How to Remove Residue and Scuff Marks

Not all scratches are the same. Some scratches are just marks raised above the paint that are left by another object. If  the object that rubbed against your car is softer than the car’s paint, it will deposit material on the paint’s surface. That object could be a rubber bumper of the shopping cart, a door of another car, or a wooden post. It can also be tree sap, road tar, glue, goo or various crud.

To distinguish a scratch from a mark, go over it with your fingernail at a 90 degrees angle. This will tell you if it’s gouged into the paint or sitting on top of the surface. It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to repair residue or a scuff marks.

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Car Scratch Repair 101

Depending on the type of scratch you have, you will need to use a different car paint repair method. Scratches can go through 4 layers: clear coat, paint, primer, and metal. Most scratches  go only into the clear coat without damaging the paint layer. Sometimes, it looks like you have a scratch, but really it could be just a mark. To make it easier for you, I put together step-by-step tutorials with detailed instructions, photos and product recommendations for each type of scratch.

First thing you need to do, before repairing any type of scratch, is to wash your car. The goal is to get rid of all the grease and wax around scratched area without removing wax from the rest of your car. Use dishwashing soap or auto detergent designed to remove waxes, oils and sealers around the scratch. You want to start your car paint repair with a clean and dry area free from any contaminants. After washing, dry completely.

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