How to repair light scratches on your car
We hate to start this on a negative, but it’s important. If the scratches in your paint are deep, so deep that primer or even metal is exposed, there is no quick fix available. That kind of damage is the remit of a body shop and a man with a spray gun. However, for lighter scratches, there are things you can do. 
 
The reality is cars lead hard lives and in the process, they get a bit battered. The bush on the side of your driveway, an overzealous local car wash, your kids clambering in and out of it. It can all take its toll on the bodywork, but it doesn’t mean the end. There are methods to get rids of scratches, some of which we’ve collected for you here. 

Wash and Polish 

Not an automated car wash, not the local £5 place that sprays your car with all manner of stuff. No, you, some decent car shampoo and some decent polish. Nobody will do a better job than you, it’s your car after all. Give it a good wash, dry it off and then apply the polish. 
 
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking a sunny day is best, it’s not. You want a dry, overcast day so the sun can’t bake the polish on. Apply the polish, leave it for a few moments, then buff it off with a decent microfibre cloth. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes when it’d done with genuine care and attention. 
Clay Bar

Clay Bar

It’s an arduous undertaking, as you only work on a very small area at a time, but the results can be spectacular. Clay bars are made of a special compound that, when lubricated and worked over a panel, will pick you near microscopic amounts of dirt and grime that has become embedded into the paint.

The trick to using a clay bar is to keep it well lubricated and fold it often. Don’t work it too much without re-moulding it in your hands, otherwise you just end up working the dirt back into the paint. 

Machine polish

Machine polish

If there are still swirls and scratches, another idea would be to machine polish the car. You’ll need the car to be washed, dry and free of other polish products. Then, once you’ve acquired a machine polished from your local car place, you can start polishing. 

Start with a fine grade cutting compound, put a few dabs on the pad, then set the machine to its lowest setting and work the compound in. When it’s evenly dispersed, up the speed and work the compound in further.

You DO NOT need to press the machine into the paint; it just needs to be the lightest touch - the weight of the machine itself, if that.

And when the compound starts to ball up, that’s enough. Buff it off and then apply final polish. It’ll be well twinkly. 

Abrasive polish

Tried the machine polish but you still have imperfections and marks in your paint? Repeat the process, but this time with a coarser cutting compound. Apply it in exactly the same way.
 
If, when you buff it off, there are still scratches, fit a new pad to the machine and apply an even coarser cutting compound. 
 
Finally, once all that has been done, you can give it a wool polish. Wool pads are surprisingly abrasive and will remove a lot of damage and imperfections on the car.
 
Again, you don’t need mountains of pressure here. With a light touch, make sure the pad is kept free of build-up and you should see a massive transformation to the condition of your paint.  

Ceramic coating

Finally, you should give your car a ceramic coating. There is a lot of speculation around this, but that mainly relates to expectation. Nothing you can do to a car, other than paint it, is permanent.
 
Ceramic coating isn’t a miracle fix. Instead, think of it as premium wax, and with it, a way of offering a period of protection for your car. Once your car is cleaned and you’ve done your machine polishing, a ceramic coating will bond to the point and lock in the clean and shiny surface.
 
It needs to be done in a controlled and dry environment, and it needs to be done carefully. Once done though, it should help to protect your car for anything up to six months.
 
Though that’s only if you buy decent, proven stuff. Don’t be tempted by the ‘miracle’ six quid stuff online. 
 
In conclusion, the best way to remove scratches is good old-fashioned hard work and a commitment to repeat that hard work every couple of months. There are no permanent or miracle waxes, polishes or other coatings. None at all. 
 
Cars are there to be used, and with that, they’re going to get a bit beaten. Keep on top of it though, and you’ll have a car that’s almost always as resplendent as the day you bought it.