Best Car Scratch Remover

I’m sure you’ll agree that a car scratch removal kit should be able to take away light to medium scratches with ease. 

That was our main criteria for selecting the best car scratch remover.

Read on to learn more. Or, if you want to cut to the chase and read no further, the 3M Scratch Removal System performed the best during our tests.


13 mins to read
42 products considered
16 products reviewed
31 hours reviewing

Top 10 Car Scratch Removers

PictureCar Scratch RemoverScratch SeverityColor Restoration Pads
3M Removal SystemHeavyYes

Meguiar's Ultimate CompoundMediumYes

Turtle Wax PremiumMediumYes

Turtle Wax CompoundMediumNo

3M Scratch and Scuff RemovalLightYes

Meguiar's Mirror GlazeLightYes

Mothers California GoldLightNo

3M Rubbing CompoundLightYes

Turtle Wax Color MagicLightYes

Novus 2LightNo

1. 3M

Best Scratch Remover for Cars

5/5 Product Rating
This removal system by 3M will remove light scratches and scuffs that occur on the surface of your vehicle’s paint. When the clear coat is lightly scratched, this product will remove the scuff and make the paint look like new. Dealers and car repair shops complete a similar process for restoring pain but can charge hundreds of dollars for a job that you can now complete yourself.

The 3M system features a three-step process that produces professional-looking results. The process includes lightly sanding the scratch, using a compound to repair the scratch, and then polishing the clear coat paint for a buffed and shiny finish. Fine scratches often occur around the door handles, the trunk, the roof, and door panels of your vehicle. This DIY kit will repair multiple scratches and scuffs and improve your vehicle’s appearance.

Included in the repair kit is a disc pad holder (that can be attached to your drill to achieve an even smoother finish through sanding and buffing), one sheet of 3000 grit sandpaper to wet sand the scratch, one purple compounding pad, one ounce of rubbing compound, a black polishing pad, and one-ounce of scratch remover. Step by step directions are also included which are clear and easy to understand. There are also YouTube videos put out by 3M which will help you know exactly what to do to obtain the best results. The steps should be followed exactly in order to get professional-looking results.

There should be enough of the compound to repair several scratches or scuffs. In addition to what the kit provides you with, you will also need a household drill, a microfiber cloth, water, and a spray bottle to complete the job. The sanding paper is used to gently sand the area where the scratch is located. The water and spray bottle are used to wet the area before sanding. Both the scratch on the vehicle and the sandpaper should be wet before sanding begins. This wet sanding technique, with a super fine sanding sheet, will gently treat the area and remove the scratch permanently. The scratch can be sanded by hand or with the drill (using the disc pad holder attached to the drill). The rubbing compound is used to refine the area of the vehicle that has been damaged and repair the scratch. Then the polishing pad will restore the paint to like new condition. If you apply automotive wax when you have completed the scratch-removal process it will seal the area and keep the paint looking like new.

The 3M 39071 is guaranteed to work to remove light scratches and scuffs that have only damaged the clear coat surface of your vehicles paint.

Customers love the product and find it easy to use. They feel the directions are clear and they have success when the directions are followed exactly. If you are not gentle while sanding you can sand below the top coat and reduce the quality of the results. This is a job that requires a light touch. It was suggested several times that 3M produce a larger kit or a multi pack to that you can use it on multiple cars, more scratches and keep it on hand.

2. Meguiars

Best Car Wax for Scratches

4.9/5 Product Rating
Meguiars G17216 Ultimate Compound comes in a 15.2 ounce bottle. This compound is a one-step process that will leave your vehicle’s finish looking like new. The compound removes scratches, oxidation, swirl marks, water spots, and other blemishes that occur on your vehicle over time. The compound has special abrasives in the formula which will restore the surface of your vehicle without needing to be sanded. It can be used regularly before waxing.

The micro abrasive material used in the compound is revolutionary. This allows the material to serve as both sanding and polishing all in one step. It will not scratch the vehicles paint or clear coat, while repairing the scratched surface permanently. The process is faster than most solutions and it does not require hard sanding for the removal of light scratches.

Meguiars Ultimate Compound will correct the most common scratches and defects that occur on vehicles over time. It will not repair damage that is below the clear coat surface, as additional treatment and paint matching is required. It will however, deep clean the surface of the vehicle and eliminate surface scratches and other damage that dulls the paint.

