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The 5 Best Car Scratch Removers (2021 Review)

motor1.com logo motor1.com 6/15/2021 Motor1.com Team

Best Car Scratch Removers © Motor1.com Best Car Scratch Removers

Erase scratches in your car’s paint job with a car scratch remover.

Every car likely has a scratch or two on it from getting dinged in a parking lot or getting scraped by the garage door when pulling in. With a car scratch remover, you can treat those spots and make your car look new again. To learn about your options, read our review on the five best car scratch removers.

In this article:

  • Our Review And Testing Process
  • Best Overall: Meguiar’s M10508 Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound
  • Best For Deep Scratches: Chemical Guys VSS Scratch & Swirl Remover
  • Best Kit: Carfidant Scratch & Swirl Remover
  • #4: 3M Scratch Removal System
  • #5: Shine Armor Revive Scratch Repair Swirl Remover
  • Final Thoughts
  • Buying A Car Scratch Remover: Factors to Consider
  • Car Scratch Remover FAQ
   

Our Review And Testing Process

a bottle and a glass of beer on a table: Five Car Scratch Removal Products © Motor1.com Five Car Scratch Removal Products

First, our review team compiled information on all of the most popular car scratch removers on Amazon. Then, we narrowed down the top five contenders and purchased each product to test in person.

Fortunately for the purposes of our review, one of our team members had scraped their car against a cement pillar in a parking garage prior to this review. The scrape was large enough to test out all five products. There were scrapes on the door as well as the corner of the front bumper.

For each product below, we’ll cover the overall customer experience according to online reviews, share what’s in the box, and share our findings from our scratch removal test.

Testing Process

a close up of a bottle: Car scratch compound © Motor1.com Car scratch compound

Before testing, we thoroughly washed the scratches on the car to get rid of any dust or residue from the cement pillar. We then used a cordless drill and a single type of polishing pad to test each of the products (except for the 3M Scratch Removal System, which came with its own pads).

Be aware that many of the scratches on our test car were very deep. DIY car scratch removal products are only meant to resurface the top layer of clear coat, not fill in deep scratches. You’ll see that some scratches are still visible after the test. However, the products removed most if not all of the smaller scratches on the vehicle.

   

Best Overall: Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound

Meguiar’s car scratch remover takes first place because of its versatility and affordability. It removes all kinds of paint imperfections, including scratches and swirls. It can also be applied to any paint finish using your hands, a polisher, or a buffer.

The product costs about half what the other brands are charging. It even comes in an eight-ounce bottle, which means you will have enough to remove several scratches.

Key Features

  • 8-ounce bottle
  • Removes scratches, defects, acid rain, swirls, and holograms
  • Safe on all paint finishes
  • Use with a hand, dual action polisher, or rotary buffer

What's In The Box

This product ships with a bottle of Meguiar's car scratch removing compound by itself.

What Customers Are Saying

Close to 1,000 Amazon customers have reviewed this product and given it an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. 

Customers were pleased with how well it removed shallow and moderate scratches. They even said that it left the car polished, which suggests that it contains some wax in it to match the shine that is on the rest of the car. However, some Amazon customers complained about how difficult this product is to remove after you’re done buffing it into the scratch.

Before And After Meguiar's Ultra-Cut Compound

a body of water: Meguiar's before and after © Motor1.com Meguiar's before and after

We found Meguiar’s was easy to work with, and it removed all of the small scratches in this area of the car. We tested it in the central area of the photo above. You can see that there are significantly fewer scratches on the door and that the remaining scratches are less noticeable. Again, many of these scratches are too deep for DIY car scratch products to cure.

   

Best For Deep Scratches: Chemical Guys VSS Scratch & Swirl Remover

This is the only car scratch remover that advertises being able to treat both moderate and deep scratches in the paint. This means you should be able to remove everything from a small ding to a deep key scratch.

This product also comes in a 16-ounce bottle, which is double or more the size of the other products in this review. This allows you to treat all of the scratches around your car and save the rest for future scratches.

Key Features

  • 16-ounce bottle
  • Removes moderate and heavy surface imperfections
  • Safe on all car colors
  • Wax- and silicone-free

What's In The Box

This product ships with a bottle of Chemical Guys scratch remover only.

What Customers Are Saying

This product received an average score of 4.3 stars after more than 1,400 Amazon customers reviewed it, which is 0.1 stars above the Amazon average. 

Customers said that the product was easy to use, especially if you watched the company’s tutorial videos on YouTube. They said it removed moderate scratches well and greatly diminished the appearance of deeper ones. There were some complaints by customers that the product didn’t help with swirls and that it may have even made them worse.

