Knowing what’s the best car scratch remover at removing shallow scratches from your car can be a game changer for your bodywork
Scratches on your car paintwork are irritating. But we’ve found that with the best car scratch removers you can make shallow scratches disappear quickly and effectively. In January 2021 we applied car scratch removers to uniform scratches we’d created onto a piece of car panel so we could find out which one was the best. We conducted our tests using eight commercial products designed to remove shallow scratches, including Angelwax, Meguiars and T-Cut. We also tested to see if WD-40 can hide car scratches as several online videos claim. Prices and availability last checked 7 March 2022.
Do car scratch removers work?
Most car scratch removers are designed to repair shallow scratches. That is scratches to the outer clear coat of the car’s paint. Not all the scratch removers we tested produced the same results, even on shallow scratches. However, some we tested proved to be brilliant on shallow scratches and one even managed to lessen the appearance of damage on deeper scratches. The clear standout we’ve named our Best Buy car scratch remover produced the best results on the scratches we tested it on and left the best finish, even after washing the paintwork with car shampoo.
The best car scratch remover from our test
Best Buy: Autoglym Scratch Removal Kit
Cheapest price: £18.99 available at Halfords
Size: kit contains 100ml scratch remover plus 100ml polish
Our verdict: This all-in-one car scratch remover kit (containing 100ml Scratch Remover, 100ml Super Resin Polish, 1x Hi-Tech Finishing Cloth, 1x Scratch Removal Applicator) produced amazing results. It made the shallow scratches on our car door vanish from sight after the first use. It didn’t remove the deeper scratches, but nor did it claim it could. What it does claim to do is improve the appearance of deeper scratches and this promise was fulfilled. In fact, out of all the car scratch removers we tested Autoglym Scratch Removal Kit delivered the best results for both the shallow and deeper scratches we tested it on. This car scratch remover was also one of the four we tested whose repairs survived all five washes with car shampoo and still didn’t show the scratches. After our main tests were concluded we tried out the super resin polish that comes with this kit as well. It left the part of the car panel it was tried on with a stunning glossy finish which shone compared with those areas on the panel we’d tested the other car scratch removers on. Even without the polish, this section of the car panel had a much nicer finish than any other product we tested.
Pros: Comes with everything you need in one package for all paint types and colours, easy to apply and delivers quick results with one application, will survive washes afterwards
Cons: The scratch remover is not sold separately so you’d need to replace the whole kit when you ran out
How the rest of the car scratch removers we tested fared
Great Value: T-Cut Rapid Scratch Remover
Cheapest price: £9 available at Wilko. Also available at Halfords
Our verdict: Smooth and easy to apply, T-Cut Rapid Scratch Remover completely removed the shallow scratches on its first application. Once we had wiped away the dried-on excess it left the car panel we tested it on with one of the nicer finishes, however, it wasn’t the best. This product also survived all five washes with car shampoo. The generous size of this bottle will leave you with enough product to maintain your car through many scratches. However, the large size of the bottle’s mouth makes it difficult to pour out the small amounts you need each time. So you’re more likely to use more than you need with each application. T-Cut Rapid Scratch Remover had no effect on the deeper scratches, but nor did it say it would.
Pros: Removed scratches with one application, once the excess is wiped away you are left with a nice glossy finish
Cons: Large bottle mouth means you end up using more than you need Here’s our verdict on the other car scratch removers we tested, listed alphabetically.
Angelwax Enigma AIO
Cheapest price: £29.17 available at Angelwax. Also available at Amazon
Our verdict: Angelwax Enigma AIO is designed for use on deeper scratches. However, for the purposes of our test, we were mainly focused on its ability to remove shallow scratches. Against shallow scratches, it worked perfectly. Applied by hand, Angelwax Enigma AIO fully removed the shallow scratches we tested it on after its first use. They could no longer be seen by the naked eye. The repairs by this product also survived the five washes we subjected them to with no change to the finish. However, the finish, once the shallow scratches had been removed, was not as glossy or as full of lustre as the results from our Best Buy. We saw very little evidence of improvement to the deeper scratches, but we only applied the product by hand.
Pros: Easy to apply, fast results, one application, survives washes afterwards
Cons: Expensive compared with others we tested, left our car panel with a haze that needed to be washed off
Autobrite Direct Scratch-Out
Cheapest price: £10.72 available at Amazon
Our verdict: This product did work on the shallow scratches but it required two applications. After the second treatment of Autobrite Direct Scratch-Out, the shallow scratches were invisible. However, when it came to washing the car panel afterwards the product was wiped away during the second wash and we could see the scratches again. However, they were not as obvious as before we used the product.
Pros: Of those we tested this was the easiest to apply the amount you need without waste, worked after two applications (of the allowable four in our test)
Cons: Still takes more than one application, won’t survive multiple washes, left our car panel with a bit of a haze that needed washing away.
Farécla G3 Professional Scratch Remover Paste
Cheapest price: £7.49 available at Amazon, Halfords
Size: 150ml Our verdict: This car scratch remover took all four of the allowed applications to make a significant difference to the shallow scratches on its panel. After the first, second and third applications there seemed to be no noticeable difference to the shallow scratches. It was only after the fourth application we could no longer see them. The paste is somewhat thicker than most of the others we tested and so needed a bit more effort with each application. The scratch reappeared after the second of five washes, so you might need to reapply regularly.
