable for light scratch and deep, stubborn cosmetic defects on your paint. The pleasant scent makes your car inviting and fresh.
3. 3M 39071 Scratch Removal System
The 39071 scratch removal system from 3M can eliminate small surface defects on your car including scratches, scruffs, and others. It uses a three-step method to rid your paint of impurities, preparing it for detailing and waxing.
This scratch removal system works by sanding, compounding, and polishing of your vehicle’s clear coat. The kit includes all the specialty supplies you need for the three-step process.
The kit has one 3000-grit abrasive square, a disc pad holder, and one 3M scratch remover. It also comes with one 3M rubbing compound, one black polishing pad, one purple compounding pad, and a step-by-step manual.
You need a spray bottle, microfiber detail cloth, a household drill, water, and paper towels to use the kit. Remove the scratches with the abrasive, apply the rubbing, and polish to restore your paint job to a perfect finish.
4. TriNova Scratch Swirl Remover
If your vehicle has only minor scratches and swirls, this TriNova scratch remover can clear your paint of such defects. It features an advanced formula suitable for hand application or dual action orbital polishers.
The product is ideal for novices and professionals and requires no specialist equipment or skills. It even leaves a shine after correcting the surface blemishes. This scratch and swirl remover is safe on all paint colors. You can use it to remove paint transfers, oxidation, water spots, swirls, scuffs, and other contaminants.
Despite its high quality, this product will not work for deep scratches. If you can feel the scratch with your fingernail tip, you may need a professional workshop to restore the paint’s shine.
The good news is that the company provides a generous refund policy for buyers. If you didn’t get the desired results, you can ask for a refund.
5. Meguiar’s G17220 Ultimate Compound
Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is designed for removing scratches, water spots, oxidation, and other surface blemishes on your paint without scratching. Despite the gentle formulation, this compound removes contaminants and defects like more aggressive abrasives. It can restore your paint to its original shine leaving no swirling or scratching.
This Ultimate Compound is safe and suitable for all paint types. You can use it for clear coat and single stage paints. It’s easy to apply by hand or dual action polishers. The simple and effective design helps reduce the time and effort you need to replenish worn and torn paint finishes.
The Ultimate Compound features a proprietary micro-abrasive technology that adds a glossy finish to your paint. It can improve the color and clarity of your paint in one simple step.
Unlike traditional compounds, this product does not create marring. It compounds quickly, removes paint defects, and prepares your paint for waxing.
6. SHINE ARMOR Revive Scratch Repair Swirl Remover
This SHINE ARMOR product is effective for removing scratches, swirls, oxidation, and other defects. The product restores your paint without damaging the clear coat. It is easy to use, affordable, and produces good results.
This product is a premium paint restorer with an exclusive formula designed to remove contaminants from your clear coat. It contains no waxes or fillers and creates only minimal dust after application. That means the product will not leave any marring and other residue like regular compounds.
One benefit of this product is its easy application. It is safe to apply by hand. You need only a single application to remove impurities and restore your paint’s glossy finish. The product is ideal for homeowner and professional use and doesn’t damage your paint.
This product has over 1,000 reviews on Amazon, and over 70% of them rate it 5 stars. By all accounts, this scratch remover works.
What Is a Car Scratch Remover?
A car scratch remover is a product that eliminates scratches and other superficial defects on your car paint. However, the product does not necessarily remove the scratch.
Often, the scratch remover fills in the layers around the scratch to hide it from view. Car scratch removers can also remove stains, scruffs, swirls and many other cosmetic defects.
Regardless of the hype, most car scratch removers are only effective for defects that occur in the clear coat. Anything that cuts into the base coat or primer may require a comprehensive bodywork by a professional.
Car scratch removers work best for light surface blemishes. The beauty of these products is their ease of use. Most brands come with the application kit and you can apply them by hand. This makes them an affordable solution for maintaining your car’s paint.
Types of Car Scratch Removers
You may come across several scratch removers but there are two main types. One works by removing the scratches while the other compound the defect to conceal it from view.
Abrasive Car Scratch Removers
These scratch removers use abrasive action to get rid of the defects on the paint. A good example is the 3M three-step scratch removal kit on our review list. They use a combination of sanding, compounding, and polishing to restore your car’s shine.
The sanding removes layers around the scratch. You then apply a compound to fill the layers before polishing to a shiny finish.
When used correctly, abrasive car scratch removers deliver excellent results. However, the three-step approach adds some level of complexity for novices.
If you have no experience in car care, abrasive scratch removal may not be the best for you. Thankfully, the 3M product we reviewed here comes with a detailed step-by-step guide to help you get superb results.
Abrasive scratch removers work best for deeper cuts. However, you need to be careful not to increase the damage during the sanding.
