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Can Car Paint Scratches Be Buffed Out?


Cars require maintenance based on the given period of the manufacturer. One of the common issues that car owners deal with is car paint scratches. Others may avoid going to shops and getting it fixed due to expensive labor which is why buffing out is a major choice. The question is, can car paint scratches be buffed out?

Most types of scratches can be buffed out whether it is light or deep. Some of the serious scratches especially those that affect the primer and base paint layers require expert solutions. You should also determine the depth of scratch to know if you can buff it out.

Buffing out car scratches is a cost-efficient procedure and you can do it on your own. It requires careful application and appropriate tools to fix it. We will discuss the reasons, how to determine the depth of scratches and steps in buffing out in this article.

Why Buff Out scratches on your car?

The value of properties is influenced by several factors such as quality, age, and more. In terms of vehicles, paint scratches can degrade the price if you sell them. It’s important to take care of minor damages early to prevent them from being severe.

worker examining vehicle body for scratches

Car scratches allow rust to develop severely and make its way through the metal parts. Buffing out the damaged areas can intercept this from happening.

Before you can buff out the car scratches, you must know first the automotive paint layers your vehicle has. The car paint coating consists of primer, base paint, and topcoat or clear coat.

Once the layer of car paint is ruined, outdoor components such as water can enter a certain part which results in the formation of rust. The solving of the rusting issue is more costly and requires a professional fix.

Buffing the scratches helps you to keep the car’s value if you are planning to sell it soon or in the future. Vehicle maintenance is unwittingly expensive but solving the problem immediately can reduce your expenses.

How Can You Tell if a Scratch Can Be Buffed Out?

All types of car paint scratches are required to be buffed out to retain their alluring appearance. Before you start buffing the damages, you should recognize first the depth of the scratch.

You can easily determine the extremity of the paint scratch with the use only of your fingernail. While you run your fingernails on the scratch, you can recognize how deep it is.

Damages that only affect its top paint layer are thin and may not even capture your fingernails. You can automatically solve it if you have the right tools.

Thin scratches are considered minor damages and you still need to solve them immediately. You will determine if the scratches are deep if it catches your fingernail when you run it over.

Similar to the fix of thin scratches, you should address severe scratches quickly to avoid further damage. Deep scratches need a more substantial solution than the thin ones. Buffing out both levels of paint abrasion is one of the major ways to remove it.

How to Remove Light Scratches From Your Car?

Light scratches solutions are inexpensive and simple. These kinds of damages are often caused by common routines such as opening the car handles where fingernails may accidentally scratch them and automatic car washing.

You can effortlessly remove the light scratches by applying some scratch removers and a bit of elbow grease. These methods can be employed on your own without the help of experts. Here are the following steps:

  1. Wash your car thoroughly and completely dry it.
  2. Using a scratch remover, apply it to the affected areas in the car paint. Microfiber fabric is highly recommended when rubbing the product.
  3. Apply the solution to about 2×2 feet square.
  4. Stroke the scratch remover with a bit of force for a minute and leave it to dry.
  5. After it is fully dried, remove the scratch remover by wiping it with the microfiber fabric you used.
  6. If you can’t completely polish the scratch on the first application, redo the whole procedure until you buff it out.

Scratch removers are used to eliminate swirls, watermarks, scratches, and other types of dents in vehicles. This works most likely to light scratches and polish the affected parts after the application.

How to Remove Deep Scratches From Your Car?

Light scratches are easier to remove than deeper ones. Usually, its depth impacts not only the clear coat of the car paint but can worsen the base paint.


After determining the deep scratch in your car from fingernail testing, you must immediately apply a fix to it. Here are the steps to follow for this kind of damage:

  1. Wash and dry your car.
  2. Sand the damaged area using 2,000 grit sandpaper until you reach the metal panel area of the car. Don’t forget to do this in only one stroke.
  3. After the second step, put a tape on the sanded part and spread or spray primer paint on it.
  4. Make sure you completely dry the primer before you paint it with a color similar to your car. To make sure you got the right color, check the car’s paint code which is usually found somewhere in the driver’s door jamb, glove box, wheel well, or passenger sun visor.
  5. Dry the paint and apply a polishing compound to fully refine it.

The procedure for deep scratches requires more attention. Those scratches dominated by rusts down to its base paint or metal body cannot be solved by buffing it out alone. You may need the assistance of experts to prevent it from worsening.


Keep in mind that you can buff out light scratches and some of the deeper car paint blemishes. Some serious scratches especially if it digs the primer paint down to the metal body, you must bring it to a professional. You can choose to buff out the damages on your own by following the procedure carefully and using appropriate solutions.

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