Problem with paint marks? Here’s how you get rid of them


Somebody left this mark at the grocery store parking. It looks like it was some green car’s door. If you look very closely it’s actually a green paint residue left on the clear coat surface. The clear coat itself seems to be damaged only slightly.

Fine sandpaper, polishing compound

We’ll try to remove this mark. All we need for this is ultra-fine 1500-grit or 2000-grit waterproof sandpaper (3000 grit is even better – the higher number stands for the finest abrasive), a polishing compound containing mild abrasive (we used Turtle Wax) and a car wax.
Sanding the mark with fine sandpaper

It’s best to use wet sanding, meaning pour some water over sandpaper first. Very carefully (you don’t want to remove the clear coat), with light pressure sand the marks with the sandpaper until the mark is gone. If you have never done it before, try on some small spot to see how it works first.
Sanded spot

This is how it looks after sanding. There is no mark, but the clear coat has lost its shine. We will have to use polishing compound to make it shiny again.
Applying polishing compound

Put a small amount of the polishing compound onto the damp sponge applicator.
Polishing with the sponge

Buff well using circular motion until the clear coat becomes shiny again.
Paint mark removed

Now, all that’s left is a barely visible dent.
How to remove minor scratches
Scratch on the car

Let’s try to polish out this scratch on the hood. The scratch is not very deep and looks like only the surface of the clear coat is damaged.
Turtle Wax polishing compound

All we need is a fine polishing compound (we again use Turtle Wax) and a foam applicator. The car is clean and dry.
Apply polishing compound

Put small amount of the fine polishing compound on the foam pad.
Buff with a polishing compound

Spray some water. Buff in circular motion. Periodically check the progress. If the scratch is still visible, buff a little more. Be careful not to buff too deep, especially when buffing near the edges.
Wash the area thoroughly

Once the scratch looks much better, wash the area thoroughly. Now just buff it with a regular car wax.
Repaired scratch

You barely can see it now. Click for a larger image.
How to polish foggy headlights
Fogged-up headlight

Over time, the headlight plastic scratches and fades. Using the same technique as described above, your can polish faded headlights, but only if they are fogged from the outside, like this one. If the headlights are fogged from the inside, not much can be done.
Fine sandpaper, polishing compound

We will use the same kit as we used to buff out paint marks from the clear coat. Click for a larger photo.
Applying masking tape

The car is clean and dry. First, we apply a masking tape to the edges, so when we sand , we won’t touch the painted panels.
Wet-sand the headlights

The next step is to carefully wet-sand the headlight plastic surface with a very fine sandpaper. In this case we used a 3000-grit 3M waterproof sandpaper. Sand with water, as the water dries, spray more water. When it’s wet, the sandpaper lasts longer without clogging up.
polish headlight

Now the plastic looks more clear when wet, but we need to fine-polish it. It’s time to use a fine polishing compound.
Polish headlight

Buff using circular motion. It takes a few minutes of good buffing to restore the shine.
Restored headlight

You can see the result.

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