We’ve all been there. You take a look at your car only to notice an ugly scratch or two. You’re tired of looking at it, and you don’t want it to get worse. Sure, you can take it to an automotive repair shop and pay an arm and a leg for them to fix it, but chances are you can take care of it yourself!
Still, getting the wrong product might not fix the product, and even worse, it might lead to more problems. That’s why we came up with this guide to highlight ten of the best automotive scratch removers out there.
We also developed a comprehensive buyer’s guide for you, that way you know exactly what to look for and what to expect from the product you choose.
10 Best Scratch Removers for Cars
1. Meguiar’s Quick Scratch Eraser Kit – Best Scratch Remover Overall
There are tons of scratch removers for cars out there, but we’ve yet to find one that’s as effective at this price point. It’s because of this wonderful mix of price and performance that Meguiar’s Quik Scratch Eraser Kit tops our list.
Not only does it do a phenomenal job of removing scratches, but it’s also a complete kit that comes with the compound, a buffer, and a microfiber rag. While it works best with a cordless drill, you certainly don’t need a cordless drill to use it.
Also, while we highlighted the full Quik Scratch Eraser Kit for you here, if you do go with this option and need more of the compound in the future, they do sell refill kits at an even lower price tag.
Meguiar’s Quik Scratch Eraser Kit is easy to use, does a phenomenal job, and doesn’t cost as much as other similar professional-quality products, what’s not to love?
- It comes with the compound, buffer, and rag
- A great mix of price and performance
- Very easy to use
- You can buy refills of the compound
- You need a cordless drill to use it
2. Turtle Wax T-415 Premium Grade Rubbing Compound – Great Budget Choice
Turtle Wax is a massive name in the polishing and scratch removal industry, which is why it’s a bit surprising to find one of their best products at this price range. It’s a super affordable choice from a brand you can trust, so it’s really a great choice if you’re on a tighter budget and don’t need the complete kit.
The wax itself is very easy to use, and you can either apply it by hand or with a drill – it’s completely up to you.
For starters, it only comes with the compound. So if you don’t already have the buffer or the microfiber rag, that’s something you’ll need to purchase separately. Second, it’s simply not as effective as the more expensive choices.
Of course, you’re not spending as much either, and if you don’t have a ton of scratches, or the scratches that you do have are extremely mild, then this might be all you need. And at this price point, you’re not going to find a better automotive scratch remover out there.
- Very affordably priced
- You can apply it in different ways
- Very easy to use formula
- Super reliable brand
- Only comes with the compound
- Not as effective as the top choices
3. T-Cut Perfect Compound Ultimate Color and Clarity Restorer – Premium Choice
Perhaps you have a ton of scratches, or maybe you have a few deeper ones. Either way, your best chance of getting them out with a compound is with T-Cut Perfect Compound. While it’s undoubtedly a more expensive option compared to some of the other options on our list, the difference in results is staggering.
Not only does it safely remove scratches and buffs without touching the clear coat, but it also gives your car a showroom quality finish you’ll love. T-Cut Perfect Compound is something you’ll want to add to a regular regimen, even if your vehicle doesn’t have scratches you need to buff out simply for its show stopping qualities.
So, sure you’re spending a bit more, but you’re also getting the best product on the market, and you’re protecting your car from future damage. It’s an investment we think is well worth it.
- It gives your car a show-quality finish
- It’s very effective at fixing scratches
- Very easy to use
- Works with both hand applicators and drills
- More expensive option
While the TriNova Scratch Swirl Remover didn’t make our top three, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out. This automotive scratch remover is an outstanding mix of price and performance, just like our top pick.
This kit comes with both the chemical compound and the applicator, so you don’t need to purchase anything else to use it too. Of course, it’s an effective product, otherwise it wouldn’t be on our list, and it comes from an American company you can trust.
Still, with everything it does right, it didn’t crack our top three for a reason. The main reason is that while it’s an effective product, it’s not quite as effective as our top choice. The difference all comes down to the fact that you apply this compound by hand.
It doesn’t matter how long you spend polishing the paint, if you’re using a drill buffer, you’re going to get better results. But if you don’t have a drill and don’t want to pay a little more for T-Cut Perfect Scratch Remover, this is an outstanding choice that you can apply by hand.
