What is Car Scratch Remover?

A scratch remover serves to remove swirl marks, hazing, or oxidation from car’s paint. Typically, it’s used to get rid of minor imperfections and gaps, though some products like deep car scratch removers allow restoring paint surface with scratches several mm deep. With a scratch remover, car can look like a new one.

Types of Car Scratch Removers

Typically, car scratch removers differ by the degree of abrasiveness and the depth of scratches they can eliminate. While some are suitable for removing pretty deep scratches, others can only slightly polish the surface (the finish layer of paint). There are three basic types of products:

  1. Polishes are used to even the surface of car paint and are applied to make minor scratches (1-4 mm deep) less visible.
  2. Color restorers are ideal for applying to wide and large scratches and gaps.
  3. Scratch removers are recommended for relatively deep paint imperfections (some of them help to reduce the visibility of scratches several layers deep).

The products can be produced in the form of pens, sprays, compounds, or liquid solutions.

Comparison Table: Best Car Scratch Remover

The table below shows that the vast majority of products are designed for removal of fine (1-3 mm deep) scratches, though they can be used for any color of car paint. Each item is enough for processing the entire surface of a car.





What comes in the kit

Types of imperfections processed


The depth of removed scratches

Are additional items required?

Steps required to use the product

3M 39071 Scratch Removal System

BUY NOW AMAZON Rubbing compound  – 1 oz, scratch remover – 1 oz Sandpaper, compound, scratch removal pad, pad holder Slight scratches caused by nails, rubbing, etc. Any 1-3 mm Yes 5

Mothers 07240 California Gold Clay Bar System

BUY NOW AMAZON 16 oz. ( Detailer) 2 Clay bars, microfiber towel, compound Relatively deep scratches and particles of dirt inside Any

1-5 mm



Turtle Wax T-241A Polishing Compound & Scratch Remover – 10.5 oz.

BUY NOW AMAZON 10.5 oz. Compound only

Deep scratches and scuffs

Any 1-5 mm Yes 1

Chemical Guys COM_129_16 Scratch and Swirl Remover (16 oz)


Compound + brush

Deep and moderate scratches, stains


1-5 mm Yes 2 in 1 (compound + polish)

Meguiar M105 Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound

BUY NOW AMAZON 32 ounce Compound only

Small scratches and stains

Any 1-3 mm Yes 1

Dupli-Color ASF0100 Universal Black Exact-Match Scratch Fix All-in-1 Touch-Up Paint

BUY NOW AMAZON 0.5 ounce Clear coat, compound, brush for bigger scratches, tip brush for smaller scratches Minor and moderate scratches


1-4 mm No  4

TriNova Scratch and Swirl Remover

   BUY NOW AMAZON 12 oz  Contains Peat The compound, a  buffer pad Fine scratches


1-3 mm No  1

3M 39044 Scratch Remover

  BUY NOW AMAZON  8 0z Compound only Deep and moderate scratches, stains Any 1-5 mm Yes

Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound

  BUY NOW AMAZON  15.2 oz Compound only Fine scratches Any 1-3 mm Yes 3

Formula 1 Scratch Out

  BUY NOW AMAZON  8 0z Paste wax only Fine scratches Any 1-3 mm Yes 1

What Should Be Considered When You Make a Purchase?

When you’re searching for an ideal scratch remover, pay attention to the following aspects.


First and foremost, a buyer should consider what the compound is made of. As a rule, wax products are suitable for finishing and protection only, while products with abrasive particles remove scratches.
Don’t forget to make sure that the product works with your car’s paint color. Some polishers are colored.

Ease of Use

Ideally, a compound should be used both manually and with a machine: it will save you time. You can start polishing your vehicle with a machine and remove tiny imperfections using a cloth with the compound.
If you don’t have much time, all-in-one solution is what you need. Some compounds perform both polishing and finishing functions. However, the best results are reached when a user polishes the surface first and applies a wax protector next.


The level of abrasiveness is very important. For serious scratches and stains, a highly abrasive compound should be bought (it shall work with scratches 1-5 mm deep). Those products should be used very carefully because they remove paint. For small scratches, use a 3 mm car scratch remover.


Don’t mistake usual compounds for polishers with wax. While the first remove scratches by processing them and affecting paint, wax polishers fill scratches in, add gloss and protect car paint against moisture, dust, and minor damage. Both products are equally important for keeping the car surface clean and shiny.

