How to remove, touch up and buff out scratched car paint

In this article, you will learn:

  • One simple test to see if you can repair a scratch in your car’s paint yourself

  • Easy steps to remove isolated scratches and paint transfer

  • How to blend the repaired area seamlessly into the surrounding paint

We’ve all been there. Somewhere along the way, your car picked up a surface scratch. Or maybe you brushed against a pole in a parking lot, and some of its paint rubbed onto your car. No matter how the damage happened, every time you get in or out of your car, your eye fixates on that same spot. It gnaws away at you, and you just wish it would go away.

The good news news is, with the right products and tools you can fix most isolated scratches at home in 15 minutes or less! Using an affordable DIY car paint scratch remover and some easy-to-follow tips, you’ll erase that irritating scuff or scratch and save yourself some heartache.



One of the worst things you can do for your car is to use household cleaners to scrub dirt and stains from the finish, so ditch the dish soap and laundry detergent. These products aren't designed to safely remove dirt and stains from your car, and, in most cases, their harsh chemical formulas will do a lot more harm than good to any wax you may have on your car.

To determine if you can do the job at home, run a fingernail very gently across the area with the scratch. If your nail passes over the scratch without any real resistance, you can fix the issue at home. If your fingernail catches inside the scratch, it may be too deep to repair without professional help. Or, if the issue is paint transfer, and not a real scratch, you can fix that at home – no problem!



Before you start to repair that scratch or imperfection, keep in mind that every car is different. Light scratches in softer clear coats are quicker and easier to repair. Deep scratches in hard clear coats take a little more time and effort. Every scratch is also unique. Depending on the size and depth of the scratch, you might be able to solve the problem in two minutes, or it might take 20 minutes. Just start the job with patience, and, if it doesn’t go as fast as you expected, stick with it, and you’ll eventually get the results you want.



Before starting any paint correction project, you should thoroughly hand wash your car and dry it with microfiber towels. Since you’ll be working in an isolated area, you can wash only that section if you prefer; however, cleaning and drying the entire car gives you the chance to inspect for other scratches that you may have previously overlooked. This would be a great time to remove them as well. If you find many deeper scratches, scuff marks and swirl marks all over the car, consider using a polishing compound or a rubbing compound to restore the paint on your entire car, rather than repairing a few isolated scratches.

Apply a dime-sized dot of scratch removal product to a microfiber cloth or polishing pad and work it into the car’s finish in a circular motion over the scratch. Don’t apply too much pressure to your paint. The polishing ingredients in the scratch remover will do the work for you. If it’s a long scratch, continue buffing in circular motions down the length of the scratch. Wipe off any excess product with a clean microfiber cloth and check your work. If the scratch has vanished and the repaired area blends well with the surrounding paint, you’re all done! If you still see the scratch, just repeat the steps until the scratch has vanished.

In the rare cases when several passes have not completely removed the scratch, you can always use colour-matched touch up paint to fill in the imperfection. Then, once the paint dries, use Scratch Repair & Renew to level and blend the touch-up paint with the finish around it, following the same steps as above.

Pro Tip: Sometimes polishing away scratches leaves the treated area shinier than the areas around it. While that may not look as unpleasant as the scratch you removed, it can appear odd to anyone with a keen eye. If that’s the case, use the same steps described above to polish very lightly around the area and blend the two finishes into one even look. Before you know it, the entire area will be scratch-free and good as new!



If you own a dual-action polisher, you can make short work of DIY scratch removal. Simply apply four drops of Scratch Repair & Renew to your cutting pad, set the buffer to low and work the product over the scratch. Increase the polisher’s RPMs as you work. When it vanishes, blend the finish with the surrounding area and wipe away any residual product with a clean microfiber cloth.

With your irritating scratch or paint transfer all gone, give yourself a pat on the back and breathe a sigh of relief. You’ll never have to see its ugly face again.




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