- Good mix of price and performance
- It also comes with the compound and an applicator
- American company
- Very effective method
- Not as effective as methods that require drills
Chemical Guys is a huge name when it comes to any kind of chemical compound for your car, so it’s no surprise to see that they have a top-notch scratch and swirl remover in their lineup. Chemical Guys only use premium ingredients in their formulas, and their scratch and swirl remover is no exception.
While our highlighted product here doesn’t include an applicator, they do offer a package that includes an applicator for you. You can either go with that product, or any microfiber cloth should do the trick.
It’s very easy to apply, and the chemical compound acts as both a polisher and a cleaner. This means with one product, you can do everything on your car, which means less work and phenomenal results.
However, just like most products that offer tons of additional perks, you can see that in the price. It’s a more expensive option, but it’s also a premium product that works. It’s up to you if you want to pay the higher price tag, but we can say that we don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you do.
- Very effective choice
- You can get options that include applicators
- Easy to apply
- It acts as a polisher and cleaner too
- More expensive option
6. 3D One Car Scratch Remover Rubbing Compound & Finishing Polish
If you’re looking for the easiest product to apply, then 3D One Car Scratch Remover Rubbing Compound & Finishing Polish might be it. It’s super easy to apply, and it both polishes and corrects blemishes at the same time.
This means you only need to worry about one application, and you get all the benefits you’re looking for. It’s super straightforward and easy to use, but it doesn’t come with any applicators. Any microfiber cloth will do the trick, but it’s something you’ll need to invest in yourself.
Finally, this is an American-made product, so this is an excellent choice if you’re looking to support an American company. Still, it fell out of the top half of our list for a reason, and for this product it’s two-fold.
First, it’s a more expensive option. While we can overlook that for some products because of the additional features that they offer, that’s not the case with this. Sure, it polishes as it corrects, but the primary problem with this product is that it doesn’t correct as effectively as other choices.
It’s not as effective as our top choices, although it still is effective, but it costs more than the top options on our list. You likely won’t be disappointed if you go with 3D One Car Scratch Remover Rubbing Compound & Finishing Product, but if you try one of our top choices after using this, you will be.
- Multiple size options are available
- Made in the USA
- Very easy to apply
- Polishes and corrects at the same time
- Not as effective as our top choices
- More expensive option
3M makes products for just about everything out there, and their automotive scratch remover is yet another product they have. It’s a far more affordable option compared to most of the products on our list, but you’re also not going to get the same quality results.
If you only have very minor scratches or scrapes, it might be all you need, but we prefer to go with a more foolproof option that does a little more for your car too. Still, at this price point you could do far worse.
The 3M scratch remover is a versatile product that you can use with both a drill buff or hand applicators, but it doesn’t come with either. It’s also easy to apply, even if it’s not quite as effective as the more expensive options.
Still, for a lower-priced product from a reliable brand, it’s worth considering even if it’s not the most effective at removing deeper scratches.
- More affordable option
- You can use both drill and hand applicators
- Easy to apply
- It does not include any applicators
- Not as effective as more expensive options
Shine Armor might not be a brand that comes to mind when you think of automotive products, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out. Shine Armor Car Scratch Remover is a slightly more expensive option, but it does a great job getting scuffs and scratches out of the paint.
Furthermore, it protects the paint for up to six months after use, which means that the chances of more scratches or UV oxidation occurring is slim. Not only does this product repair and protect, but it also restores oxidation, which gives the paint more color and gives you a shiner finish.
It’s super easy to apply too. So, sure it’s a bit more expensive, but it’s also a great choice. Just keep in mind that it also doesn’t come with an applicator. Not only are you spending a bit more upfront, but you’re also going to need to spend a little more to use it if you don’t have a microfiber rag on hand.
- It does a great job getting scuffs and scratches out
- Protects the paint for up to six months
- Very easy to apply
- Also restores oxidation
- Slightly more expensive option
- It does not include any applicators
When you think of Formula 1, you think of auto racing, but part of having a race car is keeping it looking great. That’s why they came up with their Formula 1 Scratch Out Car Wax Polish Liquid. It’s a more affordable automotive scratch remover, and it comes in multiple sizes so you can purchase it in bulk.
For the price point, it does a great job of cleaning up scratches, and it’s a straightforward application process. Whether you run an automotive repair or restoration shop, or you just want a great product on hand for your own vehicle, this Formula 1 product is worth considering.
However, it did fall towards the bottom of our list for a reason. First, it doesn’t come with any sort of applicator. You’ll need to get a microfiber cloth to use it, which means an additional purchase if you don’t already have one.
