Introduction: Buffing Car Scratches Out by Hand

I made it at TechShop Menlo Park (!

The TechShop in Menlo Park is the only one in California that has an auto bay, which is great because I did this at night and did not have to worry about sufficient lighting!

So I had these scratches on the back right side of my car because I scraped along a rusty trash can.  The rust actually came off the trash can, and that's what you see in the picture.  The scratches themselves were pretty minor.  There is a little dimple where it did actually scratch through the paint.

I don't know anything about cars, so don't jump down my throat if I did something wrong!  I did not know how to get rid of these scratches, so I had my friend teach me.

Step 1: Washing the Area

So I made the mistake of trying to get the dirt off my car by wiping my sleeve across it.  My friend quickly pointed out that I should not do that because the dirt can make the scratches worse.  Who'd of thunk it?  He explained that I need to use a lint free cloth with soap and water to clean the area.  After cleaning, I let it dry thoroughly.  Yes, the creepy puppet hand is actually my real hand.

Step 2: Rubbing Compound

After cleaning, I applied a rubbing compound to the scratches.  I applied a dime size amount with a lint free cloth and rubbed along the scratches (applying a lot of pressure) until they disappeared.  I had to reapply the compound a few times.  This was the most time consuming part (it probably felt more time consuming because I laugh at exercise and my arms started to go weak early in the process) and definitely required a lot of elbow grease.  Before going to the next step, I made sure that there were no white streaks or cloudiness.

Step 3: Swirl Mark Remover

It is hard to see, but the black bottle on the bottom right of the picture is marked "Swirl Mark Remover" by 3M.  After applying the rubbing compound, I applied a dime sized amount of the swirl mark remover with a new lint free cloth. 

Step 4: Done!

Here is the finished product!