Secrets Of The Experts: How to Remove Car Key Scratches Fast

clear coat scratches

This Hyundai had deep clear coat scratches. The owner of the car was very upset when he saw it after coming back from the mall. It looked like someone scratched the car with a key. Bodyshops told the owner it would cost anywhere from $250 to $450 to remove and they would keep the car for one day.

Most people don’t realize that this kind of scratches can be easily removed in just 15 min without any touch-up paint. You can save a lot of money and time by doing the repair yourself. Just follow my easy step-by-step instructions below.

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.

Step 1: Wash the car

The area being repaired should be washed with water and auto soap. Follow it with prep solvent.

Step 2: Sanding

Sand scratches with wet/dry 2,000-grit sandpaper till the area is smooth. Wet sanding works the best. Soak sandpaper in cold water for 10-15 min. Spray the area with water. Gently sand the scratches using a lot of water.

Keep checking for smoothness with your fingers. The goal is to even out the surface by sanding down the clear coat. It might take you a few rounds of sanding for the scratches to disappear.

sanding clear coat

Step 3: Clean the Area

After you are done with sanding, clean the area with a microfiber towel. The surface will look dull. Don’t worry. You will restore the shine in the next step with some rubbing compound.

sanded area

Step 4: Applying Rubbing Compound

In this step, you will remove all sand scratches by buffing it with a rubbing compound. Avoid doing this in full sun. The surface will get too hot and the compound will dry too fast.

For the demonstration, they had to do it in full sun otherwise you would not see those scratches. But when you are doing it at home, find some shade.

applying rubbing compound

You can do it by hand or by using a buffing machine. Place a few drops on the application pad and rub it on the surface until the scratches are gone and the surface is shiny. If you are using a buffer set it at 1,800 rpm.

Use a foam buffing pad to apply the compound. It might take you a few rounds of rubbing compound application to get rid of the scratches. Wipe off the residue with a microfiber towel.

applying rubbing compound

Step 5: Applying Polishing Compound

After applying the rubbing compound the scratches should be gone and the paint should be shiny. To get a showroom shine use a polishing compound.

Apply a few drops of polishing compound to the application pad and rub the surface. If you are using a polishing machine, set it at 1,000 rpm. For better results, use the polishing pad. You can also do it by hand. Wipe off the residue with a microfiber towel.

applying polisher

Step 6: Wax

Apply wax to seal your repair. Again, you can do it by hand or with a polishing machine. If you are using a machine, set it at 1,000 rpm.

apply wax

Final Result:

As a result, you should have a smooth shiny surface without any scratches.

final result