Rubbing compound, polishing compound, scracthing the paint, clear coat safe compound, spray wax

1999 Acura

  1. I have someone else’s paint on my car after the next door neighbor reversed with steering whell turned - it is tiny around the corners as most gone after hand waxing - I was asked to use Rubbing compound - but it seems to remove the polish - does it remove clear coat too? Should I instead use polishing compound or the ultimate compound or a compound that says clear coat safe?

1.1) Should I apply in a straight motion - not circular?
I never done these before.

  1. There are areas that the car probabky rubbed something when parking or whatever - what should I use here?

I am also considering taking it to detailing instead - car was washed but not waxed - so all the blemishes are showing up - appreciate your thoughts - in any case, pls reply to questions (1) and (2) above. Thanks

First I think it’s important to understand the difference between polish and car wax, usually called polish because… well… polish as a verb also means to cause to shine.

Polish to a car painter means a compound carrying a mild abrasive, like your toothpaste does. There are varying levels of aggregate. If you stop by the local PepBoys and look in the paints department, you’ll find a range of levels.

“clear coat safe” “polishes” do not contain the abrasive needed to remove transferred paint.
“Rubbing compound” is too abrasive unless you plan to follow it up with finer levels.

Never use rubbing or polishing compounds in a straight line. Always go circular. And always be sure the area is very well washed first. I prefer a very clean, wetted sponge for the task, especially for the final steps. The parts store may have a how-to book, and that may be a good investment for you.

And yes, you will have to wax the area after.

Good mention of spray wax. I use Turtle wax for dark plastic trim which is everywhere on the bottom of a Rav4. I use it on the windows and door mirrors but not anywhere on the windshield, inside or out.

This stuff works great at removing at paint scrapes and scuff marks, and can be bought at any parts store.


I have all clear coat cars and twice a year I use the clay cleaner followed by polish or rubbing compound for any problem areas, followed by a lighter polish, followed by glaze, followed by wax. I use a circular buffer and haven’t ruined the clear yet. Get one of those Meguires or Mothers polishing attachments for an electric drill and take it easy with a polish. If that doesn’t do it, carefully use the rubbing compound. Any time you use a cleaner or polish, you need to wax.