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Clear coat scratches

We went fishing in Maine last weekend. One of the logging roads was narrow and a lot of branches rubbed against the side of the truck. The black finish has a lot of whitish streaks/scratches. The finish still feels smooth (can’t feel the scratch with my fingernail.) so it appears that it’s the clear coat that is scratched and not the paint. Is there a good way to remove this? Toothpaste doesn’t do anything. Frankly, I really didn’t think that it would work but I decided to give it a try anyway. How about polishing compound, not rubbing compound as that seems a bit harsh.

You should have a body shop look at it first so you will really know what you are dealing with. If you have collision on your policy it might be worth while to pay the deductible and have it done right. Buffing out clear coat is not for first timers.


Go to Meguires website. Look up the various hand and machine polishes designed for car paint instead of teeth. Use them as directed by the website and the scratches on your black car will be polished away.

I like Meguires Swirl Remover 2.0 with a foam polishing pad on an air powered DA polisher on my black cars.

Yeah you really need to machine polish the scratches out if they are not too deep. But you need to start with the rubbing compound and work up. I agree though unless you have done this, which you haven’t or you wouldn’t be asking, it’s best to let a detailer or body shop do it for a few dollars. If you burn through the clear, you’ll have to re-paint.

Before you try compound or a body shop, try Meguiars Cleaner Wax. I have had good luck removing removing scratches and marks on my Blazer after offroading.

A polishing should work for much of that. You could just try giving it an overcoat of wax and a buff. That’s one advantage of keeping a vehicles well waxed, small scratches will often just be in the wax layer, and not in the clear coat at all.

Thanks for the Meguiars recommendation. I went to the website and found Meguiars Ultimate Compound. This stuff is amazing it got most of the clearcoat scratched out. The truck is ten years old so I’m okay with not getting them all out.

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Glad it worked for you but I didn’t like it at all. Seemed like it was just a cross between rubbing compound and glaze to temporarily fill the scratch. So for me it’s actual machine buffing and polishing if the scratch is not too deep.

I use Meguiar"s Ultimate compound to remove fine clear coat scratches and swirl marks.The product is available most everywhere.

I take it back. I was thinking of the Scratch X 2.0 product, not the polishing compound. I use 3M Perfectit rubbing compound and then the Meguires various professional line swirl remover and polishes. I don’t know where the Ultimate fits in the aggressiveness scale though.