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.


3M removal system with materials for polishing paint surface

3M 39071 Scratch 

Mothers instant detailer

Mothers 07240   

Chemical Guys’ paste for car scratches

Turtle Wax T-241A   

Chemical Guys’ paste for car scratches

Chemical Guys 

Meguiars is a micro-abrasive polisher for old car paint.

Meguiar M105 

Dupli-Color system for black car paint.


TriNova kit for removal of minor blemishes.

TriNova Scratch  

Volume Rubbing compound  – 1 oz, scratch remover – 1 oz 16 oz. ( Detailer) 10.5 oz. 16 oz 32 ounce 0.5 ounce 12 oz
What comes in the kit Sandpaper, compound, scratch removal pad, pad holder 2 Clay bars, microfiber towel, compound Compound only Compound only Compound only Clear coat, compound, brush for bigger scratches, tip brush for smaller scratches Compound, a  buffer pad
Types of imperfections processed Slight scratches caused by nails, rubbing, etc.   Relatively deep scratches and particles of dirt inside Deep scratches and scuffs Deep and moderate scratches, stains Small scratches and stains Minor and moderate scratches Fine scratches
Color Any Any Any Any Any Black Any
Depth of removed scratches 1-3 mm 1-5 mm 1-5 mm 1-5 mm 1-3 mm 1-4 mm 1-3 mm
Are additional items required? Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No
Steps requires to use the product 5 3 1 2 in 1 (compound + polish) 1 4 1


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 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.

TOP7 Car Scratch Removers in 2018

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.

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.

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.

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