How to Remove Scratches from Your Car’s Paintwork

car polish tools

If you’ve ever had a scratch on your car, you know how frustrating it can be. Not only does it make your car look unsightly, but it can also significantly decrease the value of your vehicle if and when you decide to sell it. Fortunately, removing superficial scratches and some deeper imperfections can be a simple process. This article will go over how to remove scratches from your car’s paintwork using car polish products. It will also cover some of the different types of polishes available and how to use them properly.

Different Types of Polishing Products

While there are many different car polish products on the market, the most commonly used types of car polishes are rubbing compounds and cutting compounds. Rubbing compounds contain abrasives that can get under the top layer of paint, while cutting compounds use harsher chemicals and abrasives to go even deeper. Which type of polish you’ll need will depend on the depth and severity of the scratch or imperfection.

How to Remove Scratches


Before applying any car polish products, you’ll first need to give your car a preliminary wash in order to remove any dirt, debris and particles that have accumulated on the surface of the paint. This will allow the products to work themselves deeper into the clear coat of your vehicle’s paint whilst also minimising the risk of scratching during the polishing process itself.

Applying Polishing Products

If you’re unsure of which specific polishing product to use, it’s best to speak to someone who has experience with car detailing products. Once you’ve selected the right car polish, follow the instructions on the label carefully. In general, you’ll want to apply a small amount of polish to a clean, soft cloth (preferably a microfibre cloth) and then apply it to the scratch or imperfection using a circular motion. After you’ve applied enough pressure and polish, you should see the scratch start to disappear.

Aftercare Tips

Once you’ve removed the scratch, it’s important to protect your car’s paintwork from further damage. Make sure to wash and wax your car regularly, and avoid parking in direct sunlight or under trees (where sap or bird droppings can fall and damage the paint). Following these simple tips will minimise the chances of scratches or imperfections occurring again whilst also increasing the overall longevity and finish of the car polish itself.

Should You Remove Scratches by Hand or with a Machine?

Most superficial marks and scratches can be removed with a bit of elbow grease using a hand polishing method. However, if you’re short on time or if hand polishing simply isn’t getting the results you want, then using a machine polisher to apply car polish may be an appropriate method.

Some general guidelines for using a machine polisher include:

  • Work in small areas – Limiting the polishing area will maximise the efficacy of the polishing products you’re using.
  • Always follow the instructions on the bottle – Most polishing products require a surprisingly small amount of product to be applied to the polishing pad to work effectively.  Don’t overdo it, and if you’re unsure, read the product instructions.
  • Start polishing at a slow speed – Setting your polishing machine to a slow speed will ensure you can spread the polishing product evenly and reduce the chance of swirl marks.
  • Wipe off excess polish with a microfibre towel – Once you’ve made enough passes on a section, be sure to wipe off any leftover residue with a microfibre towel. Ideally, you’ll want to make 4-5 passes on the section you’re polishing.
  • Clean pads periodically – It’s normal for polishing pads to accumulate polishing products during the process. Be sure to clean your pads periodically and especially when starting to polish a different section of the vehicle.

Whether you choose to polish by hand or machine, the most important thing is to not rush the process. As you gain more experience and experiment with different products and techniques, your speed and the results you gain from polishing will both gradually improve.