Pros: Did remove our shallow scratches – albeit after four attempts
Cons: Needed more elbow grease to apply than the others we tested and more than one application, didn’t survive multiple washes afterwards
Mantis Scratch Remover
Cheapest price: £3 available at Amazon. Also available at JML Direct (out of stock)
Our verdict: After the first application of Mantis Scratch Remover the shallow scratches on its section of the car panel were hard to see but still noticeable. It was after the second use when we could no longer spot the scratches. This easy to use product did give the car panel a nice glossy coat once you’d wiped away the excess. However, when it came to our wash tests the following day the product was wiped away after the second wash.
Pros: Once allowed to dry and the excess is wiped away, leaves a glossy finish
Cons: Takes more than one application, won’t survive multiple washes afterwards
Meguiar’s Scratch X 2.0 Car Paint Scratch Remover
heapest price: £10.83 available at Amazon, also available at Halfords
Our verdict: Meguiar’s Scratch X 2.0 got rid of the shallow scratches on our car panel after its first use. Once this application had dried we could no longer see the shallow scratch. It did leave the car panel with a nice glossy shine, but during the third wash with car shampoo, the scratches reappeared.
Pros: Removed scratches with one application, glossy finish
Cons: Didn’t survive multiple washes afterward
Turtle Wax Scratch Repair & Renew
Cheapest price: £8 available at Halfords
Our verdict: After two applications Turtle Wax Scratch Repair & Renew had gotten rid of the unsightly shallow scratches on our car panel. However, after the third of five washes, the scratch was visible again. Another thing we noticed when testing this product is how eager the formula is to leave the bottle. You only need the lightest squeeze to get the liquid out of the bottle and onto your cloth. We found it was almost impossible not to end up with too much on our microfibre towel. Like with many of the products we tested, Turtle Wax Scratch Repair & Renew will leave a slight haze you’ll need to wipe away once it has dried. You’re then left with a nice glossy finish.
Pros: Removed scratches after two goes and left a nice glossy finish
Cons: Liquid formula comes out too easily, took more than one application, didn’t survive multiple washes
WD40 on car paint scratches – does it remove them?
As well as the nine products above, we also pitted WD40 against the same rigorous set of tests to see how it did as a scratch remover. WD40 is a multi-use product and a necessity for any garage or shed. It stops squeaks, loosens rusted parts, frees sticky mechanisms, drives out moisture but did it remove the scratches? Yes it did. However, it took four applications of WD40 to make a noticeable difference and it washed away the next day during the first clean, so you could see the scratches just as clearly again. This makes WD40 a useful fix to temporarily hide a shallow car scratch until you have time to get to one of the best-dedicated products.
Types of car scratches – what’s the difference?
There are three types of scratches that can affect a car panel: shallow or surface scratches, medium or basecoat scratches and deep scratches.
Shallow scratch: a scratch to the clear coat
Medium scratch: a scratch through the clear coat and into the basecoat
Deep scratch: a scratch into the primer or to the metal of the car panel
To understand the different types of scratches you also need to know about the layers that make up a car panel on most cars: Metal: the car panel itself beneath all the paint
Primer: primers are the most common undercoats used when refinishing car bodies. They’re used to build up and level feathered areas or rough surfaces and to provide a smooth surface for paint
Basecoat: the paint which gives the car its colour
Clearcoat: a layer of paint with no pigment, which acts as a protective layer to the undercoats
How to identify your scratch
Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/new-and-used-cars/article/best-car-scratch-removers-aGrzV1F66I0H – Which?
Most shallow and medium scratches can be quite hard to tell apart. If you spot a scratch on your car but can’t tell how deep it is there is an easy method to test this. Pass your fingernail over the mark. If your fingernail gets caught, this is a medium scratch at the very least. With most deep scratches you’ll see a line which is a different colour to your car. That is the primer or metal itself showing through, depending on the depth of the scratch.
How to remove shallow scratches
from your car If you’ve identified a shallow scratch on your car and want to use one of our recommended car scratch removers. Here’s what you need to do:
Protect your hands with rubber gloves
Many of these products contain strong chemicals which can be an irritant to bare skin. If any of the car scratch remover does get on your bare skin, wash it off with soap and rigorous scrubbing.
Prep the area Make sure you’ve cleaned the area you are going to apply the car scratch remover to with a decent car shampoo. Bear in mind, some of these products need to be applied out of direct sunlight or in a cool place, so check the instructions.
Grab a clean cloth or pad We used a fresh microfibre cloth for each of the car scratch removers we tested. Some kits come with a foam applicator pad or you can buy these yourself separately. While not essential, they do make application easier.
Prepare for more than one application Even on shallow scratches we tested on we found that many car scratch removers needed more than one application to get rid of the scratch.
Polish the whole body Once you’ve finished and the scratch is invisible you might notice the area you worked on has a slightly different finish to the rest of the car. It could be shinier, duller or just have a bit of haze across it. At this point, we recommend you give your car some TLC and polish the whole body.
How to remove a deep scratch from your car
Even the most careful and responsible drivers can end up with deep scratches on their car from time to time. Our Best Buy car scratch remover was the only product of those we tested which made any difference to medium and deep scratches, though it didn’t completely remove them. If you identify a deep scratch on your car it may be time to turn to the professionals. Depending on the depth of the scratch, a bodywork repair shop will either be able to smooth it out or if need be replace the car panel.