If you have scratch remover unsightly scratches marring your car’s paint, don’t go straight to the body shop. Depending on how deep the scratch is, there’s a possibility you can remove it with a high-quality scratch remover and some elbow grease.
While all paint scratch removers require a bit of manual labor, most are affordable and straightforward to use. You don’t have to be a car detailing expert to remove scratches, just make sure you pick the right product for the job.
Below, we take a look at the top 10 best paint scratch removers available today.
3M Scratch Remover
A well-known and trusted brand in the automotive industry, 3M’s Scratch Remover is designed to eliminate scratches, swirl marks, and more. Its formula contains no wax, so scratches are actually polished out and not filled in. The company says the compound combines medium-cutting with fine finishing and can be applied by hand or machine, like an orbital buffer. When applying it by hand, 3M says it’s easier to use than rubbing compound.
The 3M Scratch Remover is available in an 8-ounce bottle at an affordable price and can be used on a variety of automotive surface blemishes including car wash scratches, scuffs, oxidation, light stains, tree and shrub branch streaks, as well as surface contaminants.
Overall, this product is one of the easiest to use. Similar to waxing your car, you will apply the solution to a small area of the car, using a firm circular motion until the cleaner is dry. Afterward, wipe off the remaining film using a separate microfiber towel.
Pros – Easy to use, affordable, polishes out scratches
Cons – Won’t work on really deep scratches
Bottom Line – One of the best options
Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound
Like 3M, Meguiar’s is a trusted brand among car care enthusiasts and the company actually has a few products that can be used to remove scratches. The most popular one is the Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound, which can remove 1200 grit or finer sanding marks. It features an exclusive, super-micro abrasive technology that leaves a best-in-class finish.
The Ultra-Cut Compound is great for removing scratches, defects, acid rain, and severe swirls/holograms from your paint. It’s formulated for use by hand, dual action polisher, or a rotary buffer. The product contains no fillers and is a VOC complaint formula that is safe to use on all paint finishes, including scratch-resistant and conventional clear coats.
The Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound also works great to get rid of blemishes and scratches in your clear coat prior to applying polish or wax on your car.
Pros – Trusted brand in car care, easy to use, affordable
Cons – Dries fast, so it can be hard to remove
Bottom Line – Best overall product
Chemical Guys Scratch and Swirl Remover
Chemical Guys is more of a premium brand in the car care industry, so its Scratch and Swirl Remover is a bit more expensive than 3M and Meguiar’s. It’s a well-respected, highly rated product that is designed to remove moderate to heavy surface imperfections. It’s safe to use on all colors and works like a compound, a polish, and a cleaner, all-in-one.
When used properly, the Chemical Guys Scratch and Swirl Remover can eliminate surface imperfections while creating a mirror finish. It doesn’t contain any wax or silicone, so the innovative abrasives can cut fast to quickly remove swirls, scratches, oxidation, and 2500 grit sanding marks. The product is equally effective on single stage, ceramic finishes, and clear coat paints, and won’t fill in the scratches.
VOC complaint and body shop safe, the solution is designed to be used on dual-action and rotary polishers.
Pros – Premium product, doesn’t fill in scratches, all-in-one product
Cons – Not recommended to use by hand
TriNova Scratch and Swirl Remover
Because it’s offered in a 12-ounce bottle, the TriNova Scratch and Swirl Remover is a bit more expensive than any of the other products we have looked at so far. But it’s also a highly rated product on Amazon, with some users posting impressive results with the product. The simple solution features an advanced formula that works either by hand or with a dual-action orbital polisher, and polishes oxidation after cleaning so your car can shine again.
TriNova does make it clear that if you can feel the scratch with the tip of your fingernail, there’s a good chance it’s too deep or heavy to be repaired with a simple polishing compound. This product comes with a foam pad if you opt to use it by hand.
Pros – Works by hand or buffer, includes foam pad, impressive results from users
Cons – Won’t work on deep or heavy scratches
Turtle Wax Polishing Compound and Scratch Remover
A heavy duty paste designed to clean dull and oxidized finishes, Turtle Wax’s Polishing Compound can also remove scratches, blemishes, and stubborn stains. It’s considered a light to medium cleaner, so don’t expect it to polish out deep scratches. Like TriNova’s product, you’ll want to check if you can feel the scratch with your fingertip – if so, it’s likely this product won’t work.
It will, however, likely do the job on light scratches on the clear coat while restoring shine to your paint. It’s one of the cheapest products on our list and it’s easy to apply and use.
