How to Buff Out Minor Car Scratches: Beginners Guide

January 12, 2017

Car scratches not only detract from the appearance of your vehicle, they also reduce its value. Finding that first scratch on your new car can be heartbreaking -- but even a number of scratches don't mean it's time for a new paint job. Minor scratches can be removed fairly easily with a little bit of work.

An important note before we begin: If a scratch is so deep your fingernail gets stuck in it, you probably can't buff it out. You'll need to seek a professional detailer to fix that one.

Wash the Car

The first step is to wash your car. It should be free of any loose dirt that can get caught in a buffer pad and cause additional damage. Use two buckets -- one for soapy water, one for clean water -- and rinse/dry thoroughly.

Choose a Power Buffer

A power buffer isn't strictly necessary, but it makes the job much easier. A rotary buffer works best, but takes some practice to use properly. If you're a buffing novice, you might want to work with a dual action buffer. You should use circular motions when working with either type of buffer.

Select a Buffing Compound

Place a small bit of good buffing compound on the buffing pad. Choose a shaded area to work, and monitor your compound as you buff -- if the pad goes dry, it won't achieve the results you want.

Buff Slowly and Steadily

Plan to spend between five and ten minutes on each scratch zone. Use heavy pressure at the start, and ease up as the scratch becomes less prominent. Keep your buffer moving at all times -- it might damage the paint if you let it stay in one place.

How to Fix an Auto Car Paint Scratch >>

With a little work and a minor investment, you can save money and keep your car looking like brand new. You'll get better with practice, but you might be amazed at what a good a job you can do right from the start.

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