How to Buff Out Scratches On Car


Getting scratches on your car can be really frustrating. They won’t just ruin the way your car looks but they can also burn holes in your wallet.

The good news is that there are things you can do to minimize or eliminate those scratches on your car without spending a lot of time or money. You just have to know the right tricks and steps to make sure you don’t end up ruining your car’s overall appearance.

The concept of buffing out the scratches on your car is kind of similar to how you would remove scratches on glass surfaces like furniture and decors or on scratched eyeglasses.

To make it easier for you to do the procedure on your own, below is a step-by-step guide you can follow.

Assess the Damage

To find out the best ways to buff out scratches on a car, it’s important to know the type of damage that your car has incurred and how big it is. Sometimes, you may think it has a scratch when it’s actually just dirt that has been raised and looks like a scratch. This is much easier to remove than an actual scratch and would require a different procedure.

Find out how deep the scratch is because it would tell you how much work you need to do. If it’s only a scratch on the coat of the paint, you can easily repair it with a simple technique. A different color appearing on the scratch means that it is much deeper than the coat and might have gone through the steel so it’s more difficult to repair. Nevertheless, there are ways to fix it.

Take some time to look for other areas to repair because it would be such a hassle to have to repeat the process again.


Before you go right into the steps to buff out scratches on a car, it’s important to prep your car in order to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

  • Wash the Car

    First, you must ensure that the car is thoroughly cleaned. This will also give you a better look at the damage and if there are any other scratches that you may not have noticed. If your car is dirty while you are repairing the scratch, the dirt could cause more damage to your car. Pay special attention to the damaged area and spray it with water to get out any debris that may still be inside.

  • Sand the Scratch

    Gently and lightly sand the scratch with sandpaper. You only need to sand through the clear coat to get a better visibility of the scratch and help you apply the product to it. Sand it in the direction of the scratch to avoid further damages. Rinse the area with water and avoid getting any debris in it.

Make sure that your car is dry before proceeding with the repair.

Steps to Buff Out Scratches on a Car

Now that your car is ready, you can start buffing the scratches on your car using the following methods.

  • Toothpaste

    For light scratches and scuffs, one simple way to buff out scratches on a car is by using some toothpaste. Using a damp cloth, smear some toothpaste onto the area and erase the scratches and scuff marks. This requires very little effort and it works best when the scratch is not very deep. If your fingernail goes through the scratch, it means it’s much deeper and this technique is not enough.

    Toothpaste works by sanding down the uneven surface of the car’s glossy exterior. It fills in the gap and effectively buffs it out. Dab the toothpaste with the damp cloth in a circular motion to cover the damaged surface. As you move and finally remove the cloth, you will see the scratch disappear. Use whitening toothpaste for best results.

    This method works because toothpaste is a sanding tool. Its chemical composition is like a lighter and softer form of sandpaper. That is why it works to clean your teeth. Rubbing the toothpaste gently on the scratched area allows it to catch the imperfections and softly sands them away. It removes uneven surfaces and polishes the paint. This is a great solution for minor paint scratches.

  • Use a Rubbing Compound

    If the scratch is a little deeper, you might need to use a buffer and a rubbing compound. First, apply the rubbing compound to the damaged area using a buffer pad. Spread it around the surface to smoothen the paint.

    Then, use the buffer to polish the area. Turn it at the lowest level first and move it around for about 10 seconds. Make sure to do this right after you apply the rubbing compound to avoid drying. As you move, you can increase the speed and buff the area for another minute. Move it side to side and then downward.

    Once the dullness fades, go through the paint layer for about 5 more minutes depending on the depth of the scratch. Do not buff one area for too long because it will cause more scratches.

    After buffing, wash the area again using clean water. Remove the leftover compound with a towel or a microfiber cloth. You can also use a toothbrush to gently remove any compound. Always wipe it off immediately after buffing otherwise, it will be difficult to remove.

    Finally, wax the area to seal the paint once you are done with the steps to buff out scratches on a car. You can use a good quality carnauba wax on the surface. After applying the wax, buff the surface again with an orbital buffer. Finish the process by washing the area one last time to make sure that all scratches are gone.

Repair Tools and Products

Here are other products and tools you can use to buff out scratches on a car.

Fontic 11pcs Compound Drill Buffing Sponge Pads Kit

TCP Global 7″ Professional High Performance Variable Speed Polisher with a 4 Pad Buffing and Polishing Kit 

Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax (16 oz)

Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Paste Wax – 9.5 oz