How to remove scratches from a new car without damaging the paint

Updated April 17, 2017

Cars are usually covered with a relatively thick layer of car paint, which makes it possible to cure a scratch without taking the car paint off the surface or noticeably damaging it. However, only fine scratches can be removed without any consequences to the paint. If you notice a surface scratch, a hairline scratch or a paint transfer on your car, you will want to learn how to remove them easily and carefully, without damaging your car paint.

Clean the surface of your car thoroughly, using a soft sponge and a mixture of lukewarm water and liquid detergent. You can use specialised car shampoo as well. Make sure to gently scrub with a mild, soft sponge and not an abrasive one, so that you don't damage the car paint.

Leave the car in the sun to dry completely before starting the scratch removal process. You can also use a soft, clean cloth or a towel to dry the surface of your car. Just make sure to use a cloth or a towel that doesn't leave any fibre residue--such as microfiber or terrycloth.

Locate the place of the scratch and assess the level of damage. Note that if the scratch is extremely deep, you won't be able to successfully remove it, especially if the car paint has been penetrated completely through. Only surface and hairline scratches can be removed with this method.

Apply a quality scratch removal product on the surface of your car. Pour a tablespoon of the product onto a dry sponge and spread it all over the affected surface. The mentioned car care product has to be a commercial wax-based scratch remover or a paste wax. Make sure to thoroughly rub it over the whole scratch and its surrounding area. Since this type of a product fills in the scratches, you have to work it into the lines really well.

Wipe the surface of your car with a terrycloth or with a cloth diaper.

Spray the area with spray wax and polish it with a soft towel. It is very important to use a really soft and thick fabric, so that you don't wipe off the wax product that filled in the scratches. Make sure to polish the whole area until it shines.


Never wax a surface of the car if it isn't perfectly clean. Do not use too much wax scratch remover, since its small abrasive particles actually smooth out the paint to make it appear even. This way, you will strip off too much of the car paint surface layer.


When you are working on your car, always check that the key is out of the ignition and that the parking brake is engaged.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft sponge
  • Liquid detergent
  • Car shampoo
  • Cloth or towel
  • Wax scratch remover
  • Terry cloth
  • Spray wax
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About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Robert Raphael has been writing health and technology articles since 1993. His work has appeared in “Natural Living” magazine and “Extreme PC” magazine. Raphael received the Jonathan Melman Literary Award in 1994. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brandeis University.