How Did We Choose and Test Car Scratch Removers?

In order to select the top car scratch remover, we read numerous car scratch remover reviews and tested seven popular products. They were applied to sections of damaged car paint (the surface was covered with swirls and scuffs): we evaluated the progress on the marks, as well as the final result.

Top-10 Car Scratch Removers

On this list, you will find top-rated car scratch removers that are suitable for different types and colors of car paint.

3M removal system with materials for polishing paint surface

3M 39071 Scratch Removal System

This device is created for removing minor paint scratches with the help of a 3-stage repair method. The kit contains different types of materials for getting rid of multiple imperfections. It can serve to sand, compound and polish clear coat surface of car paint. It will be especially useful for restoring paint surface in high-contact zones (near door handles, door panels, etc).


  • cheap;
  • versatile (can be used for any color of paint).


  • a user needs additional items (microfiber cloth, some water, and a spray bottle);
  • although the product can be used manually, better results can be reached only when a household drill is applied;
  • according to feedback, it’s far not the best scratch remover for black car.
Mothers instant detailer

Mothers 07240 California Gold Clay Bar System

Those who are searching for the best car deep scratch remover and want to renew the look of their cars should definitely give this item a try. The clay bar system allows removing hard-to-reach dirt deposits and dust particles, as well as grains of metal. If used on a long-term basis, it provides solid protection against paint damage. Please note that although users claim it’s the best car scratch remover pen, this product should rather be used as a preventative measure.


  • works well with all colors of paint;
  • one kit is enough to process the entire surface of a car;
  • protects car paint against UV light and scratches.


  • doesn’t work with all kinds of stains and scratches.
Chemical Guys’ paste for car scratches

Turtle Wax T-241A Polishing Compound & Scratch Remover – 10.5 oz.

This 3 mm car scratch remover will be suitable to handle deep scuffs and highly visible imperfections. The paste allows cleaning oxidized car surface, deleting hard-to-remove stains and blemishes, and so on. Besides, it can refresh faded finish surface. It’s pretty easy in use: the product is rubbed down between the coats of freshly applied lacquer and acryl coat layer. Turtle Wax car scratch remover is safe as it doesn’t contain carcinogenic compounds and doesn’t produce a bad chemical smell.


  • can be used for car paint and headlights;
  • non-expensive
  • works with pretty deep scratches.


  • doesn’t have an applicator – users need a paper towel to apply it;
  • Turtle car scratch remover is not abrasive, so it won’t polish scratches.
Chemical Guys’ paste for car scratches

Chemical Guys COM_129_16 Scratch and Swirl Remover (16 oz)

This is the best scratch remover for car covered with moderate to deep scratches. Chemical Guys brand offers the product that combines the functions of both a cleaner and a polish and helps to get rid of multiple surface imperfections. It doesn’t contain wax and silicone, which means it won’t leave greasy stains. It works as a compound to diminish the traces of scratches and then turns into a polish to finish the surface. Those who have been in search of “as seen on TV car paint scratch remover” should opt for this variant.


  • if used correctly, it can eliminate pretty deep scratches;
  • one step is enough to reach perfect results.


  • not cheap;
  • additional items are required for processing car paint;
  • the process of polishing takes much preparation and time.
Meguiars is a micro-abrasive polisher for old car paint.

Meguiar M105 Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound

One of the most highly recommended car finish scratch removers, this product is created for deleting minor imperfections and polishing car paint to the ideal state. It features a special formula with micro-abrasion technology, which allows dealing with 1200 grit and smaller marks. Meguiars car scratch remover is perfect for eliminating small scratches, severe swirls and stubborn stains (like acid rain), and many other defects. The product can be applied manually, or with the help of a rotary buffer or a polisher.


  • it’s totally safe for a clear coat;
  • eliminates most scratches and makes car paint shine like new.


  • should be applied by experienced users to reach optimal results;
  • dries up quickly, which isn’t convenient for some users.
Dupli-Color system for black car paint.

Dupli-Color ASF0100 Universal Black Exact-Match Scratch Fix All-in-1 Touch-Up Paint

This black car scratch remover comes in the form of a pen and is claimed to be a magic wand against minor scratches. The device serves as a touch-up tool that can help to remove rust and lose particles of paint and fill the gaps up to make them invisible. It has two applicators: a chisel tip brush for filling in bigger scratches, and a pen tip for small gaps. Restoration with a Dupli-Color pen takes not much time (totally dries up in 40 minutes), and in the result, user can get a completely new look.


