How to Take Scuff Marks Off of Car Paint

Updated April 17, 2017

If your car has scuff marks or scratches in the paint, you can take your car to a bodyworks garage or you can get the equipment to buff out the scuffs yourself. Doing it yourself requires some physical labour, so be ready to have sore muscles if you have not done this before. It may also take a few tries before you are comfortable enough to try it on your car. You may want to use a test panel first to get the hang of buffing scuff marks out of your car paint.

Wash your car. If there is dirt on the car, it could scratch the paint more. The buffer pad will pick up the dirt.

Spray clean water on the scuffed area. Wrap 1/2 sheet of 2000-grit sandpaper around a sponge pad. With a back-and-forth motion, sand the affected area. Spray with water frequently, keeping both the sandpaper and the scuffed area wet. Frequently rinse the area. Sand until the scuffs are almost gone. If you hear a squeaking sound, you may have grit between the paper and surface. Rinse well if you have grit locked between the paper and the car.

Apply rubbing compound to the sanded area. Spread the rubbing compound around with the buffer pad, making sure not to turn the buffer on yet.

Turn the buffer on to slow speed so that the rubbing compound is not thrown from the surface. Buff at 2,000 RPM for a couple of minutes, and you'll see a haze appear on the paint. Continue buffing until the area is shiny.

Wash the newly buffed area with a clean towel or wash your car as you would normally.


Wipe off all rubbing compound with a cloth. Paper towels are too abrasive. You may want to cover niche areas with masking tape. If you get any rubbing compound on areas that may be difficult to clean, use a toothbrush immediately to get it off.


Don't let the buffer stay in one spot. Finesse is better than force.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2 sheet, 2000-grit sandpaper
  • Sponge pad
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Rubbing compound
  • Buffer pad
  • Clean towel
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