Rubbing compound scratch removal kits work by filling the scratch. After drying, it will hide the surface defect from the view of a casual observer.
Application often requires a hand buff or orbital, but most manufacturers include the former. Some brands provide a polish material to further hide the scratch and give the paint a high shine.
While most brands don’t admit it, most compound scratch removers also include abrasives. This helps to remove the scratch so that the compound can work more effectively.
Compounds are ideal for lighter scratches although some have a heavy formulation that can fill deeper scratches. Before you buy, try to read the instructions to determine whether the product will work for your situation.
You may want to check out this comprehensive chrome polish buying guide.
Car Scratch Remover Buying Guide
There are tens of car scratch removers on the market. Many of them deliver as advertised but there are others that are a waste of money.
This buying guide will show you the important questions you need to ask before choosing a car scratch remover. It will also list the most crucial features and specifications to check in a car scratch remover.
7 Important Considerations When Buying a Car Scratch Remover
Here are things to consider before selecting a car scratch remover:
Type of Defect
The most important consideration before buying a car scratch remover is the defect you are trying to correct. There are products specifically formulated to remove light scratches. Others have a heavy composition and kit for removing, filling, and polishing deeper marks.
You may also want to remove swirl marks, stains, and other contaminants on your paint. It’s important to consider these factors before you settle for any scratch remover.
Abrasive or Compound
This is also an important consideration related to the first point. Choose a compound if you want to remove a light scratch or swirl marks.
Deeper cuts will most likely require aggressive abrasion to remove some layers of the clearcoat. Often, abrasive kits come with a filler and polishing agent to help you achieve an almost perfect finish.
Some scratch removers can only correct defects on the clear coat. These are simple, inexpensive varieties. Most quality car scratch removers are suitable for clear coat, single stage, and multi stage paints.
In some cases, the product will be compatible with a specific paint color. High-end scratch removers often work with almost all the paint layers and colors.
The severity of the scratches on your vehicle will determine the sophistication of the scratch remover to buy. However, the most versatile products are also the most expensive.
Mode of Application
Most car scratch removers suitable for home use. That means you can apply them by yourself. But not all of these products can be applied manually.
The hand application types will often come with a foam pad. However, abrasive products such as the 3M scratch remover require an extensive array of kits. You need a household drill and many other supplies.
An orbital will do a better job because it can apply the product more evenly on the paint surface. But if you are not the DIYing type, we suggest you go for a hand-applied scratch remover. They save time and effort, even if you need to apply for the whole car.
The bottom line is buy a product that is easy to apply.
Kit or no Kit
Car scratch removers can be an abrasive, a compound, or a full kit with the remover, filler, and polish. If the scratches are minor, a compound or abrasive will eliminate most superficial defects.
If you have serious scratches, you can buy only the removing agent if you have other supplies. Otherwise, it is often more affordable to buy a kit that comes with the complete package.
You also need to consider your car use habits. The vehicle will always be covered with scratches and swirls if it sees regular and rough use.
If you scratch the car frequently, you are better off with a thick, longer-lasting product. Add professional detailing and waxing to protect the paint. That way, you don’t incur heavy expenses on repainting the vehicle after a few years.
Most car scratch removers, even the most premium, are relatively affordable. You can get the best on the market under $50. Besides the financial cost, however, you need to think about the time and physical effort.
Do you really have the time and energy to prepare the vehicle and apply a scratch remover? The process is not overly strenuous. But it’s important to weigh the cost of applying the product yourself versus hiring a professional to do it.
We recommend applying it yourself. Even if it’s a bit tiring, you will at least know how to achieve a blemish-free paintwork.
Meanwhile, this article gives you the lowdown of choosing a headlight restoration kit.
6 Important Car Scratch Remover Features and Specifications
Here are essential features and specifications to check before buying a car scratch remover:
Level of Abrasiveness
Abrasiveness is measured in grits. Manufacturers include the level of abrasiveness to indicate their scratch remover’s level of aggressiveness.
Buy low grit products for light scratches. More aggressive grits will work best for abused paints.
This is the ability of the product to fill in scratches. Look for products that do not contain silicones and fillers as these are not the most effective for removing scratches.
Most scratch removers have a polish element that leaves your paint shiny after removing the surface blemishes. The manufacturer will often specify the presence of a polish and wax in their formulation.
There are varieties of formulations for car scratch removers. Some products are based on abrasives and polishers while others have a compound that works at the molecular level. The formula often determines the scratch and surface for which the product is suitable.
Severity of the Scratch
Car scratches have different levels of severity. The levels include 1A, 1B, 2, 3, and 4.
Some manufacturers mention the level of scratch severity their product can correct. This specification can help you determine the ideal scratch remover for your vehicle.
Manufacturers often state whether their car scratch remover is safe for single or all paint colors. They will also state whether it is safe for clearcoat, single stage, and multi stage paint.