  • allows filling in relatively large scratches making them invisible;
  • all-in-one device.


  • black color only (doesn’t match every car model);
  • should be applied very accurately to avoid the mess.
TriNova kit for removal of minor blemishes.

TriNova Scratch and Swirl remover

According to car polish scratch remover reviews, TriNova is a very efficient and easy-to-use product. It’s designed as a touch-up tool for minor scratches and imperfections of clear coat. The solution is simply applied to oxidized and stubborn stains and blemishes to make the car paint shine like new. The kit includes the polish liquid and the buffer pad, which can be used manually, or with the help of some automated devices. Please, note, that it only makes scratches less visible, but doesn’t restore the color of car paint.


  • non-expensive;
  • gives brilliance even to old car paint;
  • can be used with any car paint colors;
  • doesn’t require wax pens, or any other products to get rid of scratches.


  • works with minor scratches only.
3M 39044 Scratch Remover

3M 39044 Scratch Remover


This best scratch remover for car is created to eliminate all kinds of imperfections, including swirl marks and medium-deep scratches. Instead of filling the scratches with wax, it polishes the spots and leaves a glossy finish. 3M Scratch Remover can be applied manually, or with a machine. It removes oxidation stains, scratches, branch streaks, and other contaminations. One bottle is enough for several applications.

Our opinion:

It’s a versatile solution for cars of any color. Being non-expensive and efficient, it might be the leader of our Top-10.


  • Very efficient.
  • Matches any color of paint.
  • Easy in use.


  • A cloth isn’t included in the kit.
Meguiar's G17216 Ultimate Compound

Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound


Meguiar’s ultimate compound was made to remove different kinds of stains from car surface, starting from water spots and finishing by scratches. It has the micro-abrasive technology for reaching excellent results. The solution can be applied both manually, and with a machine. Please, note that it doesn’t contain wax – only polishing agents. Therefore, the car paint should be waxed additionally to protect it against damage.

Our opinion:

It’s a top car scratch remover for eliminating small scratches and renewing the car surface. However, it won’t eliminate large scratches, and additional finishing is required, which makes such treatment quite expensive. If you want to make the process less time-consuming, it’s better to try Meguiar’s MT300 Dual Action Polisher.


  • Easy in use.
  • Make up for a very glossy finish.


  • Expensive.
  • Waxing should be done afterward.
Formula 1 Scratch Out

Formula 1 Scratch Out


This paste consists of small micropolishers that remove small marks and fine scratches and haze on the car paint. It restores the initial color of the vehicle and protects the surface from damage. The formula with Carnauba wax makes it easy in use and protects the user’s car against dust and small scratches.

Our opinion:

Generally, this is a good product for finishing. It won’t remove large scratches, but glossy finishing is guaranteed.


  • Cheap.
  • Easy in use.


  • Works for small scratches and haze only.

5 Interesting Facts

The layers of car paint

  1. Modern urethane paints consist of two layers: the upper one is a clear coat on the top. It protects the basic layer against UV rays but can be damaged easily.
  2. Even the best car scratch remover cannot totally eliminate imperfections of car paint because it serves to polish the surface. Total restoration is possible with the help of paint shop only.
  3. Wax pens fill in the gaps formed by scratches but are fully removed after a car wash, which is why this is a temporary solution.
  4. The catalyzed enamel used to cover modern cars gets stable within a few hours after application, while lacquers we use to hide the scratches take more time to dry up.
  5. Professional all-over repainting will cost you $5.000 while using a car scratch remover is hundred times cheaper!

How to Care About Car Paint With A Scratch Remover?

Here and where you can read a car scratch remover pen review claiming that some product was totally helpless: that’s mostly due to the lack of user’s skill. In fact, each product has its own peculiarities and should be exploited strictly according to its instruction. Failing to follow the instructions can lead to zero results or simply mess done on the car paint.


Before working with car’s surface, it should be cleaned with a wet fiber cloth and degreased totally. Evaluate the depth of scratches and figure out the appropriate product: touch-up items are suitable for minor blemishes, while scratch removers with the wax base are ideal for handling relatively deep gaps (up to 5 mm deep). Note that the color of paint is usually restored with special colored pens and solutions – versatile colorless compounds aren’t suitable for that.

