Best Car Scratch Removers

The paintwork of a blue car
Unwanted scratches are an inevitable part of car-ownership. Your once flawless paintwork can get damaged over time by a variety of factors. If you want to keep your car looking pristine, you'll need to put in the time to restore it.

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Taking your car to a bodyshop for repair is costly. There are, however, products on the market you can use to repair scratches yourself.

In our quest to find the best car scratch remover, Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound came out on top. It performed well on tough scratches and received great user reviews.

Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound

Best overall (5/5)

Meguiar’s are experts in this area. Their Ultimate Compound is fantastic for getting rid of unsightly paint defects and scratches.

  • Restores surface clarity
  • Safe on clear coat and single stage paints
  • Micro-abrasive technology
  • Fast results

The compound expertly removes tough scratches, water spots and blemishes without damaging the paintwork. You’ll start to see immediate results after the first application.

It leaves a glossy finish to restore your paintwork’s natural shine, making this one of the most impressive products out there.

Vehicles of all ages will benefit, and the one-step process makes it one of the easiest and most effective products to use.

Specification

Brand: Meguiar’s

Item: G17216 Ultimate Compound (USA) OR Ultimate Compound (Europe)

Size: 16oz / 450ml

The Ultimate Car Scratch Remover System

Premium Choice (5/5)

If you’re looking to get rid of multiple light scratches from your paintwork, then this kit covers all the bases.

  • Professional formula
  • Full kit
  • Everything is reusable
  • Great for beginners

Unlike with other products, you won’t need to buy anything else to get started. This is a premium kit which you can use to permanently remove dozens of scratches.

The clear instructions and guides that come with the product will help if you have no experience of removing scratches.

It’s more expensive than the other products on this list, but your investment will pay for itself in no time.

Specification

Brand: The Ultimate Scratch Remover

Item: CSR01 (USA) OR CSR01 (Europe)

Size: 15.8oz

Carfidant Ultimate Scratch & Swirl Remover Kit

Best shine (3/5)

Great at quickly hiding surface scratches and restoring a glossy finish.

  • Light scratch & swirl repair
  • Easy application & removal
  • Buffing pad included

This product does a great job at covering up light scratches that have built up over the years. Any deeper scratches will need a more abrasive product.

It’s easy to use as long as you’re prepared to put in a bit of time to get the best results.

You can only hide scratches for a short period of time with this product. You’ll need to apply it regularly to keep your car looking fresh.

Specification

Brand: Carfidant

Item: Ultimate Scratch & Swirl Remover Kit

Size: 9oz

Meguiar’s 10307 ScratchX 2.0

Best for light scratches (4/5)

The second Meguiar’s product to make it into our list; this one is specifically designed to deal with lighter surface scratches.

  • Micro-abrasive technology
  • Removes defects, doesn’t just hide them
  • Advanced formula
  • High gloss finish

Meguiar’s ScratchX has been a favorite among detailers for many years. Unlike other products on the market, this light scratch remover doesn’t just hide the scratches, it actually removes them. As a result, you won’t have to reapply it.

This isn’t suitable for all scratches, so if yours are deeper than surface level you should try the other Meguiar’s product on this list.

Specification

Brand: Meguiar’s

Item: G10307 ScratchX 2.0 (USA) OR G10307 ScratchX 2.0 (Europe)

Size: 8oz  / 227g

Turtle Wax T241A – Polishing Compound & Scratch Remover

Best multi-purpose product (4/5)

This heavy duty paste quickly penetrates oxidized surfaces to remove scratches and blemishes.

  • Restores faded finishes
  • Scratch remover and polishing compound
  • Also works on headlights
  • Great value

The light to medium strength cleaner is safe for use on all car finishes, and will quickly restore clarity to your paintwork.

As the formula is quite thick, it does take a bit of elbow grease to apply and remove. The hard work will pay off, and you will see great results for a fraction of the cost of many other similar products.

