How to buff or rub out transfer paint on a car

Written by elizabeth chaplin
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Paint transfers on cars occur when another painted object---such as another vehicle, wall or fence---rubs against the car and leaves behind a streak of its own paint. This can happen during a bumper bender or by slamming your car door into the person's car next to you in a car park. Fortunately, there is a way to fix this problem at home without having to repaint the entire car or bring it into an auto detailer, which can become costly.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Bucket
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Soft towel or sponge
  • Lint-free towel
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Terry cloths
  • Rubber gloves, face mask and/or goggles
  • Rubbing compound
  • Wool pad or buffing wheel
  • Polishing pad
  • Polishing compound

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  1. 1

    Fill a bucket with soap and warm water, and wash the area on the car that has the paint transfer thoroughly using a soft sponge or towel. Hand dry the area using a lint-free towel.

  2. 2

    Apply a small amount of lacquer thinner to a terry cloth, and clean the paint transfer area by lightly rubbing with the cloth. Wear rubber gloves, a face mask and eye goggles while handling lacquer thinner. Exposure to the fumes of lacquer thinner can cause eye swelling and redness, headache, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, and nausea. Skin contact can also cause irritation.

  3. 3

    Apply pressure, after a few minutes, while rubbing the paint transfer. Check continuously to see if the paint is beginning to come off. If it is, continue applying pressure until all the paint transfer has been removed. If the paint is not fading, proceed to Step 4.

  4. 4

    Spread rubbing compound over the paint transfer and rub the area with a wool pad. Make sure to rub in a circular motion until the mark is gone. A buffing wheel can also be used for this step.

  5. 5

    Buff the area with a new terry cloth, making sure all of the rubbing compound is removed.

  6. 6

    Apply polishing compound to a polishing pad, and wipe the area down. This will remove the hairline scratches left behind by the rubbing compound.

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