So I got scratches on my car from going to the cheap car wash. Is there some sort of miracle cream to apply to take care of them?
June 30, 2006 11:29 AM   Subscribe

What's the name of that stuff that you rub into your paint job that gets rid of the little scratches inflicted from car wash rags?
posted by rileyray3000 to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can get rid of swirling and such by polishing, and possibly using clay on your paint, then putting a fresh coat of wax on.

Or if you're lazy, paying a detailing shop to do it for you.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 11:32 AM on June 30, 2006

(bonus: the wax will make this all easier to handle for a few months.)
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 11:34 AM on June 30, 2006

You need to be careful about using some products. Back in the old days we used something called rubbing compound that would probably do severe damage to modern clear coat finishes. Make sure you get something compatible with the finish on your car.
posted by Carbolic at 11:43 AM on June 30, 2006

A clay bar is what you want.
posted by misskaz at 11:47 AM on June 30, 2006

The product you're looking for is called swirl mark remover. It's in the class of products called 'glazes' -- they're very light polishes. It removes the tiny scratches that look like spiderwebs in the clearcoat of your car. Be aware that using too much of it can cause you to burn through your clearcoat, which will ruin your car's finish. Do not use it on a car that has had it's finish start to oxidize.

My favorite product is 3M swirl mark remover, you need to buy it online or at an auto body supply store. It's a machine glaze, which means that it needs to be applied with a variable speed orbiting buffer and a special 3m pad. I use a Porter Cable orbiting sander with a buffer attachment to apply it.

There's tons of guides at car enthusiast sites about removing swirl marks.

If they're very light, you can sometimes use a cleaner wax (my favorite is paste zymol, the liquid stuff is crap) to remove them by hand. A light polishing glaze, such as McGuiar's Mirror Glaze will also help.

Claying will help remove contaminants and high spots from the finish, giving it that fresh-from-the-factory feel.
posted by SpecialK at 11:50 AM on June 30, 2006

You want polish. I've gotten it from Griot's Garage in the past, although there are many fine products out there.

You may also want to check out this guide to car detailing from OCD details. There's a photo of a swirled hood before and after lower down on this page.

You can check out the Detail City forums for more advice, too.
posted by IvyMike at 11:52 AM on June 30, 2006 [2 favorites]

Oh, and if you have a Maaco or other one-step paint job -- don't, just don't, even try to polish it.
posted by SpecialK at 12:07 PM on June 30, 2006

That's a fantastic link IvyMike. Thanks.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 1:07 PM on June 30, 2006

Kudos to IvyMike.

I've been searching high and low for a good place to learn about detailing.
posted by zymurgy at 2:10 PM on June 30, 2006

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