All You Need to Know About Car Scratches
(Types, Causes & Prevention Tips)
Different Types of Car Scratches
There are four main types of car scratches that all car owners dread to encounter.
Clear Coat Scratches
The clear coat is the outermost part of your paint. It is a clear resin that serves aesthetic and protective purposes. Clear coat scratches are the most superficial and easiest to correct.
The clear coat prevents the elements and wear and tear from damaging the primer and base coat. It also gives the car its shiny and glossy finish.
It is important to repair clear coat scratches quickly to prevent them from reaching the more sensitive paint layers. Thankfully, most car scratch removers are perfectly suited for removing scratches limited to the clearcoat.
Base Coat Scratches
The base coat or color coat is the layer beneath the clear coat. It is the thinnest coat and gives your car its beautiful and distinctive color.
Any scratch to the base coat will expose the paint. You can correct the scratch with high quality kit-type scratch removers. Touch-up paints can also solve this problem. But you may have to seek professional help if the cut exposes a large section of the paint.
The primer is a preparatory coating applied to the metal body of your car. It serves as a surface to apply the base coat and protects the body work from rust. If the primer is scratched, the two outer layers are damaged as well.
An exposed primer can make your metal body rust if you don’t cover it quickly. Most scratch removers cannot handle a primer-level defect. You will most likely need a professional repainting.
Body Work Scratches
The body or metal panel is your car’s shell, i.e. the actual metal body of the vehicle. A scratch that exposes the body panel will likely result from a serious accident.
In case your vehicle suffers this fate, only a proper repainting will remedy the problem. No amount of scratch removal will replace the three protective coatings and reinforce the metal structure.
8 Common Causes of Car Scratches
Here are examples of the common causes of car scratches:
Washing your vehicle with the wrong equipment or technique is one of the most common causes of scratches. Whenever you use a dry towel, a stony sponge, or a dirty buffing foam, there is a risk of scratching the paint. To prevent scratching your delicate paint, use the proper cleaning method and equipment.
Debris from the road, including tiny rocks and pebbles that hit your vehicle while driving can cause scratches. Flying tire treads, twigs, and other such impurities can also leave scratches on your vehicle. You can reduce the impact of road debris but you cannot rule them out completely.
The best solution is to choose your roads and when you drive carefully. Another option is to remove the scratches quickly and wax your vehicle to add an extra protective layer.
Accidents, including minor and major ones are an inevitable source of scratches on cars. Scratches from accidents are often deeper and may expose the color coat and primer. These may need a professional repaint or touch up based on the severity of the accident.
During the winter, your car is at risk of weather-related scratches. Precipitation including, heavy rains, hail, and salt-laden snow can wreak havoc on your paint. The roads are also more slippery and gritty increasing the risk of scratching your expensive paint job.
Scratches can also occur when you park your car under a tree during a storm. Broken tree branches and flying debris can cause extensive scratches or worse if the vehicle is no covered.
Do you work on or near construction sites? There are many missiles flying about at construction sites that will scratch and even dent your vehicle.
Everything from bricks, wet concrete, nails, to broken boards can leave lasting defects on your car. It’s better to avoid visiting a construction site with your vehicle.
Curbs are a big culprit in the car scratching department. You may have the most sophisticated driver-assist gadgetry in your ride. But you can lose your guard when parking or turning a corner.
To avoid scraping your bumpers on the pavement, be aware of your surroundings while driving at all times.
Car washes can be too abrasive for your vehicle’s delicate detailing. If you take your car to a place where the washing is done by hand, the vehicle may get scratches by the method used.
Some places use brushes instead of microfiber cloth, leaving small scratches and swirls all over your car. Non-touch car washes do a better job.
Yes, your kids and the neighbor’s children are one of the most common sources of car scratches. Whether they are riding their bicycles, playing games, or practicing sports, kids don’t understand the worth of a car’s exterior. If you have little ones, the best you can do is keep your car away from their play area.
Important Tips to Prevent Scratches on Your Car
Here are six tips to prevent scratches on your car:
Be Careful when Parking
Don’t park in a place that leaves your car vulnerable. For example, avoid parking where pedestrians can touch your car or in the blind spot of other vehicles.
It is better to park at the far end of the parking lot where there are fewer vehicles. Cars with babysits often scratch nearby vehicles when parents open the door for their kids. Also, avoid double parking because it can provoke other drivers to damage your vehicle intentionally.
Give Other Vehicles Ample Space
Any situation that puts you too close to other vehicles and stationary objects can cause scratches. Whether you are driving or parked, allow a reasonable distance between your car and other objects.
Wash Your Car Properly
Use the correct method and equipment to wash your vehicle. Before scrubbing, use a high-pressure hose to remove as much dirt and grime as possible from the car.
