How to Remove Clear Coat Scratches in Just 15 Minutes

deep clear coat scratches

In this post, I will show you how to remove a long deep clear coat of starch from a Toyota Tacoma. This kind of damage can be easily fixed by using sandpaper and rubbing compounds.

This will work only if the paint is not damaged. If you can see a primer, the scratch is too deep and needs to be touched up with paint.

The whole job should take you no more than 15 min. Although this scratch can be removed by hand, using a Dual Action Polisher will save you some time and improve the outcome. Watch the video first, then follow my step-by-step instructions.

Items You Will Need:

  • Wet/dry 2,000 grit sandpaper
  • Prep solvent – It removes oils, road grease, dirt, car wax, and other surface contaminants and also improves adhesion to the surface.
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound – You can use any rubbing compound you like, just make sure it is clear coat safe. Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is the best car scratch remover I’ve ever tried. It removes light-to-deep clear coat scratches, swirl marks, stains, and heavy oxidation in just a few minutes. It’s clear coat safe and inexpensive.

Optional Items:

  • Microfiber Towel – Avoid using other materials such as bath towels, paper towels, or washcloths, as they might leave scratches on the clear coat.
  • Applicator Pads – These pads are used to apply rubbing compound, polish, and wax.
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish – Use your favorite polishing compound. I like Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish because it uses diminishing abrasive technology, meaning the tiny abrasives break down gradually as you rub. The paint color will look bolder and brighter with a smooth, sleek shine. It is high quality, inexpensive, long-lasting, and clear coat-safe.
  • Meguiar’s Tech Wax – Use your favorite wax. I like Meguiar’s NXT Generation Tech Wax. This product is amazing because not only does it give the deepest and clearest shine you’ve ever seen, but it also acts as a paint sealer giving your car long-lasting protection.
  • Dual Action Sander/Polisher – I found a nice beginner polisher on Amazon for a reasonable price that will give you amazing results. There are a lot of professional polishers, but they cost over $200. This Black & Decker polisher got great customer reviews.

Video Tutorial: How to Remove Deep Clear Coat Scratches from Toyota Tacoma

Step 1: Wash the Car

Wash the area being repaired with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. This will remove all the dirt. Next, spray it with prep solvent. Prep solvent will remove oil, wax, grease, and other contaminants.

Step 2: Sanding

Your goal is to even out the surface so that scratch is not visible. Use wet/dry 2,000-grit sandpaper to sand the scratch. Some people like dry sanding. I prefer wet sanding because it is faster and easier.

Soak the sandpaper in cold water for 10-15 min. Spray the surface with water. A few drops of dish soap will make it more slippery. Start sanding without applying too much pressure.

After sanding the scratch, wipe off the residue with a microfiber towel and see if the scratch is still visible. You don’t want to sand down to the paint. It might take you a few rounds of sanding to even out the surface.

sanding scratch

The white matter in the photo below is actually dust from sanding the clear coat.

clear coat dust

Step 3: Clean the Area

When the surface is even and the scratch is not visible, clean and dry the area with a clean microfiber towel.

wipe off the residue

After you are done sanding, the area will look very dull compared to the rest of the paint. Don’t worry, this can be easily fixed with some rubbing compound in the next step.

surface after sanding

Step 4: Rubbing Compound

Use rubbing compound to bring out the paint and to remove sand scratches. Make sure the rubbing compound that you are using is clear coat-safe. It can be done by hand or with a dual-action polisher.

If you do it by hand, it will take you longer and you will need to use some extra muscle. It might take a few applications of rubbing compound to get rid of the scratches. Apply a few drops of the rubbing compound on the scratched area using an application pad. Continue rubbing till the compound is dry and the sand scratches are gone.

Tip: Avoid doing a repair in full sun. The car will get too hot and the rubbing compound will dry too fast. Find a shady spot. In this video, they had to do it in full sun otherwise the video would be too dark and it would be hard to see the process.

applying rubbing compound

If you are using a Dual Action Polisher, put it at 1,800 rpm. When using DA, don’t stay in one place, it is very easy to burn the paint. When the scratches are gone, wipe the residue with a clean microfiber towel.

applying rubbing compound

Step 5: Polishing Compound

This step can be done by hand but will give you better results if you are using a polisher. Apply a small amount of polishing compound on the microfiber pad and rub till the polisher is dry.

applying polisher

With DA, polish the area at 1,000 rpm. Keep moving DA to avoid burning the paint. Wipe the residue with a clean microfiber towel.

applying polisher by DA

Step 6: Wax

Apply wax to seal the repair and you are done. Wipe the residue with a microfiber towel.

apply wax

Final Result:

In just 15 minutes you can have a smooth shiny surface without any scratches.

Note: In the video, it only took him 7 min. to do the repair by using a buffing machine.

final result

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