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Modern car paint work maintenance – how can I remove superficial scratches?

I have a 3 year old car which has a typical modern paintwork finish.

Unlike my previous (older) cars that I could simply remove superficial scratches and blemishes using cutting compound or even just polish, this does not work now.

As I understand it, most modern paintwork has multiple layers of a clear’varnish’ product.

Any suggestions of what I can do short of taking my car to a professional auto paint shop?

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2 Responses to “Modern car paint work maintenance – how can I remove superficial scratches?”

  1. ahardygrl said :


  2. superhero84 said :

    Your car is painted with a 2 (or 3) stage paint. This is a basecoat/(pearlcoat/)clearcoat system. The reason that it has clearcoat on it is so that it can get scratches and be returned to it’s full brightness without taking off any “paint.”
    The method for removing SUPERFICIAL scratches from clearcoat is the same as it was for acrylic enamel paint. Cutting compound used in a circular motion until friction creates heat which promotes cutting. You don’t need too much heat to promote cutting and many shops use styrofoam waffle pads to keep the heat down. Back when we used to cut enamel we would use a wool pad, or a cotton pad.

    If you have tried this method (cutting compound) and it’s not working, you either need to use a buffing machine to cut it, or the scratch may be into your paint, in which case you are talking about a much more expensive solution.

    There is a new product out called colored compound which is applied much like wax (rub in and wipe off). Colored compound cuts superficial scratches while filling “chips” and “deep scratches” with color. It may be something to look into, though I haven’t used it myself, yet, so I can’t really vouch for it.

    Please keep in mind that today’s European style clears are very high in molecular solids. This makes them very very hard once they have completely dried. If you are trying to buff this scratch, by hand, you need to work very small circles at a time in order to build up the heat needed to cut into the clear. The longer the clear has been on the vehicle, the harder it will be to cut.

    Good luck.


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