When the compound is used it is advised that you work on a small area at a time. For small spots the job can be accomplished by hand but for larger areas a dual action polisher or a drill with a disc pad will save a lot of time. The compound does not need to dry before removing it. In fact, it should be put on the area then buffed and removed while it is still wet. It can actually be harder to remove once it has dried. Meguiars needs to be worked into the finish in order to be effective so it does take elbow grease to be effective. This product will remove everything that is on the surface of the vehicle including wax. Once the job is finished it is highly recommended that the car be waxed in order to add the protective finish that wax provides.

The application process begins by putting a very small amount of the compound directly on a foam applicator or microfiber cloth. Rub it onto the scratch in a circular motion putting a lot of pressure on the cloth. The compound really needs to be worked into the area. It generally only takes 4 to 6 passes over the area to repair the scratch. The compound will begin to turn clear. When this happens make on more pass over the scratch to polish the surface of the vehicle. Use a separate microfiber cloth to wipe the area clean before moving onto the next section. Deep scratches or defects may take multiple applications to completely clear.

Customers find that the product works well and as described. This is not a kit that includes everything you need to polish the car. Meguiars does sell all of the needed materials but each is sold separately. In exchange for not having a kit that only provides a small amount of compound, you get a large bottle which can repair a large number of scratches and defects.

3. Turtle Wax Premium

Best Car Scratch Repair Kit

4.8/5 Product Rating
The Turtle-Wax-T-234KT-Premium-Scratch Remover kit will permanently remove light scratches and scuffs on your vehicle. Light damage that is only in the clear coat of the paint can be removed with the Turtle Wax kit. If the damage is deeper and into the paint color then touch up paint must be used to repair the damage. This kit will reduce the cost of expensive repairs if you are willing to add a little elbow grease.

Included in the kit is 2” X 2” restoration pads, 4 ounces of lubricant spray, 4 ounces of paint clarifying compound and a .3 ounce clear coat finishing pen.

This Turtle Wax product will restore your paint and eliminate blemishes and scratches using a unique clear coat repair pen and specialized polishing pads. The process is straightforward and clear instructions are provided. Turtle Wax also offers YouTube videos that shows you the process as well as providing you with written instructions. Both a paint repair compound and polishing pads are included for this three step process.

The application process begins with a clean and dry vehicle. It is easiest to see the scratches in the bright light of the sun or a well-lit area. Shake the clear coat pen well and then carefully fill in the scratch with the pen. The fine tip of the pen provides the ability for precision application. This is adequate for fine scratches. If the scratch is deeper, but still only on the clear coat, then fine grit sanding pads can be used to soften the scratch or scuff. When you sand it will give the paint a dull appearance. This is normal. Once the polishing is finished the paints shine will be restored.

A small area should be completed at a time. Wet the vehicle and the sandpaper with the lubricant spray. Then gently sand the scratch. After this has been completed then the clarifying compound is used to polish the area and return the paint to its original shine. The buffing and polishing compound, when used on clear coat scratches will repair the scratch and return the paint to its original shine.

The only additional item that will be needed are a few microfiber cloths. The microfiber cloths are used to apply the compounds and to wipe the area clean when finished. If the scratch is long you can use a disc pad attached to the end of a drill for a more concentrated work area.

Customers love the full range of products that Turtle Wax offers. The company also features a website with an entire section dedicated to offering professional tips and getting the most out of their product lines. They have ideas and suggestions for application and getting the best performance as well as trouble shooting if problems arise.

Car Scratch Remover Comparison


3M 39071 Scratch Removal System
View

Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound
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Turtle Wax T-234KT Premium Grade
View

Turtle Wax T-241A Polishing Compound
View

3M 39087 Scratch and Scuff Removal
View

Meguiar’s M105 Mirror Glaze Ultra
View

Mothers 08408 California Gold Scratch Remover
View

3M 03900 Rubbing Compound
View

Turtle Wax T-374KTR Color Magic
View

NOVUS 2 Plastic
View
Case Quantity 4 oz 15.2 oz 8.3 oz 10.5 oz 1 oz 8 oz 8 oz 12 oz 16 oz 8 oz
Dimension
(inches)
3 x 6 x 7 2 x 4 x 9 4 x 3 x 7 4 x 4 x 2 3 x 3.5 x 5.2 1.6 x 8.2 x 3.6 1.3 x 3.1 x 7.4 2.7 x 1.5 x 6.5 1.9 x 3.5 x 9 3.3 x 1.5 x 6
Weight
(pounds)
0.4 1 0.85 0.73 0.28 0.65 0.5 0.75 0.8 0.5
Surface Type Painted Painted Fiberglass  Painted Painted Painted Painted Painted Painted Painted
Accessories

