How to Remove Paint Scratches in a 3 Step System

Here at Eastwood people often ask us what’s the best way to polish a car so we asked an expert who laid out two methods using our random orbital polisher. Depending on how much time you want to invest you can use a one-step process that will move swirls and scratches from the paint or you can opt for a more in-depth three-step process which will achieve an even more brilliant finish. Kevin is showing a three-step process in this article. If you want to see the one-step process you can view that tech article here:


We’re gonna be doing a paint correction three-step process with the Eastwood orbital buffer on this black vehicle. What that’s going to do is remove scratches with the compound and then the multi-step polish process is going to bring up the gloss and remove any marks that could have been caused by the buffer and just really bring that car back to the original shine that it was supposed to have.


The first thing we’re gonna do to this panel is clean it with a clay bar. What that’s gonna do is pull off all of the contaminants that are on the surface so that when we buff we’re actually polishing the paint and not just buffing off the contaminants first. When you’re cleaning the paint make sure you stay away from decals crevices because the clay is gonna get in the little the crack and can be difficult to get out.
You can just take your hand and contour the clay to get in body lines and tight areas. You can see above how much dirt comes off of the paint and onto the clay.


For the multi-step process we’re doing to this door it’s a little more in-depth and we want to be mindful of things that aren’t paint like decals and trim because we don’t want to burn through them as well as the door handle which is plastic that paint heats up a lot faster. As a rule of thumb it’s safer to tape those areas off.
Kevin is using the Eastwood orbital polisher in this project because it has a lot of torque so it can provide that cutting power that you need but it can also oscillate easily so that if you get into a tight area it will keep the heat down which helps reduce burn through. We’re going to put some compound on the Medium-Cut Hex Buff Pad and rub it around the panel we’re working on so that the buffer it doesn’t sling everywhere.


Start the buffer off slow and really just start to work the compound in a little bit as it’s running. Once the compound is spread around the panel you can speed up the polisher more to really help cut into the paint and remove some of these scratches.



A quick tip for you to check your progress is to just wipe off a little section and if it’s bad you can continue to work with what you have on the panel. If that section looks good then you can wipe off the whole panel to see what the entire thing looks like.

Now that we’re happy with the results of the first step we’re gonna swap pads to a softer polishing pad I’m gonna take the polish and apply it to the pad like we did the first step and evenly distribute it on the paint. For this step you want to turn the machine up to start the polishing process. Make sure you keep moving the polisher around the panel and don’t focus on a spot for too long or you will create excessive heat which can cause you to burn through the paint.

For step three we’re going to replace the pad with the clean one and just repeat the process that we just did on step two.

To tackle these scratches without having the huge expense of other machinery you can polish by hand. Just put some polish on a rag and get it on your finger rub it into those small areas. Take another dry section of the rag to wipe off. This process works great for removing all of those pesky fingernail scratches around door handles.

Now that Kevin had the panel polished out the real test was outside in the Sun. As you can see above the paint correction process turned out great with this Eastwood polisher and this Polishing system. With most cars you can easily knock this out in a day.

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