Pros – Affordable, great for light scratches
Cons – Won’t work on deep scratches, some prefer liquid over paste
Meguiar’s ScratchX 2.0
Another product from Meguiar’s, the ScratchX 2.0 is specifically designed to be a fine scratch and blemish remover. It features an exclusive micro-abrasive system that safely removes scratches, blemishes, and swirls on all paint finishes, restoring clarity and a brilliant high gloss shine. Meguiar’s claims ScratchX 2.0 permanently removes defects rather than simply hiding them and is clear coat safe. You can use this product either by hand or dual action polisher.
Like other similar products, don’t expect the ScratchX 2.0 to work miracles on deep scratches. Although many users on Amazon have reported great results on blemishes, scuffs, and scratches on the clear, others have gotten little to no results on deep scratches.
Pros – Affordable, designed to remove scratches, blemishes, and swirls
Cons – Don’t expect it to fix deep scratches
Formula 1 Scratch Out
Formula 1 Scratch Out is a bit different than some of the other products on this list because it’s a non-abrasive liquid wax. It contains micropolishers to remove fine scratches and swirl marks, while clearing any haze on your car’s clearcoat. The product is a liquid formation that’s easy to apply and use while adding a layer of protectant to the surface of your car.
This product works best against light to moderate scratches, swirls, haze, oxidation, water spots, and paint marks. It won’t be effective against tree sap, bird droppings, heavy oxidation and swirl marks, or worn and weathered paint.
Just keep in mind that since this is a wax-based product, the micropolishers are filling in minor scratches rather than polishing them out, which may or may not matter to you.
Pros – Micropolishers to remove fine scratches, also applies a wax coating to your car
Cons – “Fills” in scratches rather than polishing them out, not effective against tree sap or bird droppings
3M Scratch and Scuff Removal Kit
If you want a more comprehensive kit, 3M offers a Scratch and Scuff Removal Kit that comes with plenty of tools to get the job done properly. Each kit includes packets of 3M Rubbing Compound and 3M Scratch Remover, a foam pad, and a fine 3000-grit abrasive square. The kit is designed to restore shine and gloss to lightly scratched and scuffed painted areas of your vehicle and doesn’t require any tools. It’s safe for use on any standard vehicle clear coat, but it’s worth noting that this is for more advanced users. You’ll want to follow the detailed instructions very carefully when using this kit.
The extremely fine 3000-grit abrasive square features an aluminum oxide abrasive that cuts fast and lasts a long time. After using the abrasive square, you can apply and wipe off the Rubbing Compound and Scratch Remover to restore shine and gloss to your paint.
The 3M Scratch and Scuff Removal Kit is ideal for removing light marks that occur during everyday driving, such as fingernail scratches, light scuffs from contact with other objects, brush marks from car washes, and more.
Pros – Comprehensive kit for scratch removal, includes 3000-grit abrasive square, no tools needed, affordable
Cons – Requires more care and effort to do a proper job
Scratch Pro Kit
This kit from Scratch Pro claims to be the first and only product utilizing diamond powder technology. Designed to effectively remove light and medium scratches, this product doesn’t require any professional tools and comes with a 100-percent worry-free money back guarantee. The package includes three different diamond compound syringes, three different buffing pads, a foam gripper for easy buffing by hand, and three plastic buffing pad protectors.
The three different colored compounds and pads are designed to make the job straightforward. Red is used for scratch removal and requires vigorous buffing in a circular motion. The company emphasizes that all the residue needs to be cleaned off the surface of the car before proceeding to the next step, since the diamond compound can cause scratching if it isn’t entirely cleaned off.
The yellow compound and pad is used for buffing, while the gray compound and white pad are used for polishing.
This kit is a bit more expensive than other products, especially since you aren’t getting the same amount of compound.
Pros – Uses “diamond compound,” complete kit with pads, color-coded makes its easy to use
Cons – Price, three-step process could be time consuming
Barrett-Jackson Car Scratch Remover
If you’re an auto enthusiast, there’s a good chance you have heard of Barrett-Jackson. The famous auction house has its own branded line of car care products, including a scratch remover. It’s an ultra-fine polishing compound designed to remove fine scratches, scuff marks, and swirl marks. It promises to leave no powdery residue while giving your car a wet-look, glossy shine.
There is nothing sophisticated or fancy with the Barrett-Jackson Car Scratch Remover. Simply buff it on and wipe it off for car scratch repair that is easy to use and easy to clean up.
It’s a bit on the expensive side compared to similar products, since it comes in an eight-ounce bottle. Expect it to work on light scratches, but not deep ones.
Pros – Ultra-fine polishing compound, easy to use, easy to clean up
Cons – Won’t work on deep scratches, bit expensive