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How to Use Rubbing Compound Easily to Remove Scratches from Your Car

Care my Cars - Remove Scratches

Care my Cars - Remove Scratches

Every once and a while, you will find your car with scratches and you may wonder where did they come from or how did they get into your car. There are several reasons why your car may have scratches, but you can work on it yourself to save you from expensive repairs once you bring your car to the shop. Well, maybe you need a rubbing compound to fix these scratches and restore the brand new look of your car.

Car scratches might be the cause of poor parking, kids playing with your car, small incidents (such as scraping lightly with another object while maneuvering), and other causes that you may not notice immediately. Car scuffs may be annoying to the sight while bringing your car to a body shop to repair these scratches may cost you a substantial amount of money, not unless you do it yourself.

We are willing to show you here some of the simplest steps of using a rubbing compound to remove scratches from your car, and this may take less than an hour to do, read on car lovers!

Scratches on the car - Care my cars

Prepare these tools

  • Rubbing compound
  • Buffing machine or orbital polisher
  • Wet/dry sandpaper (2000/1,500-grit)
  • Clean sponge
  • Mild soap
  • 2 clean and empty spray bottles
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Clean and soft towels
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush

Here are the steps to remove those scratches from your car

Step 1. Inspecting the damage    

Make sure if the scratches are really what they are. Take a closer look at the surface of the car and access if what you are seeing are scratches and not just debris that adheres to the paint. You can touch and feel these scratches to determine of their presence from the surface of the car.

If you are sure that your car has scuffs, determine the depth of the scratch. Most cars have 4 main layers, they are the clear coat, color, the primer, and the steel (top to bottom layers).

If the damage or scratch is only up to the clear coat or the color, you can easily fix it and go to the next step. But if the primer or steel is visible, it is better to bring the car to the shop and let the experts do their thing.

Step 2. Clean the car and dry thoroughly

Make sure your car clean and dry - Care my cars

It is more appropriate that you clean your car thoroughly before you do the necessary repair of the scratches. If there is dirt or debris adhering to the car’s surface, it may add up to more abrasions. Spray with soapy water the scratched areas and make sure that those surfaces are free from debris. Use a soft sponge to eliminate all the debris while you spray the car with water.

Remove Scratches 3M 39071 Scratch Removal System

Then, dry the paint completely using a clean and dry microfiber cloth. Don’t start the repair until the car is completely dried.

You can use 3M 39071 Scratch Removal System to support your cleaning. It is very cheap and quality on Amazon.

Step 3. Sanding the scratches


When you are sure that the surface is dried up, get a wet/dry sand paper (2000-grit) and wrap it around a sanding pad. However, if you think the scratch is deeper than the clear coat, you can begin with a 1,500-grit sand paper. Start sanding the scratched part until the clear coat only and don’t go further than this layer.

Intermittently rinse the part with water so you can be able to see if you have reached the bottom of the scratch. Try to prevent the dirt to stick to the sand paper to avoid more scratches.

Step 4. Clean and dry the sanded surface

After you have sanded the scraped areas of the car, rinse these parts thoroughly with pure water (from your other spray bottle). Then use good quality and clean microfiber cloths to wipe dry the spots. Don’t use old rags or roughly textured rags because this may only produce more scratches than healing them.

Step 5. Applying rubbing compound

A rubbing compound is typically an abrasive agent that can take out a small amount of paint but it will also provide a glossy look to the surface. The compound basically smooths out the scratches that the sand paper had made to the exterior. Apply a substantial amount of this compound to the affected areas.

Step 6. Buffing the rubbing compound   

Remove Scratches DEWALT DWP849X 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Polisher with Soft Start

The rubbing compound dries out quickly, so you must buff the surface immediately after applying the compound. Start buffing with a low speed of the buffing machine  while moving it around for 10 to 15 seconds on the affected area. Then, increase the speed of the machine up to 2000 RPM and buff the surface for about 60 seconds, slowly moving the buffer from side to side and slowly downward.

If you are finding a buffing machine and do not know how to choose, you can check it on Amazon and look at review comments. 

Let looking up DEWALT DWP849X 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Polisher with Soft Start on Amazon.

While buffing, do not try to smooth out the same spot for more than a second or two, this may scratch the next layer if you buff the same area much longer.

Also, make the buffing movement to run along the path of the scratch and not against it, as this will only worsen the condition. Let the buffing continue until the scraped spot is smooth and no visible scratches are seen.

Step 7. Rinse and wash the area one more time

Using clean water from your spray bottle, wash the buffed area to remove the remnants of the rubbing compound while wiping it with a clean and soft towel. If you find some left over compound on crevices, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and scrub it off gently.

Always see to it that you do wipe the leftover compound promptly. This will prevent the residue from adhering to the paint a long time because this may cause further damage to the surface.

Step 8. Waxing the fixed scratches

To better seal off the integrity of your paint, apply a substantial amount of high-quality car wax to the surface then buff it again in random. This will seal your paint and make the spot smoother and shiny, just like before it suffers scratching. If you are waxing your car periodically, do your usual method.

If you are not used to waxing, consult our previous article here to know the clever steps to do it and have some fixing suggestions. By waxing the affected surface, you will secure the paint beneath the wax from further damage against the elements.

Step 9. Finish the process

If all the scratches are gone, finish the job by washing the surface again by spraying it with clean water and wiping with another set of clean microfiber cloth until dry. See to it that the paint is shiny and does not absorb water.


Did you enjoy this tutorial? You can certainly do small things regarding your car, and knowing how to use rubbing compound to remove scratches from your car is only one of them. This will save you a lot of money compared to letting a body shop to do it for you.

Quoting some of the body shops that we have surveyed, the average cost of removing a single scratch on cars may cost the owner between $35 to $55. While for multiple scratches, the average cost varies between $159 to $170.

While some rubbing compound cost less than $30 a bottle with 16oz content (especially on Amazon Prime) which is just enough to remove multiple scratches on 3 to 4 cars. You can do the math and find out how much you can save.

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