How to Remove Car Paint Scuffs

Written by m.w. sand
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How to Remove Car Paint Scuffs
Removing a scuff can be a laborious task. (backlight of car image by Ramona smiers from

Scuffs on your car can be inevitable. From other cars in car parks, to shopping trolleys, to keys, to fences and poles, there are a number of ways your car can get scuffed. A lot of the time the damage is too minimal for an insurance claim. Instead, you have the option of leaving the scuff, paying a bodyworks garage out of your own pocket or removing the scuff yourself. Removing the scuff yourself can be a difficult and laborious task, but can save you a lot of money in the end.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2000-grit sandpaper
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean water
  • Soap
  • Polishing compound
  • Rubbing Compound
  • Foam polishing pad
  • Foam compounding pad
  • Two clean towels

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  1. 1

    Wash the scuff and the surrounding area thoroughly with soap and water. It is vital to remove all dirt from the area to avoid scratching it further. Dry the area with a clean towel.

  2. 2

    Spray the scuffed area on the car and the sandpaper with clean water. Use two or three sprays on each to ensure their surfaces aren't dry.

  3. 3

    Rub the scuffed area with sandpaper using a smooth, horizontal motion. Rub the area using light force, to where it looks like you're dulling the area. Wipe the scuffed area with a clean towel periodically to remove all dirt and grit, then spray the scuffed area with water before continuing. Continue to rub the surface until the original scuff is gone. The area should look dull but the paint should remain undamaged.

  4. 4

    Apply the rubbing compound to the dulled area. Apply the compound in roughly 1-inch lines, separating the lines 3 to 4 inches apart. Use the foam compounding pad to spread the compound evenly across the dulled area.

  5. 5

    Rub the compound into the dulled area using the foam compounding pad. Use a small, circular motion to rub in the compound. This can be a long process if done by hand and can also be done using a power sander with a similar compound pad attachment. Continue to rub the area until the haze of the liquid compound in removed. When the compound is fully removed, wash the area with water and wipe dry with a clean towel.

  6. 6

    Apply the polishing compound the same way you applied the rubbing compound: 1-inch lines or dots separated by 3 to 4 inches. Use the foam polishing pad to spread the polishing compound, then rub it into the surface using a circular motion. Adding the polishing compound will bring back the lustre you removed from the paint when you sanded it. Continue until all of the polishing compound is removed.

Tips and warnings

  • Using a power sander with a compound and polishing pad can save you a lot of time and ache to your arm and elbow.
  • When initially rubbing the scuffed area with sandpaper, do not rub with enough pressure to damage the paint. You are using the sandpaper to remove the clear coated surface, not the paint.

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