How to remove car paintwork scratches

Written by adrian grahams Google
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How to remove car paintwork scratches
Repair scratched car paintwork with gentle sanding. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Finding a scratch on your precious car can be enough to ruin the day. Paintwork scratches not only detract from the appearance of your car but they can also affect its part-exchange or resale value when you come to sell the vehicle. Deep, penetrating scratches can also lead to rust. For major scratches, you may need to get your vehicle repaired at a specialist bodywork centre. You can treat surface scratches and scuffs yourself by sanding down car panel paintwork to the same level as the scratched area.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Water
  • Detergent
  • Boot or shoe polish
  • Cloths
  • Ultrafine sandpaper
  • Sanding block
  • Rubbing compound
  • Car wax

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  1. 1

    Clean the scratched area with warm water and detergent. Pat the scratched area dry.

  2. 2

    Apply boot or shoe polish to the scratch. Choose a polish colour that stands out from your car's paintwork. For example, for black or dark-coloured vehicles, choose a light-coloured polish. Rub the polish into the scratch with a dry, clean cloth or duster. Remove any excess polish with the cloth.

  3. 3

    Sand the area scratch and surrounding area with ultrafine sandpaper. Use only 2000-grit or 3000-grit ultrafine sandpaper. Wrap the sandpaper around a rubber or wooden sander block and then moisten the sandpaper with water. Sand the scratch using short, gentle strokes at slight angles to the scratch. Change the direction for each stroke. Continue sanding until you have removed all the polish. This indicates that you have sanded the paintwork to the same level as the scratch.

  4. 4

    Place a small amount of rubbing compound on to a clean, dry cloth. Polish the sanded area with the cloth in a circular motion. Wash off the rubbing compound with clean water and a cloth.

  5. 5

    Apply car wax to the repaired panel to seal the repair. Use a cloth to rub in the wax and then polish in a circular motion.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also use a buffing wheel to polish the car after you have applied rubbing compound.
  • Apply only small amounts of polish or wax. Both contain abrasives that can damage your car's paint finish. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

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