Second, while it does a good job of restoring damage from scratches, that’s all it does. You don’t get any additional UV protection or cleaning features, which is something we expect from the top products out there. Still, it’s not a bad choice for an automotive scratch remover at this price point.
- More affordable option
- It comes in multiple size options
- Easy to apply
- It does a great job
- It does not come with an applicator
- It does not provide any additional protection
While Nu Finish Car Scratch Remover is the last product on our list, that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth checking out. For starters, it’s a lower-priced product, which is a pretty big perk if you’re on a tighter budget or simply don’t want to spend a ton to address the scratches.
Second, it’s a gentle formula, so you don’t have to worry about it causing any more damage to your car. While that’s the case for any product on our list, it’s not the case for every product on the market.
Furthermore, it also cleans as you go, so it eliminates a step that many other scratch-removing kits have. This makes the Nu Finish compound a bit easier to use. Finally, it’s a versatile product that works on any fiberglass surface.
This means it works just fine on your car, but it’ll also work on boats, motorcycles, or a wide array of other objects. Finally, it also works just on chrome, which means it’s a perfect choice for just about any surface on your vehicle.
However, it is at the bottom of our list for a reason, and chief among those reasons is that it’s simply not as effective as the other options on our list. It’s fine for fine scratches, but anything beyond that, it simply won’t work as well.
This product also doesn’t come with an applicator, so you will need to invest in a microfiber rag before you can use it. It’s not a huge deal, but it is an additional expense you need to factor in.
- Very affordable option
- Works on any fiberglass surface
- Very gentle formula
- It works on chrome too
- It cleans as you go
- Not as effective as other options
- It does not come with an applicator
Scratch Remover Buyer’s Guide
With so many great automotive scratch removers out there, it’s only normal to have a few questions after reading through the reviews. That’s why we came up with this comprehensive buyer’s guide to answer any questions you might have and to help you get the perfect product the first time.
What Kind of Scratches Can an Automotive Scratch Remover Help With?
If you use an automotive scratch remover and have unrealistic expectations, you’re not going to be happy with any kit you go with. The first thing you need to do is realize what kind of scratches a scratch remover kit can correct.
There are three types of automotive scratches, and automotive scratch kits can only help with two of them. The first type of scratch is a clear coat scratch. It’s the most minor type of automotive scratch out there, and it’s something that an automotive scratch kit can help with.
Clearcoat scratches only affect the very top level of your car’s paint. It’s a clear coat protectant, which keeps the rest of the paint job safe from further damage.
The second type of scratch your car might have is called a primer scratch. It’s deeper than a clear coat scratch, and it really depends on the depth of this scratch if an automotive scratch repair kit can help. Once again, a primer scratch doesn’t actually affect the paint, but it can be a visible scratch that affects the overall appearance.
The final type of scratch you might have on your vehicle is an actual paint scratch. This is the deepest type of scratch, and an automotive scratch kit won’t completely fix one of these scratches. Paint scratches actually remove the paint from your vehicle, which means you can see exposed metal on your vehicle.
The kits you’re purchasing don’t have paint, so there’s no way they can fill in the area that has the scratch. However, they can help put some protective layers on the outside, so they’re still worth using if you don’t plan on completely repairing the scratch.
Another good way to tell if your scratch kit will help is to just feel the scratch. If you can feel the scratch with your fingernail, there’s a good chance that any kit you go with won’t completely fix the scratch. However, if it’s not that thick, then an automotive scratch repair kit should clear things up for you.
What Else Do You Need To Use an Automotive Scratch Remover?
It really depends on the kit you go with, but most kits require that you at least have a microfiber cloth to dry things off after using the compound. Other kits will require two rags, one for you to apply the compound and another for you to dry things off.
It’s essential that you use a microfiber cloth like these when you’re doing the job. Any other type of cloth can end up scratching the paint and leaving your vehicle worse than when you started!
Also, keep in mind that microfiber cloths have special care requirements to keep them in working order. Chief among these care requirements is that you should only wash them with other microfiber cloths. Washing them in mixed loads can ruin them, at least when it comes to their microfiber properties.
Furthermore, avoid any kind of fabric softeners when washing them, they can clog the pores of the cloth. While neither of these things makes them an unusable cloth, they take away the microfiber properties, leading to scratches on your vehicle.
