Use-Rubbing-Compound-To-Get-Rid-Of-Car-Scratches
Cars,  Auto Parts

How To Use Rubbing Compound To Get Rid Of Car Scratches?

Are you terrified of getting a scratches on your car, even when doing everything the right way? Good news and bad news. Most cars will get a scratch but there are ways to remove them. This guide will help you get rid of scratches you may see.

Car scratches can feel painful when you have put so much effort into making your car look nice. If your car is your baby, you want to make sure it's well taken care of. Scratch will occur as a result of various situations, such as:

  • Accidents
  • Collisions while reversing your car
  • Small rocks flung by cars
  • Parking mishaps

Even a minor scratch on your car could ruin its overall appearance and make you disappointed. If you take it to a car body shop to apply a new coat of paint or a minimal touch-up, it could cost quite a bit.

We will give you options for using rubbing compounds to remove scratches all by yourself. This will bring back your car's appeal.

Types of Scratches

Lighter scratches

Deeper Scratches

  • Use a rubbing compound
  • Compound by itself works on lighter scratches
  • Removes swirls in paint and oxidation
  • Easy to clean off
  • Works quickly
  • Use sandpaper (Possibly 3000 & 5000 grit)
  • Sanding needed with deeper scratches
  • Use a rubbing compound to remove swirls, scratches, and oxidation
  • Should use wax as well to protect the sanded area
  • You can use a touch up kit or clear coat touch up if the scratch has gone done to the paint or metal - although results may vary
  • May not remove medium or deep scratches
  • Different compounds remove different levels of scratches
  • More time needed
  • Caution needed when sanding, so you don't sand off too much clear coat

When you see a scratch in your paint you'll first need to evaluate the type of scratch it is. If the scratch is light you shouldn't be able to feel it grab as you move your finger nail over the scratch. This mean use can use rubbing compound by itself. 

A deeper scratch will grab you finger nail as you move it over the scratch. This usually means that some sanding may be required. 

A deep scratch or chip that goes down to the paint surface or car body, will need to be filled in with touch up paint and or touch up clear coat. A dealer may be able to provide you with the correct paint touch up color, or you can try to match the color with a touch up kit. 

Get Ready to Start!

scratch-from-your-car

Get the following items ready to use when removing a scratch from your car:

Light Scratch:

  • A rubbing compound: It is an abrasive material that grinds the surface layers of dull and damaged paint. It creates a smooth surface and helps remove light scratches, as if by magic! 
  • Soft fabric cloths:  You can use a microfiber cloth for applying compound and wax, to clean the car, to clean off surface when done with rubbing compound, and wiping off wax.
  • Car wax: to give a final finish. 
  • Soapy water: to remove dirt completely

Deep Scratch:

  • Sandpaper: Get an ultra fine 3000 and 5000 grit wet/dry sandpaper. 
  • Orbital polisher or a buffing machine: This is optional. It may make sanding and waxing a bit easier. 
  • Wool pad: to fix over the orbital polisher
  • A rubbing compound: Same as above
  • Soapy water: to remove dirt completely
  • Car wax: to give a final finish. Get paste, as this works better after sanding.
  • Soft fabric clothsFor cleaning and applying.

Below Clear Coat Scratch or chip

How to Remove Scratches from Your Car?

By keeping all the above necessary items ready, you are all set to remove the scratch by yourself. But of course, you need to follow certain techniques to use them efficiently. This guide will teach you how to use rubbing compound to get rid of scratches.

Step 1: Clean the Surface of the Scratch

Clean-the-Surface

Before you apply the rubbing compound, you have to clean the area which has the scratch, so that the rubbing compound can work well on the scratch. With a little extra effort, you can clean the entire car surface, which is similar to getting two things done in one shot.

