We took several factors into consideration when choosing the best car scratch removers. First, we made sure to feature products from brand name car care companies with a reputation for producing high-quality products. We were unable to hand test all of the products in our list, so we relied on user feedback to see how these products perform in real-world conditions, paying special attention to the benefits and disadvantages of each.
We made sure to choose brands with a wide range of prices in order to satisfy a variety of budgets. We avoided products that are more difficult to buff off or apply in general because we know time is valuable when it comes to car maintenance. For more information about our methodology, check out our page here.
Best Car Scratch Remover Reviews & Recommendations
- Size: 8.45 ounces
- Compatibility:All paint finishes and clear coats
- One-step process
- Removes scratches and acts as a polisher
- No wet sanding or compounding needed
- Great for black finishes
- Recommended to be used with a rotary polisher
- Can produce a lot of dust during application
If you want to remove paint defects, Sonax Profiline Perfect Finish is a great go-to product. One of the best features of this product is that it works in just one step. When you use it with a random orbital polisher, it eliminates most minor scratches and imperfections. It also functions as a final finishing polish due to its "diminishing abrasive technology." Sonax removes water spots, paint runs, and more without the need for wet sanding or compounding. Compatible with all clear coats and paint finishes, it produces high-gloss results and a hologram-free surface. However, the manufacturer recommends using it with a rotary polisher because it won't be as effective if you use it by hand. Also, it may produce a bit of dust, making the process a little messy.
- Size:8 ounces
- Compatibility: Glossy paint finishes and clear coats
- Polisher not required
- Easy to use
- Won’t remove deep scratches
- Produces a lot of dust
While some products are more effective when used with a polisher, you can get good results by applying the Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound by hand as well as with a dual-action polisher or rotary buffer. Not only is it easy to use, but it's also inexpensive compared to many rival brands. It's a good scratch and oxidation remover and works particularly well if you follow it up with a polish and wax. The product also tackles other types of defects, acid rain spots, and swirls/holograms. It removes minor blemishes in just a few seconds. Overall, if you want a compound to correct your vehicle's paint and get rid of swirls and light scratches, the micro-abrasive technology in the Mirror Glaze will get the job done. It's also fine to use with all clear coats and glossy paint finishes. You can use this product by hand or with a dual-action polisher or rotary buffer. However, it can't effectively remove deep scratches, and it produces a lot of dust that can make the job messy.
- Brand: Chemical Guys
- Size: 16 ounces
- Compatibility: All color finishes
- Eliminates scratches, swirl marks, water spots, and more
- Also acts as a polish
- One-step process
- Not ideal for deep scratches
- Takes time and patience to work effectively
If the thought of a three-step polishing process is intimidating, look no further than the one-step Chemical Guys VSS Scratch and Swirl Remover. Designed to eliminate defects on your paint, including swirl marks, water spots, and light scratches, it also acts as a polish and produces a glossy finish, which will save you time and effort. VSS uses mild abrasives that break down the more you buff the surface area. It initially acts as a compound and then evolves into a finish to produce a good-looking shine. The paste does the dirty work and acts effectively to eliminate scratches and oxidation as opposed to simply filling in the defects. However, it may take multiple passes to get the results you desire. While it can take a little patience for the most effective results, it's worth the extra effort.
- Size: 8.4 ounces
- Compatibility: All color finishes and clear coats
- Buffing pad included
- No dyes or scents
- Removes minor scratches, oxidation, and more
- Made in America
- Not designed for deep scratches
- Requires a bit of work if applied by hand versus a buffer
Carfidant’s scratch and swirl remover is a quick and easy solution for minor scratches, and it makes fairly bad scratches less visible. The kit comes with a buffer pad for hand cleaning that helps eliminate normal wear and tear. It targets water spots, oxidation, and contaminants. In addition, the product, which is made in America, produces a shiny, glossy finish. This professional-grade formula does not include any unnecessary dyes or scents and can be used on any color finish, clearcoat, single-stage paint, or multi-stage paint. However, the company notes that it's not designed for deep scratches. In addition, if you opt not to use a buffer, it can take a bit of work to get the results you want by hand.
- Brand: 3D
- Size: 16 ounces
- Compatibility:Works on paint, chrome, plastic, and metal
- An all-in-one polish and wax
- Removes scratches and swirls
- Paint-correction formula
- A little goes a long way
- Not as effective as products geared solely towards scratch removal
- Isn’t intended for deep scratch removal
If you want to remove swirls and light scratches along with adding a protective wax layer to your finish, check out the 3D Speed Car Polish & Wax. It works particularly well if you use a dual-action polisher and seamlessly gets rid of light defects in your paint, however, you can also use it by hand. The product incorporates Montan wax instead of carnauba wax, which produces a glossy look, good heat resistance, and long-lasting protection. It won't leave any white residue on plastic trim, and it's easy to apply and buff out. This polish/wax combo helps with paint corrections and restores your vehicle's color on both small and large areas. The U.S.-based company has been in the car care industry for more than 25 years and its experience shows. However, it's not as effective as products that are geared solely to removing scratches. Also, it's not a one-stop product for deep scratches or very neglected paint.