Specification

Brand: Turtle Wax

Item: T241A (USA)  / TW 1830929 (Europe)

Size: 12.5oz  / 354g

Best Car Scratch Remover Buying Guide

How deep is the scratch

Most modern cars have three layers of paint on top of the metal bodywork:

  • Primer
  • Base color
  • Clear coat

The clear coat is the thickest of the three, and most scratches won’t penetrate this layer. If you have a scratch that hasn’t penetrated this layer, then it’s definitely worth repairing it yourself.  Try using one of the products designed for light scratches in this review.

The further the scratch has penetrated, the harder it is to repair. For medium scratches, you’ll need to use a more abrasive substance, such as Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound.

For the deepest scratches that have cleared all three layers, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use one of these products to repair it yourself. Consider using touch-up paints or take your car to a bodyshop for professional correction.

Run your fingernail over your scratch to tell how deep it is. If it catches in the scratch, then it’s gone through the clear coat.

Types of scratch remover

As with any car maintenance procedure, you’ll need to buy the correct tools for the job. Some items in our list will only hide surface scratches, whilst some will tackle deeper scratches. You also need to consider what’s ‘in the box’ when making your purchase.

Full kit

These kits come with everything you need to repair scratches; you won’t need to buy anything else. The Ultimate Car Scratch Remover System is a great example of a full kit.

Compounds

These are generally cheaper and supplied in a plastic bottle. They’re unlikely to come with any of the additional items that you’ll need to remove scratches, such as applicators and microfiber towels.

Polishes

Whilst these can’t really be considered scratch removers, some people choose to use polish to hide surface imperfections. This is fine as a temporary solution, but to yield the best results we always suggest you tackle the root of the issue. Repair the scratch using a bespoke product rather than cover it up.

How do car scratch removers work?

Scratch removers are a mildly abrasive compound, which remove a thin layer of the clear coat to level it with the scratch. They remove the material around the scratch and make the surface reflective again.

Scratch removers alone will not work if the paint needs touching up.

How to remove scratches from a car

You’ll need a dry day if you’re going to be using a scratch remover outdoors. A well lit garage is also a great option, as you’ll need as much light as possible.

Clean the area that you’re going to be working on beforehand, or clean the whole car if you have many scratches to remove. The surface needs to be dry and completely clear of any dirt before you start.

All products are different, so pay attention to the instructions on yours before starting work. If it’s a deeper scratch, the instructions may suggest you need to buff the area with a very fine sandpaper before applying the product.

Apply your product to a microfiber cloth and start working it into the affected area using a back and forth motion. Usually this should be for around a minute, but it may take longer depending on how deep your scratch is. You can again refer to the instructions on your packaging for guidance here.

Once you’re done, wipe off the residue using a clean cloth. You may need to repeat this process several times until the scratch becomes invisible.

Depending on the product you’re using, you may want to wax the surface once you’re done to seal in your work.

Benefits of using scratch removers

It’s inevitable that your pride and joy will get scratched at some point during its lifetime. Scratch removers are a great way of keeping your car looking its best.

They also save you money. Scratch removal at a bodyshop could end up costing you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. Scratch removers cost a fraction of that, and it will only take a few hours of your time to apply.

If you leave deeper scratches untreated, rust can start damaging your bodywork. Repairing scratches protects the bodywork, and keeps it in good condition for longer.

It may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but if your car is important to you then you can take great pride in working on it yourself and restoring the paintwork.

Conclusion

So there we have it; if you’re looking for the best car scratch remover, the number one performer is Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound. Its simple, one-stage process makes it a clear favorite for car enthusiasts all over the world. It can tackle tough scratches with ease. Click here to buy it yourself.

A close second is the Ultimate Car Scratch Remover System. The all-in-one kit provides everything needed to get rid of surface scratches for good. This premium product makes it easy for beginners to get great results with its clear instructions and informative videos. Click here to check it out.

And finally, our third choice is the Turtle Wax Polishing Compound & Scratch Remover. It’s a little more challenging to use, but performs very well and has many different applications. Click here to find it on Amazon.

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