Restoring your car’s flawless paint when it’s scratched is no small feat. You need the best car scratch remover to help you get the job done.
Whether it’s a minor scuff or a deeper scratch, car scratches not only look unsightly, but they can affect the resale value of your engine. However, with a little time and patience, you can apply a little elbow grease for a better finish. An effective car scratch remover minimizes minor imperfections, hides annoying stains and helps protect the paintwork from further damage.
Read on and we’ll explain how to find the very best scratch remover for your car, while recommending some of our favorites that will keep your car looking (almost) as good as new.
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Best car scratch removers: at a glance
How to choose the best car scratch remover for you?
The best car scratch remover for you depends entirely on the type of scratch you are dealing with. Scratches can be deep, through the primer and into the metalwork. Some take on the color while others more shallow scratches only affect the clear coats.
It is worth mentioning now that if you see flashes of metalwork, you will likely need a scratch/flake repair kit. These have a three step process to replace the primer, repaint the color and add the clear top coat. Once you’ve followed these steps, a surface scratch remover or car polish will help you apply your clear coat more evenly.
Do car scratch removers really work?
Yes, scratch removers work. However, they are not an instant fix. Set aside an hour of your favorite podcast on a dry day if you’re truly committed to the cause. To better understand how DIY scratch removers can help, it’s important to understand that your car’s bodywork is made up of layers, including a few coats of clear coat and your car color. Underneath is primer and finally the metal of the body panel.
Much like treating aging facial skin, you wouldn’t expect the best store-bought moisturizer to do the same job, or give the same results, as an injectable deeper dermal filler.
How do I repair deep scratches on my car?
The most honest answer is: with difficulty. Whether someone caught your car with the zipper on their jacket, scratched it by squeezing it, or you in their car, or you had an altercation with a traffic bollard, deep scratches are hard work.
Reducing a deep scratch, especially one that affects the color and/or primer coat, to ‘it never happened’ usually requires a skilled detailing or spray painting expert. They should be able to heavily mask damage without having to repaint the entire panel.
Provided you haven’t removed the color, the products on this list are budget-friendly enough to try before you bring in the expensive pros.
Is it worth repairing scratches on my car?
This depends. If you’re letting an old car drive into the ground until the day it dies, at which point you plan to scrap it or sell it for parts, repairing a scratch is neither a cost nor a time-saver.
On the other hand, if you’ve just marked up your mom’s brand-new bike or you’re turning in a lease car and need some wear and tear to avoid fines, then you may be more motivated to get a repair done.
How do I apply car scratch remover?
Each product has its own instructions, which are worth reading carefully before starting. In general, you should wash your car, or at least the area of repair, thoroughly. You should also make sure to apply car treatments in the shade. Whether it’s wax, polish, or scratch remover, getting out in the midday sun will hinder the product’s ability to function properly.
To put this in context, the booths used for a full repaint should be around 21 degrees for the paint to cure on the panels. In the summer, certain car colors, especially black, can reach scorching temperatures. When you’ve also returned from a ride, add engine heat to the mix. It is a guaranteed disaster for any attempt to restore the aesthetics of the paintwork.
These products are abrasive. They polish away irregularities with a fine grain. Combined with the lightest touch, they can completely change the look of a clear coat on your paint. Initially, the area will get duller, but don’t panic. Keep plugging and the smooth shine will be quickly restored.
The time it takes will depend on whether you are repairing by hand or using a machine. You do not need to purchase a specific car polisher. If you have a household exercise, you can: buy polishing attachments to keep repair costs low. If you’re doing a manual repair, you’ll want to invest in some waffle applicator pads and a microfiber cloth.
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The Best Car Scratch Removers You Can Buy in 2022
1. Farecla G3 Pro Scratch Remover Paste: The best car scratch remover for light scratches
Price: £8 | Buy now from Amazon
Farecla is a highly respected French brand, and the fact that the G3 Pro comes in a smaller 150ml size for half the price of its rivals is a smart business decision. Scratch removers are the kind of product where a pea-sized amount goes a long way, and we’re big fans of quality over quantity. This product can be used by hand or with a machine. If you are going to use the latter, make sure you can control its weight for a longer period of time.
This paste is better used in spot repairs as it is easier to control. It is also effective on glass. However, if you have scratches over a larger area, you are better off with a liquid.
Key specs – Type: To stick; Mate† 150ml; Extras: No
2. T-Cut Quick Scratch Remover: The Most Affordable Car Scratch Remover
Price: £8 | Buy now at Wilko
You’ll see people using T-Cut for car scratch repair, the same way they use Google for a web search. Synonymous for scratch removal, ignore the “quick” in the title of T-Cut Quick Scratch Remover – that’s probably a hangover from days before the internet, when life was at a slower pace.
T-Cut is not for the faint of heart. It is a liquid and as such will cover larger, but not deeper, damaged surfaces. It provides good results, but it needs quite a bit of work. You have to factor in the cost of one wax as the shine remaining will not match some of the others. But in his favor it does not cost the earth.
Key specs -Type: Liquid; Mate† 500ml; Extras: No
Buy now at Wilko
3. Autoglym Complete Scratch Removal Kit: The best car scratch remover for manual repairs
Price: £19 | Buy now from Amazon
This Autoglym Complete Scratch Removal Kit is pricey but offers good value for money. This is a complete package including the scratch remover, a waffle applicator pad, car polish (enough to cover the entire car) and a microfibre cloth. Although you will be doing the work by hand, the applicator pad is designed to minimize hand cramping.
With this Autoglym scratch repair you spot a smaller problem area with the double-sided waffle applicator, which moves back and forth with the lightest of touches. It’s not really suitable for larger planed areas, although it will help reduce the visibility of such damage. Once the clear coat has recovered, you can apply the Autoglym Super Resin Polish all over the car for a glossy finish.
Key specs – Type: To stick; Mate† 100ml; Extras: Waffle applicator pad, car polish, microfiber cloth
4. Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound Color & Clarity Restorer: The best car scratch remover for machine repair
Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon
Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is great for tackling defects above the surface such as bird droppings, dust, road grime, tree sap and paint overspray. But it also makes relatively easy work of surface defects, such as acid etching, swirls and scratches, and bird droppings stains that weren’t removed before settling in the paint.
Because it is better suited to larger restoration areas, the best results with Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound are obtained by working with a machine. It is formulated to leave a deep shine and high gloss finish backed by carnauba wax.
Key specs – Type: Liquid; Mate† 450ml; Extras: No