How to Buff Scratches On Car Paint?

how to buff scratches on car paint - mobile car detailing

There are many ways to buff out car scratches depending on their severity. For light scratches ,you can use a scratch remover product. For surface-level scratches, you can use a DIY toothpaste scratch remover.

For small scratches, a polishing compound will do and for deep scratches, you’re going to have to repaint the affected area.

Deep scratches are something you can’t easily DIY at home. You need a professional detailer’s complete exterior detailing to effectively get rid of these next level scratches.

This way, you won’t cause more damage to your car paint and you’ll get the best results.

Scratches, mostly minimal, are ultimately unavoidable. Swirl marks, smears, and blemishes can be caused by a number of things but when left unattended, it could diminish the whole look of your car.

In this guide, we will show you four different ways on how you can buff out scratches on your car paint based on the severity of the scratch.

The Fingernail Test: Checking the Severity of the Scratch

Before deciding whether you can easily fix the scratch on your car paint or not, do the fingernail test first. Determining the severity of the scratch is important so you’ll know how to deal with the blemish. This test is simple.

So, if your nail doesn’t catch the scratch at all, this means that the scratch is just minimal and can be DIYed.

However, if your fingernail catches inside the scratch, that means the scratch is deep and you may need the help of an expert to fix it.

Once you’ve done this test, you can follow the four different ways on how you can buff out the scratches off your car.

4 Ways to Buff Out Scratches on Car Paint

Now that you know what kind of car paint scratches you’re dealing with, it’s time to make the necessary action. In this guide, we will show you 4 different ways on how to buff scratches on car paint easily. But if you’re dealing with a deeper scratch, contact a professional car detailer near you.

How to Buff Scratches on Car Paint Using Scratch Remover (For Light Scratches)

A scratch remover is a great solution for getting rid of light or barely noticeable scratches. This type of product is usually formulated to remove all scratches and swirls without leaving any sumdges or smears behind. It’s also not damaging on the surrounding paint when used on the affected area.

What You’ll Need:

  • Ph-neutral car soap
  • Clean microfiber towels
  • Scratch remover product
How to Buff Scratches on Car Paint Using Scratch Remover (For Light Scratches)

Step 1: Wash the scratched area with a ph-neutral soap and clean microfiber towel.

Step 2: Using a clean microfiber towel, apply the scratch remover product on the surface area of the scratch. Buff out the scratch by gently rubbing the solution in small circular motions.

Step 3: Wipe out the excess resiude using a clean microfiber towel. Repeat the process in different areas where there are scratches.

How to Buff Scratches on Car Paint Using Toothpaste (For Surface-Level Scratches)

Every car owner who’s into cleaning and detailing their car DIY style knows the magic of toothpaste. It’s a budget-friendly repair that helps remove surface-level scratches.

Just like how toothpaste can remove scratches from CDs and discs, it works the same way on the scratches on your car paint. It has a property that catches or lifts imperfections by gently sanding them away.

What You’ll Need:

  • Whitening toothpaste
  • Ph-neutral soap
  • Clean microfiber towels

PRO Tip: Use whitening toothpaste as it has the grittiest texture which will help sand down the uneven surface and fill in the gaps.

How to Buff Scratches on Car Paint Using Toothpaste (For Surface-Level Scratches)

Step 1: Wash and clean the affected area with ph-neutral soap and water. Use a clean microfiber to dry.

Step 2: Once there is no dirt or debris around the scratch, apply a dollop of toothpaste to a damp microfiber towel and rub the scratch gently in a circular motion.

Step 3: Rinse with water and dry with a clean microfiber cloth. Repeat the process as needed.

How to Buff Scratches on Car Paint Using Polishing Compound (For Small Scratches)

If the scratches that you’re dealing with can’t simply be removed using a scratch remover or your good ‘ol toothpaste, a polishing compound can help! 

This is a quick and easy fix for scratches and swirls that downgrades your car’s look.

What you’ll need:

  • 3,000-grit sandpaper
  • Polishing compound
  • Handheld drill or polisher
  • Microfiber towels
  • Restorative compound
How to Buff Scratches on Car Paint Using Polishing Compound (For Small Scratches)

Step 1: Wash and clean the affected area to get rid of dirt and grime. Dry with a clean microfiber towel.

Step 2: Wet the scratched area and rub the sandpaper gently and lightly until the scratch is no longer visible and there’s no texture on the surface.

Step 3: Clean the area with a damp clean microfiber towel and make sure to get rid of any residue.

Step 4: Apply the polishing compound on your pad and use a polisher or a handheld drill and bring it to a speed where it will create a light, foam-like consistency on the surface.

Step 5: Rub the product in circular motions until the scratch is removed.

Step 6: Remove the excess product with a clean microfiber towel. Finish with a compound car paint restoration product for a shiny finish.

How to Buff Scratches on Car Paint Using Sandpaper and Paint (For Deep Scratches

Deep scratches are a more serious task to undertake so it would be a good idea to ask a professional home service auto detailing service for help.

This will require painting over the damaged area and needs a little effort and elbow grease. But if you’re willing to learn how to do it yourself, here are some steps you can follow:

What You’ll Need:

  • 2,000-grit sandpaper
  • Tape
  • Automotive primer
  • Paint sprayer
  • Paint matching your car’s
  • Polishing compound
  • Sanding pad (optional)
How to Buff Scratches on Car Paint Using Sandpaper and Paint (For Deep Scratches

Step 1: Wash, clean, and dry your car thoroughly. Make sure there’s no dirt or dust left before getting to work.

Step 2: Start sanding the scratched area to remove the affected layers of paint. Use a sanding pad if the scratch covers a large area.

Sand with the scratch in one direction until you come to your car’s metal panel. Rinse and dry the affected area before taping it off.

Step 3: Grab your primer and pray it on the sanded area. Apply 3 coats of primer and wait 10 minutes in between coatings or until each coating is dry before spraying the next layer.

Step 4: It’s time to apply the color using spray paint. Find your car’s paint code to make sure it matches the rest of the surface. 

Spray over the entire area and apply 3 coats. Make sure to wait for each layer to dry before adding the next coat.

Step 5: Polish the affected area with a polishing compound. Buff evenly and thoroughly to avoid any lumps. Once you’re done, the scratch should be gone and you’ll have a smooth and shiny paint.

If this whole process is something you’re not familiar with or are not confident of doing, take your car to a professional mobile car detailer.

They can handle any scratches well but for deep scratches, you might want to take it to the shop.

So next time you see a scratch on your car, run the nailfinger test and identify what type of scratch it is. If it’s light, and surface-level scratches only, you can DIY it with tools and products that are easily found in your home.

If the scratch catches your fingernail, then you know it’s something serious and would need the attention of an expert.

If you don’t have the time to buff scratches on your car’s paint, River Islands Car Salon can do it for you! You can trust the service of an expert mobile car scratch removal service to get rid of any unsightly scratches on your beloved car at a reasonable price.

Contact us today to get a free quote!

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