Sand, rub and buff the finish
Photo 1: Sand the scratch
Wet the scratch and sandpaper and lightly sand until the finish looks dull and the scratch is no longer obvious. Then clean the surface with a microfiber towel.Photo: Courtesy of The Family Handyman
Photo 2: Apply compound
Squirt rubbing compound onto the polishing pad and spread it around with the pad. Then run the polisher or drill at 1,200 rpm until you get a light haze. Follow up with polishing compound to restore the shine.Photo: Courtesy of The Family Handyman
It’s no secret that car paint scratches easily. All you have to do is set a grocery bag on your roof, hood or trunk lid and then slide it off. Result? Instant scratches. But don’t freak out. You might be able to remove these minor paint scratches yourself in less than an hour and for less than $30. To see if your scratches qualify for this DIY repair, run your fingernail across the scratch. If your nail glides across the scratch without catching in it, it’s a minor scratch that’ll polish out. But if the scratch catches your fingernail, it’s a job for a body shop.
If your scratch qualifies, pick up 3,000-grit sandpaper, rubbing and polishing compound, and polishing pads. You’ll also need a portable drill or dual action (DA) polisher unit. You can buy most of the components off-the-shelf at any auto parts store. Or, you can buy a complete scratch removal kit (one choice is the 3M Scratch Removal System No. 39071 available through our affiliation with amazon.com). Here’s the procedure.
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- Cordless drill
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
- 3000 grit sandpaper
- Microfiber towel
- Polishing compound
- Rubbing compound