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Can Car Detailing remove scratches? Everything you need to know (2023)

Severe Car Scratch on the door of a white car
Car Scratches

Have you been left horrified as you discover yet another scratch on your vehicle? Asking yourself, "can Car Detailing remove scratches"? Well, the bottom line is; getting scratches and swirls is inevitable through proper use of your vehicle. Whether they're from falling tree branches, an accident in a car park or through general use.

In this blog post, we will be discovering where scratches come from, the different types of car scratches and how to remove or minimise car scratches so that you can be the most informed about how to take care of your vehicle.

Table of contents

What causes Car Scratches?

Put simply, car scratches are caused by an abrasive that makes an indent into your car's paint. Common causes of car scratches and swirls include road debris like rocks or gravel, keying, collisions with other cars or shopping carts.

Understanding Car Scratches

So “can Car Detailing remove scratches”. In short, yes. With the correct tools, equipment and experience, most scratches can be removed from your car’s paint. However there is much more to understanding car scratches.

Different types of Car Scratches

Car scratches come in three main categories and are made distinguished depending on how far into the car paint the scratch goes. Listed

Clear Coat Scratches

  • Clear coat scratches are the easiest form of scratch to deal with. They are easily made through a power tunnel wash and is where car swirls come from. They only make a mark in the outermost layer of your vehicle (the clear coat), and are usually removable with only minor work.

Primer Scratches

  • Primer scratches require more work to remove than clear coat scratches. They can usually be removed through an extensive scratch removal service or can be minimised through paint correction.

Paint Scratches

  • Paint scratches are the deepest form of scratch - etching into the deepest layer of outer material. They are extremely hard to remove, and once made can usually only be minimised through paint correction.

When doing scratch or swirl removal, detailers will often inspect the condition of the paint, before choosing the best method of scratch removal with their tools and materials.

What is the Scratch removal process?

Wash and Dry

The first step to successful scratch removal is a thorough wash to remove any surface contaminants or debris laying on top of the surface of the paint.


The decontamination step usually consists of a chemical decontamination through bug, tar and iron removers and mechanical decontamination through a clay media like a clay mitt or bar. This decontamination step can sometimes remove minor clear coat scratches and swirls as well.


After the wash, dry and decontamination, it is essential to do a paint inspection to determine the condition of the paint to figure out what scratch removal process, equipment and tools to use to get the best results.


The compounding stage uses an abrasive chemical to remove the biggest contaminants and scratches on your paint.


The polishing stage uses a finer chemical to remove any sanding marks from the compounding stage as well as enhancing the gloss and shine of your paint.

Paint touch-up

With extensive scratches that go through many layers of your car, touch up paint can be used to revitalise the aesthetic look of your vehicle.

Conclusion: Can Car Detailing remove scratches?

In conclusion, yes. Car Detailing can remove the vast majority of scratches, swirls and imperfections on your vehicle's paint. However, the best thing to do to minimise your chances of getting scratches in the first place is to park your car in the most covered area you can, as well as getting regular car care like Car Detailing.

Foam Car Washing - your Sydney Car Detailing Professionals

If you have minor scratches or swirls, to a severely scratched or swirled vehicle and are looking to get them removed, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly and professional Car Detailing team! Using the correct methods and equipment, we can restore your car’s paint to its former glory, with never before seen gloss, and shine!

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