How To Remove Common Clear Coat Scratches

How To Remove Clear Coat Scratches.

This guide is a super quick overview to learn how to remove clear coat scratches from cars, how to determine what type of clear coat scratch you have and how to correct it.

Learning how to remove  clear coat scratches  can be easy if you understand  what type of scratch you have on a clear coat finish.

What the heck IS a automobile clear coat scratch anyway?

It’s important to understand when you remove automobile clear coat scratches  they have what is known as a “2 stage” paint finish. This means there is a base color (color of your car)  and a top “clear coat”. (primer is under the base color)

clear coat scratch paint layers

The top “clear coat” is a clear urethane that has a catalyst to make it more durable than the base color coat. When you remove a scratch on the clear coat you are working on the top “clear coat” and not affecting the base color at all. Manufacturers came up with this technology to make car finishes more durable.

Clear coat scratches look white because the scratch is in the clear coat…even if it touches the base color.

A scratch in the clear coat reflects light which is the main reason it shows up so bad. Its similar to facets in a diamond reflecting light.

A car scratch in the clear coat is very similar to the facets in a diamond…light hits the edges and reflects. This is EXACTLY what is happening with a clear coat scratch, the sharp edge of the scratch in the clear coat top surface is reflecting light at you!

Good news… 50-60 % of car scratches are in the clear coat layer only.

In most cases you can remove scratches from automobiles in the clear coat permanently and quickly with the correct technique.

Here is what is happening.  By polishing or a combination of wet sanding and polish you remove a microscopic amount of clear coat to “flatten the area” and thus remove the clear coat  scratches that reflect light.
Its OK, you are only removing microns of clear coat.

clear coat scratch damage

Here is a pretty good way to quickly decide if the scratch is only in the top clear coat and can be SAFELY removed and thus not needing touch up paint.

  1. Pull your fingernail across the scratch… can’t feel it? It can be removed.
  2. Can you barely feel it? It *might* be borderline with correct technique can be completely removed.
  3. You can definitely feel it (or obvious scrape , chip etc) Touch up paint will be necessary.

For the 70-80% of clear coat scratches that you cannot feel with your fingernail you can permanently remove clear coat scratches with the correct technique and accessories.

 Borderline Clear Coat Scratches

Some clear coat scratches are what I call “borderline”  clear coat scratches you may need to wet sand to completely remove them.

Wet sanding your brand new car can be pretty scary… however this is where The Ultimate Car Scratch Remover System leaves every other product in the dust.

The Ultimate Car Scratch Remover Core System has a patented sponge with replaceable 3000 grit latex “paper” that is so gentle professionals use it on fresh 24hr old clear coats to remove imperfections like when you remove clear coat scratches from cars. So you can imagine how gentle and effective is when you remove scratches in the clear coat.

Steps to remove clear coat scratches in a automobile  for professional looking scratch repair.
  • Clean the area and inspect
  • Remove clear coat  scratch (Polish)
  • Enhance the luster of clear coat finish (Glaze)
  • Seal the restored clear coat  pain finish (professional polymer paint sealant)


“When it comes to removing clear coat scratches, with professional looking results,  The Ultimate Car Scratch Remover System has no rivals.  The Ultimate Car Scratch Remover system is designed and made up of the same exact formulas and components a professional would have in their tool box.”

Wiki article on wet sanding clear coat scratches

Blog post on removing a clear coat scratch in car paint