Before And After Chemical Guys VSS Scratch & Swirl Remover

Chemical Guys before and after © Motor1.com Chemical Guys before and after

We found the scratch remover product from Chemical Guys to be very effective. In the image above, you can see that it took care of almost all of the scratches except for the very deep ones. It worked so well that it revealed a dent in the door that wasn’t visible before.

However, be sure to use this product with adequate ventilation. We found that the Chemical Guys VSS Scratch & Swirl Remover had the most pungent chemical smell out of all the products, coincidentally.

   

Best Kit: Carfidant Scratch & Swirl Remover

This is one of two car scratch remover kits in this review. It comes with a bottle of liquid and a buffer pad. The application process is easy and only requires putting some liquid on the pad and buffing it into the scratch.

In addition to removing the scratches on any paint finish or color, it also restores the paint, making the paint job look shiny and new again.

Key Features

  • 250-milliliter bottle
  • Buffer pad
  • Removes light scratches, swirls, and other marks
  • Restores paint
  • Safe on all paint finishes and car colors

What's In The Box

Inside the package was the Carfidant scratch remover compound along with a buffing pad. The pad did not have a drill attachment, however. 

What Customers Are Saying

Carfidant’s car scratch remover received a rating of 4.3 stars from more than 10,600 Amazon customers, which is 0.1 stars above the Amazon average. 

Customers said this product worked like the company said it would by removing light scratches and scuff marks. Some customers even said it exceeded their expectations and lightened or removed deeper scratches that they thought would require professional work. There were some complaints that the polish only lasts until the car gets wet. After that, the scratch reappears.

Before And After Carfidant Scratch & Swirl Remover

a close up of a road: Carfidant before and after © Motor1.com Carfidant before and after

We found that the Carfidant Ultimate Scratch & Swirl Remover removed most of the scratches fairly well. This product also left a nice shine on the surface of the car. That said, you can see that the product wasn’t able to get out every scratch. Most of these scratches penetrated into the layer of paint below the clearcoat.

   

#4: 3M Scratch Removal System

This kit is a little more complicated than the Carfidant one, but you are given all of the necessary tools and detailed instructions to walk you through the process. It comes with scratch remover liquid, a rubbing compound, two scrubbers, sandpaper, and a buffer attachment.

This kit is ideal for light damage. It will remove scratches, scuffs, and other marks that are on the paint’s surface.

Key Features

  • 1 ounce of scratch remover
  • 1 ounce of rubbing compound
  • 2 scrubbers
  • 1 square of sandpaper
  • 1 attachment for a buffer
  • Removes light paint scratches and scuffs

What's In The Box

The 3M system includes all the parts listed above, but it is very user-friendly with individual packets of the compounds and multiple buffing pads. The system also includes a velcro attachment for you to use a power drill with each buffer.

What Customers Are Saying

This product received a rating of 4 stars from about 1,500 customers on Amazon. 

Customers liked this product because it came with sandpaper and scrubbing pads instead of just the liquid. They said it required a bit of scrubbing, but it greatly reduced the appearance of their scratches and scuff marks. Some customers said that their kit only came with the liquid and that they had to contact Amazon and wait for the rest of the supplies to arrive before using it.

Before And After 3M Scratch Removal System

3M scratch remover before and after © Motor1.com 3M scratch remover before and after

Above, you can see that the 3M Scratch Removal System did a pretty good job of clearing up the surface scratches and making deep scratches less noticeable.

The system has you start by wetting the area and then sanding the scratch with the pad to build up a slurry. After that, you buff it with the purple pad and rubbing compound. Finally, you buff the area with the black pad and scratch remover compound. The whole process was fairly simple, and the clear instructions that came with the kit made it easy.

   

#5: Shine Armor Revive Scratch Repair Swirl Remover

This mini bottle of four ounces is perfect for the car owner who is only treating a few spots on their car. It treats scratches along with other imperfections, like swirls, water spots, and oxidations.

This product is also wax- and filler-free. This means you can treat the spot once and not have to worry about the repair fading with time.

Key Features

  • 4-ounce bottle
  • Removes scratches, swirls, water spots, and oxidations
  • Restores paint
  • Wax- and filler-free

What's In The Box

This product comes with a bottle of Shine Armor by itself.

What Customers Are Saying

This product received a score of 4 stars from 1,700 Amazon customers. 

Customers said that this product removed their minor scratches and that their deeper scratches are only visible if you look closely. They said that it worked best when you used it with Shine Armor’s Fortify Quick Coat. Some customers said that it was too expensive, especially when comparing it to other car scratch removers that were more effective.

Before And After Shine Armor Revive Scratch Repair

a bird flying over a body of water: Shine Armor before and after © Motor1.com Shine Armor before and after

Ouch. This part of the vehicle sustained the deepest scratches from the cement post, and the Shine Armor scratch remover had its work cut out for it. You can see that the gouge actually goes through all layers of clear coat and paint to reach the metal underneath.