3M 39071 Scratch Removal System
View

Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound
View

Turtle Wax T-234KT Premium Grade
View

Turtle Wax T-241A Polishing Compound
View

3M 39087 Scratch and Scuff Removal
View

Meguiar’s M105 Mirror Glaze Ultra
View

Mothers 08408 California Gold Scratch Remover
View

3M 03900 Rubbing Compound
View

Turtle Wax T-374KTR Color Magic
View

NOVUS 2 Plastic
View
Color
Restoration
Pads
Scratch Remover
Lubricant
Paint Clarifying
Compound
Finish Pen
Abrasive Square
Foam Pad

 

Car Scratch Removal Buying Guide

Best Car Scratch Remover

What is a Car Scratch Remover Kit?

When cars are manufactured the paint is designed to last for many years while still remaining shiny and looking new. Then your car paint gets damaged from car washing brushes, fine key scratches, other car doors that tap your door panel, and other items that scratch your car. When this occurs many consumers want to have the scratches repaired in order to maintain the vehicle. Doing so enables the cars paint to last longer and will provide a better looking car. Common areas that get scratches include the car doors around the handles, the trunk, roof, and door panels.

Car Scratch Remover Kit1Car scratch removal kits come in a number of forms. Some products will provide all of the supplies that you need to remove scratches in the form of a kit. This can include a compound to fill the scratch, polishers, sand paper and other items needed for the repair. Other products only provide the compound that when combined with other items that are easy to find in any car parts store or hardware store, can accomplish the same task. The advantage of a kit is that it contains everything you need for small one time repairs. For continual repairs the compounds are offered in larger bottles for regular use.

The key is to understand the process and then purchase a kit or compound that will successfully remove the scratch permanently, rather than just cover it up. Many products available on the market will temporarily cover up a scratch or scuff but after a few washes the scratch will reappear. For permanent removal look for a compound that will fill and repair the scratch rather than just masking it.

What Types of Scratches Can be Fixed?

Vehicle finishes are made up of several different layers. These begin at the base of the car with the steel frame. Then a coat of primer is added to prepare the steel for the paint. The color paint of the vehicle is the next layer sprayed on and then a clear coat finish that protects the color. If the paint job is maintained it will enable the paint on the vehicle to last significantly longer.

Car scratch removal systems work with surface scratches that do not impact the actual paint color. These scratches can appear deep, but might only cut into the clear coat of paint. If that is the case then the above removal systems will work wonders. If the cut or scuff goes deep into the paint of the vehicleand impacts the color then additional steps and different products will need to be used. It also requires a higher skill level for those repairs.

Car scratches and defects come in two general categories. There are defects that are above the surface of the paint and those that are below the surface. Above surface issues come from weather, water spots, tree sap, birds, and other objects that land on or hit your vehicle. Strong cleaning agents are the best solution for above the surface blemishes and damage.

Below surface damages include scratches that damage the clear coat, swirl marks, oxidation and etching. Below surface scratches require special compounds found in scratch repair kits.

In addition to scratches vehicles can have damage that looks like cobwebs. These swirls are generally caused over time when the vehicle has been cleaned with harsh chemicals, abrasive brushes or even old towels. Holograms can occur when rotor polishing buffers are used incorrectly. This damage will make the paint look dull and faded. By eliminating the swirls and oxidation the cars finish will shine and the paint will become brilliant again.

These products are designed for areas on the cars paint and do not repair glass or window scratches. There are other products on the market that will address these concerns.

Do I Need A Specific Color To Match My Cars Paint?

Most scratch removal systems will only remove scratches to the clear coat finish of the paint. For this reason the paint color will not matter because you will only be working with the very top coat of the cars finish, which is clear.

If the scratch or damage is deep and cuts into the paint then it will be necessary to repair the paint as well as the clear coat finish. All dealers will sell you touch up paint that will match your cars finish. This can be established with the VIN number of the vehicle and can be purchased at dealership repair departments or aftermarket suppliers. The easiest colors to repair are black and white finishes, which are very forgiving when it comes to light scratches.

When repairing the paint level damage to the finish be aware that fading that occurs with age may result in the lack of an exact match in color, even though you purchase the touch up paint that matchers your vehicles color.

It is also important to know that the process for repairing deep scratches is different and you will need different products if the damage goes into the paint. The products that repair light scratches can leave no visible signs once the repair is complete.

Do I Need Any Special Tools?

Car Scratch Remover Kit2If you are repairing a small scratch over a small area the job can be done by hand. It requires a gentle hand. If you press too hard or use too rough of a sanding pad you can take all of the clear coat off and even damage the paint.

