How to Buff Out Scratches

Finding a scratch on your automobile can be an extremely frustrating thing, especially if it is through no fault of your own. The depth and severity of the scratch determines the methods used to remove it. Continue reading to ascertain how to buff out scratches of different depths.

Determine the Depth of the Scratch

First determine if what you are looking at is actually a scratch. Slightly dampen a cloth and gently rub over the area to see if it is just washable debris. If it remains, then it is likely a scratch. The next step is to determine how deep the scratch is.

There are generally four layers to a car's paint. Starting from the deepest layer, these are: steel, primer, color and clear coat. Any scratch pertaining to the clear coat or color layer can be considered minor scratches and can likely be fixed at home. If a different color (or steel) is apparent, then the scratch is deeper and may require repainting, making it much more difficult for home repairs.

If you decide to repair one scratch on your car and have gotten all the materials and tools to do the job, why not give your car a full body exam and search for other places that can be repaired at the same time!

How to Buff Out Scratches Not Penetrating Color Layer

If the scratch is not penetrating the color layer, you can follow the restoration steps below to give your car a brand new look.

1. Clean and Sand

First, clean your whole car thoroughly as any dirt may cause further scratching. Next, wrap 2000-grit sandpaper around a sanding pad, and gently sand the scratched area. Ensure to swipe in the direction of the scratch when sanding. Rinse the area with water throughout the sanding process to see whether you have reached the bottom of the scratch. Once sanded, rinse and dry the area with a new, clean cloth made from microfiber. Old cloths may carry debris which may further scratch your car.

2. Buff It

Apply some rubbing compound to the scratched/sanded area before buffing. Next, turn the buffer on to a low level and gently buff the area for around ten seconds. Then increase the speed to around 2000 RPM and continue to buff for around a minute. Ensure not to buff past the layer of paint, but continue to buff until the dullness of the area has faded. If you want to learn how to buff out scratches perfectly, ensure to consistently move the buffer, not to hold it on one spot for over a second as this may cause damage.

3. Wash and Wax

After buffing, wash down the area thoroughly once again with clean water and a towel, ensuring to remove any debris and leftover rubbing compound. Apply a high quality wax to the buffed area, and then use a cloth to gently buff the area. Finally, wash the car once more to ensure all scratches and blemishes are gone.

If you still have questions about ways of buffing out scratches, watch the video below to get a step by step instruction:

How to Buff Out Scratches Hurting the Primer

If the scratch has penetrated the primer or steel level, buffing out the scratches can be a more challenging and dedicate work. To do it well, follow the steps below:

Step 1

Use solvent to clean the area and carefully apply primer or paint with appropriate color to the scratched area. When painting your car, ensure to take extra care, minimizing any lap. Allow the paint to sit overnight before going for the next step.

Step 2

After the paint have dried thoroughly, use sandpaper to remove extra paint and make sure that there is only paint remaining within and covering the scratch. Ensure to clean the area often to check the progress of your actions.

Step 3

Keep the sanded area tightly contained by applying compound to the area, chasing the gloss.

Step 4

If required, as will most probably be the case, apply more paint and continue this process until the scratch is completely filled. Applying one final compounding should ensure that the shiny factory gloss finish is restored. Once complete, ensure not to wax your automobile for at least thirty days, allowing any solvents to leave the surface.

Watch the following video to learn how to buff out scratches so deep that need repainting: 

 
 
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