Removing Scratches

In order to make a scratch less visible, the following steps should be done:

  • dust and metal particles left deep in the gap should be totally removed (wax-based products are suitable for that);
  • the scratch should be polished with an abrasive product (1,500-2,000 grid would be optimal);
  • the touch-up solution should be applied on clear coat to protect the car surface.

This is an approximate list – the instruction differs for every product.

What if a Scratch Remover Doesn’t Help?

If the products for polishing are useless, and the scratches do not reach the color coat, trying a more intensive approach will make sense. Touch the scratch: if you can feel it, but your fingernail does not cling to it, there’s a chance that the damage might be repaired. After washing the surface with water and soap, a user should spray water on a 3,000-grit pad and the finish, and rub the target zone until some kind of foam appears (it takes a few seconds). The appeared mess should be removed with a wet paper towel. As a rule, it’s enough.

To get rid of discoloration, a driver can do the following:   

  1. Attach a buffing wheel to a usual household drill.
  2. Distribute the compound over the pad manually prior to switching on the drill.
  3. The drill should be used at low or moderate speed. The area should be processed until the compound dries up slightly.
  4. All extra compounds should be removed with a dry towel (until the towel gets totally clean).
  5. The pads should be changed, and the remover is applied. The drill should not be switched on until it’s totally distributed.
  6. The surface is processed with the pad on the drill again at slow speed.
  7. The zone is wiped with a microfiber towel until the scratch disappears. The area should be evaluated from different angles to make sure that it’s clean.
  8. The final step is protecting the zone with a wax-based product, or a polish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why Should You Use A Scratch Remover For Your Car?

A: While car washing removes dirt and dust only, scratches and tree marks stay on the surface. Numerous tiny scratches make the surface seem blurry and old. With a scratch remover, a car owner polishes the surface of car paint and removes small scratches. That makes the surface shinier.

Q: Does It Do Harm To The Car’s Painting?

A: it depends on the type of product used. Polish compounds contain abrasive particles that do remove paint. The higher abrasiveness is, the more paint is removed. Therefore, deep car scratch removers shouldn’t be used too often.
As for products with wax, they fill in the scratches instead of polishing them. They don’t harm car surface: vice versa, wax protects the paint against damage and environmental factors. Wax products are highly recommended to be used after primary treatment.

Q: Do Scratch Removers Work On Cars?

A: Yes, but only specialized solutions. If you need to remove scratches and imperfections from a car, buy the products designed exactly for that. Note that paint on different vehicles isn’t the same.

Q: What Is The Use Of A Rubbing Compound?

A: A rubbing compound removes scratches and makes them less visible. It evens the surface by polishing it, literally reducing the depth of scratches. Besides, it can serve to eliminate stains from water and oxidation. Rubbing compounds have a different degree of abrasiveness – it should be considered when you make a purchase.

Q: How To Fix My Car Paint Fade After Using The Scratch Remover?

A: Wax compounds should be used after a scratch remover for car. They fill in the remaining gaps making car surface even more glossy and shiny. Besides, a thin wax cover protects the paint against moisture and stains, as well as minor scratches. It forms a film on the surface that makes the paint look brighter.
Alternatively, special colored compounds can be used to renew the color. However, they are suitable for small surfaces only, and it’s hard to find a matching color.

Q: Will I Be Able To Match The Paint Color With A Car Scratch Remover?

A: It depends on the car paint color. While white and black compounds are easy to find, colored compounds may have a different shade that will only make scratches more visible.
If you have a car with a rare paint color, it’s better to use a transparent polish compound (that’s what the majority of products are like) and add up waxing after polishing.

Our Recommendations

All of the above-mentioned items are equally perfect for removing scratches and blemishes from cars, but they should be chosen carefully. Besides, the user needs to follow all instructions strictly to reach optimal results. We highly recommend using Chemical Guys COM_129_16 Scratch and Swirl Remover because it eliminates even deep scratches and comes with a convenient brush while being non-expensive. Alternatively, you can try TriNova Scratch and Swirl Remover: this kit is cheap but removes fine scratches brilliantly.

If you need the best car deep scratch remover under $15, opt for 3M 39044 Scratch Remover, and don’t forget to buy a cloth (+$3). However, all polishers should be used together with wax compounds to reach better results, so be ready to pay a few more bucks. Formula 1 Scratch Out is a cheap wax finisher that won’t take a bite of your wallet.

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