Talking about washing your car properly, we suggest you check out our comprehensive article on the best foam cannon.
Avoid Exposure to Severe Weather
As we said earlier, harsh weather can damage your paint. Hail, high winds, torrential downpours, and other adverse weather can scratch and even damage your vehicle. If the weather forecast warns of severe activities, consider storing your car in the garage or postpone the trip.
Keep Your Car in a Garage
Limiting your car’s exposure to humans and the elements can help prevent scratches. If you don’t have a garage, invest in a covered carport or a quality car cover.
Don’t Place Objects on Your Car
Many people unknowingly scratch their vehicles by placing objects on it. Sitting on your car and placing the groceries and other solid items on the vehicle can damage the detailing. To protect your car’s finish, keep off foreign objects.
Car Scratch Repair: A Complete Guide
Importance of Treating Scratches on Your Car
Scratches can cause physical and financial damage to your vehicle. Here are some reasons to treat scratches on your car as soon as possible:
Prevent Low Economic Value of Car
Scratches and other superficial defects on your car’s bodywork can lower its value. If you plan to sell or trade-in your car, you want to remove scratches as soon as they become visible. This will keep the vehicle’s economic value high and allow you to command a good asking price.
If you leave scratches and dents on your car unattended, they can encourage oxidation, which promotes rust. Scratches expose the clear coat and can damage the paint and primer, making the body vulnerable.
Unfortunately, even serious scratches often appear as cosmetic defects. To prevent small issues from becoming expensive problems, don’t waste time to correct scratches on your vehicle.
Prevents Wrinkled Paint
The area around scratches can wither and become wrinkles if you don’t repair it quickly. Over time, this can progress to other parts of the paint, especially if the vehicle is exposed to extreme weather.
Detect Underlying Damage
With many cars using composite materials, a simple scratch can hide more serious underlying damage. That’s why you need to correct the minor scratches and scruffs on your car. Otherwise, they may cause more serious problems that will require expensive repairs.
How to Fix Car Scratches in 7 Steps?
Here is a step-by-step guide for removing light scratches and deep scratches from cars. Before you start, it is crucial to assess the damage so you can select the appropriate product. Additionally, you want to read the instructions carefully before applications.
- Wash and dry the car using the correct equipment and technique.
- Mark the scratch above and below with a masking tape to make the application process easier.
- Apply your car scratch remover according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Wipe the remaining scratch remover with a clean microfiber towel. Check the area to make sure you have removed the scratch.
- If you notice defects, reapply the car scratch remover until the scratch becomes invisible.
- Repeat until you get the desired result.
- Finish with a compound and polish to restore the paint to its original shine.
How to Remove Deep Scratches
Here are steps to remove deep scratches:
- Wash and dry the car with the proper technique and equipment. Make sure the car is dry thoroughly.
- Sand the scratched part to remove layers of the clear coat and color coat. This will allow the scratch to heal completely and prevent adjoining paint layers from wrinkling.
- Rinse and dry the area to remove contaminants.
- Apply primer onto the sanded portion.
- Apply a matching color of paint on the scratched area.
- Apply a compound and polish to get a shiny finish. You can also wax the area to add a protective layer on the paint
Here are commonly asked questions about car scratch remover:
- Does car scratch remover work?
Yes, car scratch removers are effective for light scratches and other cosmetic defects. If you follow the usage directions, a scratch remover can remove the superficial defects on your paint. It can even restore the paint’s original gloss.
It is also possible to correct deep scratches with these products. But you will likely need professional detailing for scratches that expose the primer and bodywork.
- How does car scratch remover work?
Car scratch removers work by masking the damage on your paint. They can do this either by filling in the defect with a compound or peeling off the area around the scratch. Regardless of the type you buy, scratch removers combine abrasives with rubbing compounds and polishing to restore your car’s good looks.
- How much do car scratch removers cost?
Car scratch removers cost about $10 and above. Single-step types are the most affordable, with many retailing for as low as $15. Scratch removal kits that come with abrasive pads, rubbing compound and polish can cost around $30 or higher.
The price depends on the manufacturer, the severity of the scratch, and the quality of the scratch remover.
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Car scratches may seem like an eyesore, but they can cause bigger troubles if you don’t correct them on time. Unfortunately, everything around you is a potential source of scratches on your car. Having the best car scratch remover can help keep your finish like new. Whether you are dealing with light scratches or stubborn swirls, high-quality scratch removers can restore your finish.
There are different types of scratches and they all require specific treatments. That’s why you need to read car scratch remover reviews so you can make informed choices.
This in-depth article provides everything you need to know about car scratch removers. After reading this guide, you will know the important features and specifications to check when buying this product. The article also provides step-by-step guides on how to remove scratches on your car.
We hope you now have the information you need to keep your car looking new.