  • With soapy water, clean the entire car surface.
  • Rinse the surface with plain water after cleaning with soap solution.
  • ​Clean it up with a dry cloth.
  • Inspect the car as to which areas need to be worked on for removing scratches and determine the intensity of the scratch. (Look at types of scra​​tches)

Step 2: Sanding Down to the Layer of Scratch

the-Layer-of-Scratch

(If you have a light scratch or down to the metal scratch or chip, you can skip this step)

Some scratches wont respond to rubbing compound until the scratch is sanded down. Our goal is to make the scratch invisible. To achieve this, we are going to remove part of the clear coat until we get to the scratch layer. Fine grit sandpaper will help you slowly remove a bit of the clear coat.

We should not sand below the scratch layer, or we may remove the clear coat. Some people use a dark or light shoe polish to fill in the scratch. Then, as you sand you can start to see the scratch go away.  

  • Place the 3000 grit sandpaper on a wooden block and generously apply water and soap solution to perform smooth sanding.
  • Sand the scratch using light pressure at 90-degree angles to the scratch.
  • Perform up and down motions about an inch above and below the scratch.
  • Dip the sandpaper in water and soap solution frequently to make the process easier.
  • Perform the above steps until the contrasting mark of the shoe polish disappears. (If the shoe polish washes away, periodically wipe away any water to see if the scratch is still there)

In order to get a better result on your finish use 5000 grit sand paper to help smooth out the scratches of the sandpaper and blend the area into the surrounding paint.

  • Place the 5000 grit sandpaper on a wooden block and generously apply water and soap solution to perform smooth sanding.
  • Sand using light pressure in a circular motion about an inch or two above, below, to the sides, and on the dull sanded area. 
  • Dip the sandpaper in water and soap solution frequently to make the process easier.
  • Perform the above steps for a minute or two until the area looks the same wherever you sanded. 
  • Wash off and wipe clean.

Step 3: How to Use Rubbing Compound?

(If you have a down to the metal scratch or chip, you can skip this step)

Let us see how to use rubbing compound after you have sanded (if needed) the area and everything is smooth.

Using an buffing machine method:

  • Fix the wool pad at the center of the orbital polisher.
  • Apply a thin line of rubbing compound over the dull sanded area directly on the painted surface. You can find most rubbing compound in a squeeze tube for ease of use. If it is in a can, scoop out little compound using a paper towel and apply over the dull paint.
  • ​Set your orbital polisher into motion over the scratch. This is the easiest method to spread the rubbing compound.

Using your hand:

  • Apply enough rubbing compound over your microfiber towel to cover the dull area with a thin amount of compound. 
  • Apply the rubbing compound using firm pressure as you rub in a circular motion over the dull sanded area with a microfiber towel. 
  • Apply more rubbing compound until the area is no longer dull. 

It's important to use a separate the wool pad when spreading the rubbing compound and use a separate one for waxing the car surface.


It is also necessary to remove the rubbing compound completely using a towel before going to the next step.

Step 4: Polishing, Painting, and Waxing

Painting-car

Polishing:

After cleaning off any rubbing compound, you can use another wool pad and polish the surface. This isn't necessary but may help the overall shin. 

Painting:

If you have a scratch that goes down to the metal, it is easiest to use a touch up kit or putty and paint. A chip or scratch wont respond to rubbing compound if it goes down to the paint or metal. Although if it goes down to the paint, you may be able to use just an application of clear coat. Here's a video with more information. 

Wax:

It important to protect the area you applied rubbing compound to. If you sanded, using a paste wax works best. If you had a light scratch any wax should work fine. Now you can step back and enjoy your hard work!

 

Conclusion

The above steps will help you remove scratches if you have followed the steps properly. You can remove light scratches easily and deeper scratches with some time and patience. 

As you learn, you experience will grow, and you can master the art of scratch removal. If you successfully follow the steps above, you can look confidently at the work you did by yourself and enjoy a you beautiful paint finish. For more information on keeping your car in its best condition use the search bar or go to the article posts.