An excellent scratch remover with a buffer pad. Use with buffer pad or dual-action orbital polisher. Most customers reported success when treating swirls and scratches. Many customers were able to remove paint from colliding with other vehicles. Comes in a 12 oz. bottle.
This scratch remover won't work with scratches deep enough to damage the paint.
This effective solution gives a shine to paint dulled by swirls, and treats minor scratches well. Since this is a wax-free solution, it removes scratches rather than filling them with wax. Can be used by hand or with a polisher or buffer. Comes in an 8 oz. bottle.
This solution can remove the clear coat if used too aggressively.
For handling light scratches and swirls. A great formula that works well when used by hand or with a polisher or rotary buffer. Customers love this product for its ability to handle oxidation. Comes in an 8 oz. bottle.
Though this product works well, many customers find it difficult to remove.
For removing scratches and swirls while cleaning the clear coat, this product works well for most paints. Though this product should be used carefully, it can reliably remove most light scratches or fading. Comes in a 16 oz. bottle.
This product may leave a residue that can be difficult to remove.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Has this happened to you? You’re out and about, grabbing a bite or milling about at a friend’s place, and when you return to your car, your heart drops as you find an unsightly scratch. Crowded parking lots are breeding grounds for blemishes like this, but unless you park in an open field, the risk is always there.
Discovering a scratch is a disheartening experience, but thankfully, there are several car scratch removers on the market to help you turn that frown upside down. What’s more, these products are generally much less expensive than a trip to the auto shop.
Scratch removers repair light scratches, water spots, and swirls that don’t go all the way through to the metal — i.e., you can’t feel them with your hand or fingernail. Some are designed to be used by hand with a pad or cloth; others provide the best results when used with a dual-action orbital polisher. Most products use abrasion to buff out scratches, though some may include wax, which can fill the scratches in. Car scratch removers may also be used to remove light oxidation. Which product is right for you? Read our guide to find out.
Every detailing product has a different composition and recommended application process. Here are some key considerations to make before buying.
Scratch removers come in various quantities, from four ounces to 16 ounces or more. Consider your expected usage when buying. Is your car covered in scratches? Just a single blemish? Going for the bulk buy is usually a smart play, but keep in mind that these products can dry out if left sitting for long periods of time, especially if not sealed correctly.
Wax and silicone content
“Pure” scratch removers are devoid of wax and silicone, using abrasion and polishing to buff out a very thin layer of your car’s top coat. This makes your car’s paint appear flush with the original scratch, rendering it harder to see. These products are generally thinner and more liquid than their waxy counterparts, and they are best for moderate to heavy surface imperfections. Integrated wax isn’t a bad thing — in fact, it hides and fills in scratches well — but it will fade over time and require reapplication.
Heavy-duty solutions require heavy-duty tools, and that’s why certain car scratch removers require orbital polishers or buffers to be most effective. These solutions are commonly found in body shops in the hands of professionals, but consumers often use them for severe repairs. If you only have light blemishes to deal with, all you’ll need is normal scratch remover and a bit of elbow grease.
Car scratch removers are relatively simple compounds, but there’s a fair amount of variance in how they’re packaged. Here are two key features to look for.
Scratch removers, polishes, and waxes need applicators, and while you may have a spare at home, certain products include their own proprietary options. These include sponges, microfiber cloths, and donut-shaped hand buffers of different sizes. If you’re looking for an all-in-one remedy, consider one of these.
The scent of your cleaning products may seem like an afterthought, but if you detail your ride often, the scent — or the lack of one, in some cases — can improve the experience drastically.
The price range of car scratch removers is relatively narrow, with budget options starting around $10 and high-end products costing $25 to $30. Good value doesn’t necessarily mean low quality, as a $10 bottle of scratch remover can effectively treat minor defects such as shallow scores and water spots.
Moving into the $20 range, car scratch removers offer dual-action designs and can be used with orbital polishers or simply by hand. They’re generally more effective at repairing deeper scratches and swirls, as well.
At the top of the range, expect to find products with included applicators and polishing cloths, as well as faster imperfection removal and increased hardiness.
● Before you attempt to remove a scratch, wash your vehicle to remove dirt, dust, and grime. Attempting to buff out an imperfection while the finish is still dirty could make the scratch worse or cause swirls.
● Not all scratch removers are designed to be used in the same way. Some products work best with a hand cloth or microfiber, while others require a buffer to be most effective. Read the directions carefully, and if they aren’t included already, purchase accessories as needed.
● If a scratch goes all the way to the metal and you can feel it with your hand, swirl removers and wax won’t cut it. Consider using touch-up paint or visiting a body shop for deeper issues.
Q. Can I prevent scratches and swirls from forming in the first place?
A. Yes! Wash and wax your car regularly. The protective finish of the wax provides can act as a shield for light blemishes. In addition, be mindful of where you park. This may require walking a bit more, but parking in a less-crowded area significantly reduces your risk of getting dinged.
Q. What is oxidation, and how can I remedy it?
A. Oxidation occurs when your car’s finish is exposed to intense heat and light. This breaks down the molecular structure of the paint itself, resulting in faded areas, white spots, cloudy areas, and swirls. The best way to prevent oxidation is to regularly wax your paint and park in a shaded area. For added peace of mind, use a car cover.
Q. Are scratch removers safe to use on black paint?
A. Black paint looks amazing when it’s clean, but it also shows dirt, scratches, and swirl marks more than other colors. When fixing these impurities, remember that cars have multiple layers of paint, and not every layer will be the exact same color. This is important when using abrasive scratch removers, as buffing down the finish could potentially reveal an underlying coat and make the problem worse. If you have a black car, look for a restorative scratch remover designed for black cars with wax.
Q. There’s residue on my paint and trim after using a scratch remover. How do I get rid of it?
A. Scratch removers and wax can sometimes leave unsightly residue on your paint or trim pieces. To mitigate this, use a microfiber cloth for a final polish after the scratch has been removed from the paint. To protect your trim, mask it ahead of time with a suitable low-adhesive tape such as blue painter’s tape. If residue still appears on your trim, apply all-purpose cleaner to a rag or soft-bristled brush and gently buff it away.