Overall, Shine Armor Revive Scratch Repair did a great job getting rid of small and moderate scratches on the vehicle. For some reason, the actual fluid was the easiest to work with and squeeze onto the buffing pad, as well. Perhaps the smaller bottle made it easier to handle.

   

Final Thoughts

All of the products we tested did what they advertised: they removed light to moderate scratches in the finish of the vehicle. Most of the products clearly said that they were not made to fill in deep scratches or scratches that you can feel with your fingernails.

Here’s a before shot of the entire door:

water next to the ocean: Car door before scratch removal © Motor1.com Car door before scratch removal

And here’s what that door looked like after we tested the different products:

a view of a body of water: Car door after scratch removal © Motor1.com Car door after scratch removal

Did the products get rid of all the scratches? No. But, did they work as expected? Yes, they did. The car certainly looks much better than it did before. If you don’t need to fix very deep scratches, any of the products in our review could do the trick for your car.

   

Buying A Car Scratch Remover: Factors to Consider

Keep these considerations in mind as you begin your search for the best car scratch remover.

Remover Type

Car scratch removers come in three types: 

Compound

This type of car scratch remover can tackle both shallow and deep scratches. Before applying it, read the instructions to make sure you have the proper tools.

Polish

This type isn’t a true car scratch remover. As the name suggests, it is just a polish that will cover up any surface scratches. Like with the compound type, you should read the bottle to see what tool to use for application.

Pen

Pens don’t remove scratches, but they do touch up paint. If you purchase this type, make sure you match the paint to the color of your vehicle.

Size

If you are only treating one scratch, you won’t need much product, so you can buy the smallest bottle possible. However, if you have several scratches around your car, you will want to buy a bigger bottle. Also keep in mind that the product is liquid, which means that if you don’t use it all at once, it may dry before you need to use it again.

Wax and Silicone Content

Car scratch removers may or may not contain wax or silicone. A remover without wax or silicone will be runnier, but it will last a lot longer. A remover with wax or silicone is thicker, making it easier to fill in the scratch. However, the product will fade over time, which means you will have to reapply. You’ll want to decide which you prefer before looking into products.

Application

Each car scratch remover will have different application instructions. You’ll want to read these instructions beforehand so that you have the proper tools needed to apply the product to your car. Most removers require microfiber towels or sponges and maybe even sandpaper for a deeper scratch. You can also buy a kit so that you don’t have to worry about finding the right supplies.

   

Car Scratch Remover FAQ

What types of scratches can be fixed with a car scratch remover?

The paint job of a car is typically made up of three layers. The bottom layer acts as a primer for the second layer that contains the color. The final layer on top is a clear coat that makes your car look shiny. At-home car scratch removers typically only work on scratches on the first two layers. That’s because most removers are abrasive compounds that melt the paint around the scratch. This melted paint is then used to fill in the scratch.

If you have a major scratch that goes all the way down to the metal, we recommend sending your car to a professional. They will have better equipment to tackle the scratch and will be able to touch up the paint instead of just melting the paint around it.

How do you use a car scratch remover?

Here is a step-by-step process to follow:

1. Start by washing your car, paying close attention to any dirt or grime around the scratch. 

2. Read the instructions on the remover. Each remover will have a slightly different application process.

3. If you purchased a kit, you can start using the remover right away. However, if you purchased just the remover, you’ll need to buy a sponge or cloth and sandpaper.

4. If the scratch is shallow, apply some of the remover to the sponge or cloth and work it into the scratch in a back and forth motion.

5. If the scratch is deeper, start by buffing the edges of the scratch with sandpaper until the paint looks dull.

6. Clean off the dust and apply the remover in the same way as described in step 4.

7. Apply a coat of wax to the repaired area to protect the work.

Can I prevent scratches and swirls from forming in the first place?

Yes. Washing and waxing your car regularly could prevent scratches, since wax acts as a protective layer against light blemishes.

What is oxidation?

Oxidation happens when your car’s paint is exposed to intense heat and sunlight. It leaves swirls, faded areas, and white spots on your paint. You can prevent this from happening by regularly waxing your car, parking it in the shade, and using a car cover. If you start to see oxidation on your car’s paint, you can use a car scratch remover to treat it.

What is the best car scratch remover for a black car?

Black cars show scratch and swirl marks more than other car colors. However, a standard abrasive car scratch remover may not work on a black car because each layer of paint will be a different color, preventing you from melting the paint layers and blending them into the scratch. 

If you own a black car, you’ll want to purchase a scratch remover kit specifically designed for a black car that contains wax. The Carfidant Black Car Scratch Remover is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon with a rating of 4.1 stars.

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