Risks of Using Homemade Automotive Scratch Removers
There are a ton of” homemade” automotive scratch removers out there, but we can’t in good conscience recommend any of them for you. The reason is simple, while these professional products are perfectly safe to use on your car, most homemade formulas aren’t.
They can lead to more scratches, strip the clear coat, or even degrade the paint. We understand the temptation to save a few bucks, but it’s just not worth the added risk for some things. When it comes to the paint on your car, the risk you take is far too high to pinch a few pennies – get a kit and do the job right the first time.
Scuffs vs. Scratches
When you’re talking about repairing the paint, two terms you’ll hear quite a bit are scuffs and scratches. But while some people use the terms interchangeably, they’re not the same thing.
Scuffs reside on top of the clear coat. There’s no actual damage to the paint, the primer, or the clear coat with a scuff. It discolors the surface, but as long as you clean them off the right way, there’s nothing else you need to do to have your car looking like new again.
On the other hand, scratches are deeper. Anytime some of the clear coat comes off you have a scratch. Of course, there are different types of scratches, but a scuff simply isn’t a scratch.
Now that isn’t to say that you can’t have both a scuff and a scratch in the same area. In fact, it’s quite common, and if your vehicle has a scuff, there’s a pretty good chance there’s a scratch or two in there too!
How Much Does It Fix to a Scuff or Scratch on Your Car?
It depends on quite a few factors, but at the very least most automotive repairs shops charge about $150 to fix a surface scratch. However, that’s for a small scratch that one of these kits would likely take care of for you – and it’s only for one scratch.
If there’s a scratch on the actual paint of your vehicle, the repair can cost as much as $2,500! The reason for the escalation in price is pretty simple. Once you have a full-fledged paint scratch on your vehicle, you typically need to repaint the entire component to get the results you want.
Otherwise, the paint colors won’t match, and they won’t fade the same way. This means that even if the job looks great when it leaves the shop, in a year or two when the UV rays take their toll, you’ll be able to see the scratch all over again.
Finally, if you need a full car scratch repair or a complete repaint – you might need to spend closer to $4,000. Of course, this all depends on the extent of the damage to your vehicle. Still, when you start looking at those prices, it’s easy to see how an automotive scratch repair kit can save you a ton of cash!
How Much Does It Cost To Repaint Your Vehicle?
With professional scratch repairs costing so much, it’s only reasonable to wonder how much it costs to repaint your vehicle entirely. And just like the cost to repair scratches can vary quite a bit, so can the cost to repaint your car.
Most standard paint jobs cast anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. However, this is for a standard paint job, and there’s a big difference between a standard paint job and a premium one. They typically don’t sand it back down to the metal for a standard paint job, so they’re painting over other colors.
If you want show-quality results, the expense is typically closer to $20,000. It’s not an option many people go with, and it’s why it’s so important to protect the original layer of paint on your vehicle. It’s typically cheaper and more effective to repair scratches than repaint your vehicle!
What Happens if You Don’t Fix Automotive Scratches?
What damage can a scratch really do? Well, the answer might surprise you. The worst type of scratch to leave unrepaired is a paint scratch. This is what happens when you see the metal on your car, and if you leave them unrepaired, your vehicle will start to rust.
Not only is rust unsightly, but it weakens the integrity of the metal and it spreads. If you leave the rust long enough eventually it will rust completely through the component, and the only way to fix it is to replace the component entirely.
Meanwhile, both clear coat and primer scratches leave fewer protective layers for the paint. The next time a rock or piece of debris comes up and hits the same spot it can easily lead to a paint scratch.
It’s driving around without the needed protection on the paint, which can lead to more deep scratches if you ignore them. While it’s something you can take care of for well under $100 now if you ignore the problem and let it spread it can end up costing you thousands.
Sure it’s just a small scratch now, but address it before it becomes a much bigger problem you need to take care of.
If you’re on the fence about getting an automotive scratch repair kit don’t overthink it. While you might balk at the expense of the kit, when you look at what you’ll need to spend if the damage spreads, you’re clearly getting a deal by addressing it early on.
And if you’re still a little unsure about which one to get, go with the Meguiar’s Quik Scratch Eraser Kit. There’s a reason it’s at the top of our list, and it does a great job of getting scratches and scuffs out that other kits can only dream of.
What’s important is that you get it on order and get your car looking like new before the scratches spread and the DIY kits won’t work anymore!