- Size:16 ounces
- Compatibility: Safe to use on clear coats, lacquer, and enamel paint
- Removes defects on paint, headlights, and chrome surfaces
- Produces a shiny finish
- Cleans and smooths out the surface
- Takes a bit of work to be effective
- Produces better results with a buffer
If you need something that's a bit more aggressive with the ability to tackle deeper scratches, the 3M rubbing compound is a good option. It's also a versatile product that removes defects that other polishes can't in areas such as the headlights and chrome surfaces, and eliminates oxidation, stains, water spots, and other blemishes. Safe to use on clear coats, lacquer, and enamel paint, it takes a faded finish and brings out the gloss with few swirl marks or holograms. With the ability to clean as well as smooth out the finish, it can remove scratches caused by former sanding applications. In addition to cars, users have applied this product to motorcycle and airplane surfaces to spiff them up. One downside is that it can take a bit of time and work in order to get the results you want, particularly if you don't have a buffer.
- Brand:Griot’s Garage
- Size: 16 ounces
- Compatibility:Designed for severe paint defects
- Dust-free application
- Designed for severe defects
- Goes on smoothly
- No silicones or fillers
- Not designed for lighter scratches
- May be too aggressive for some applications
With zero dusting, easy application, and excellent correction ability, Griot’s Garage’s Boss Perfecting Cream is also a great option as it doesn't use any silicones or fillers that merely "hide" blemishes. If you put it to the test, it will produce excellent results with just two or three passes on the finish. It's also not hard to remove like some rival products and produces dust-free results. It's a more aggressive formula compared to some brands, and it's also easier to eliminate defects. The cream goes on smoothly and has a pleasant scent. It's not really intended for light defects because the formula is so powerful, and you have to be careful during application not to be too heavy-handed because you may remove a layer of clear coat.
Our Verdict on the Best Car Scratch Removers
Our top pick overall is the Sonax Profiline Perfect Finish, which is a product of German engineering. The best part about this car scratch remover is that it works in just one step and removes imperfections as well as produces a finishing polish. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound
What to Consider When Buying a Car Scratch Remover
Not all car scratch removers are the same. Some are designed specifically for black finishes, for example. Others work more aggressively, which can be overkill for minor imperfections. Before running out and grabbing the first product you see on the shelf, it's a good idea to consider the following factors so you invest in a brand that specifically suits your needs.
Types of Car Scratch Removers
If the finish on your vehicle is truly neglected, you need a powerful formula to beautify the paint, and it’s not going to be an easy project. Compound scratch removers are designed for both shallow and deep scratches. However, it’s important to follow the instructions to make sure the product is the right one to use for your particular needs. Otherwise, it may remove too much, such as the clear coat, due to its aggressive nature.
Car polishes can hide scratches, but they don't technically remove them. They do a good job of covering up blemishes and defects but don't get to the root of the problem like a high-quality compound can. It's a good idea to read the specs about the product as well as user reviews to see what type of results these products provide. Polishes are also less effective at "removing" deep scratches.
Car Scratch Remover Key Features
Car scratch removers are made of different formulas. Some contain wax or silicone, which can act as a filler. These products are a little thicker than other types of scratch removers and enable you to more easily fill in a defect. The downside is that the effect is not permanent and will require reapplication after a shorter period of time. Products without wax or silicone tend to be thinner by nature, but the results are longer lasting.
Ease of Use
You can apply most car scratch removers by hand and/or with a buffer. Read the instructions to determine which method is prefered. Oftentimes, a by-hand application doesn't produce the best results, so that’s something to keep in mind. Make sure you have the correct tools before starting the process, such as a microfiber towel or sponge. Some products are easier to remove than others due to their composition. Some brands produce a lot more dust, which can be a hassle to deal with. In addition, some car scratch removers may require multiple applications to get the results you desire.
Car Scratch Remover Pricing
You can find some car scratch removers for less than $15. These value-based products can be effective, depending on the type of damage you want to correct. More expensive options from well-known car care companies can range up to $20. You can usually get away with purchasing products in this price range if you have minor scratches on your vehicle. Premium products over $20 may include an applicator pad or other items as part of a kit.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: What is the best scratch remover for a black car?
A: If you own a black vehicle, you know how visible scratches and swirl marks can be on the finish. The problem is that under the black layer of paint are different-colored layers, which can make blemishes challenging to correct. We recommend choosing a product that is designed specially for black-colored vehicles, such as the Carfidant Black Car Scratch Remover.
Q: How do you remove deep scratches from cars?
A: Some compounds work more effectively on deep scratches than others, such as the 3M Auto Care Rubbing Compound. However, you may have to check with a professional body shop for certain paint corrections that can't be fixed with over-the-counter car care products.
Q: How do I prevent scratches from appearing on my car?
A: The best way to keep the finish from getting scratched or getting swirl marks is by washing your car on a regular basis. You should also use a protective wax, which can prevent light blemishes from occurring.
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.