For larger areas it is good to use either a polisher or a drill with a spot pad. Both of these options will give you use of a power tool to gently work the area and prepare it for the compound that will eliminate the scratch. Marking the area with removable tape can help keep the work in a concentrated area. The pad or polisher can then be used to buff the area add the shine back to the vehicle’s paint so it will look like new again.

Other tools that are needed are water in a spray bottle and microfiber pads. These provide a soft surface for adding the compound, wiping the area and adding a polishing compound or sealant for a professional looking finish.

If you go with a compound that does not include a complete kit, then you may need a superfine sandpaper which will help prepare the area for the compound and repair deeper scratches.

Steps to Remove Scratches from a Car

The first step is to choose a warm day but not a hot day. The temperature should be higher than 60 degrees but the car should not be hot to the touch, so 70’s and 80’s will provide the best temperatures to work with.

Next be sure the car is clean. It needs to be free of any dirt, oils or grease as well as any wax. Using a prep solution to clean your car will provide the best results.

Examine the area of the scratch or scuff and work in small sections. You should have a fine sanding pad of 1500 to 3000 grit depending on the intensity of the scratched surface. With a spray bottle spray some water on the car and on the sandpaper and then gently buff the area. This will give the car a dull look, but it’s OK. Sand for about 5 seconds then check and see if the scratch is still showing. If it is repeat. This can be time consuming but you do not want to remove any more of the clear coat than necessary to complete the repair.

Once the scratch is no longer showing apply the repair compound with a microfiber cloth and really work it into the area. This requires heavy pressure to work the compound into the scratched surface. Use back and forth motions to work the compound into the area and then wipe it clean it with a different section or a separate microfiber cloth. Some scratch removers have a repair compound and a polishing compound that are separate items, others have the two combined into one formula.

Benefits

Saves money.  As a do-it-yourself project removing surface scratches only costs a few dollars. The scratch removal kits will eliminate several scratches. Having a kit on hand will help keep your vehicle looking new. Removing scratches at a dealership or body shop can easily cost between $200 and $500 depending on the length and depth of the scratch.

Maintain the Vehicles Paint. The paint and the top clear coat finish do more than keep your vehicle looking good. The paint is also a protectant. If a scratch is left untreated rust can develop along the scratch line and that rust can spread over a larger space. Repairing scuffs and scratches will eliminate or decrease the development of rust and provide better wear for your vehicle’s paint.

Retain Market Value. Automobiles today are a significant investment. With cars starting in the $20’s at the low end and running to nearly $100,000, you want to protect this investment and make it last as long as possible. Whether you are planning to keep it, sell it or trade it in, maintaining the value of the vehicle will pay off in the long run. Maintenance includes keeping the cars exterior in the best shape possible. These inexpensive scratch removal repair kits can accomplish that.

Features of Scratch removal Kits

Car Scratch Remover Kit3Effective scratch removal needs a few key parts in order to effectively remove scratches and repair small dings to the paint. These include the following:

An abrasive. The abrasive can be a combination of an abrasive material in the compound and fine grit sanding paper. The kits provide either sand paper squares or a sanding cube with different degrees of fineness on each side. This allows you to sand the area and repair the scratch.

A polisher. The polisher can be combined with the abrasive compound or as a separate component of the scratch removal kit. The polisher, when buffed into the paint will eliminate all of the residue and abrasive compound and give the vehicle its shine back.

Careful and even application. It is important to work in small areas, keep the area moist while working and not sand too deep. If you sand too deep then you can damage the paint. It is important to follow instructions of the product closely for the best results. Sanding and buffing needs to be completed with smooth even strokes and without applying a high amount of pressure. It is better to work it a few times than to over sand or over buff.

Conclusion

Using a do-it-yourself scratch remover can help to preserve your vehicle in a like new paint condition. Repairing scratches and scuffs quickly will also extend the life of the paint. These top scratch removers can save hundreds of dollars, from the cost of removal at a body shop or dealership. Selecting a product that has a reputation for successfully removing scratching will provide confidence and products that actually get the job done right.

In addition to scratch repair kits, there are products on the market that can help restore leather, clean headlights and keep your car in top condition. These products will help the vehicle to last longer and retain the highest market value.

Resources

  1. 3M Scratch Removal System: http://www.shop3m.com/
  2. Meguiars G17216 Ultimate Compound: http://www.meguiars.com/
  3. Turtle-Wax-T-234KT-Premium-Scratch Remover: https://www.turtlewax.com/