'That'll buff right out!' How?

I had to drive my Jeep through some bushes, and scratched the hell out of the right side. I have an orbital polisher that I haven’t used yet. How do I buff the scratches? Rubbing compound? Paste wax?

IANAMechanic, but as I understand, a lot of visible scratches are to the clear coat over the paint; as long as they are not down to the metal, buffing smooths the edges of the scratch in clear-coat and paint so the scratch is not immediately visible.

So, the less you dig into the paint layer, the better.

So… Rubbing compound? Wax?

My advice is to use the gentlest option first, so wax. If that doesn’t work try a scratch remover, (sometimes marketed as Scratch & Swirl Remover) which I believe is like wax with a harsher abrasive, and different than rubbing compound. Then try rubbing compound. If you use rubbing compound you probably want to use wax after that as a polish.

Thanks. Gentlest first makes sense. I’ll see if I can get to it on the weekend.

It’s a Jeep. Wrinkles Scratches add character.

Yep. Still, I’ve had it since it was new and the only battle scar it had was one deep scratch (shows up white) from when I encountered a bush off-roading in the mountains north of L.A. shortly after I bought it. (And the rear bumper’s all scratched up from hauling stuff.)

The Jeep thing to do is to take it out and scratch the hell out of the left side.

It’s been a while since I cared about the paint on my truck, but I think there is something called polishing compound that is less abrasive than rubbing compound. I would wash it and wax it first, and then try the less abrasive products first, that will probably do the trick. I would save the rubbing compound as a last resort. But I suggest asking around on a vehicle enthusiast forum too, there are probably a good many tricks, products, and methods to do this.

Oh yeah, also search YouTube for “remove scratches from car” and there are plenty of videos to watch. YouTube is great for learning how to do stuff.

I had an incident involving my front right fender and a yellow parking bollard that left some pretty bad-looking yellow scratches. To my great surprise I was able to remove them using Turtle Wax Scratch Repair & Renew paste.

This. Keeping a Jeep pristine is like those people who have a snow-white carpet in their living room and won’t let anybody walk in there.

I drove a ‘78 Blazer for over a decade; that thing could get me to and from any ddamed trailhead or put-in spot I ever wanted, no matter the terrain. The Big Yellow Pill didn’t have any scratches tho; what it had was a custom look courtesy of the Desert Pinstriping Committee.

My white Jeep Wrangler was pristine, until my gf hit it with her truck when she was juggling vehicles. Not a scratch on her truck, my Jeep is sorely scarred.

Luke, Jeep, it is your destiny.

An orbital polisher will be challenging for a beginner to remove scratches without introducing “holograms” into the paint. For a beginner I would recommend a dual action (also called random orbital, RO, DA) polisher. For just one time use you can get a cheap one off Amazon and some SPTA brand pads. For a compound I would recommend meguiars ultimate compound or griots garage compound. And then watch some of the training videos made by Larry Kosilla on YouTube under his company name of AmmoNYC. He explains things very well.

If you can feel the scratch with your fingernail, odds are that you will not be able to buff it out, but you may be able to improve its appearance.

It’s a cheap random orbital waxer/polisher. It’s not for one-time use (I have three cars, and my wife has one), but it’s not like it will be used every month.

Do you have a link? There are basically two types of this sort of product:
Ultra-cheap black and decker type things that use a “bonnet” around the polishing mechanism and have little to no information about the size of the orbit or the RPM it operates at. These might be able to polish out a light scratch or two but it will take a whole lot longer. Typically they look like this:

that unit has 4,400 RPM and nothing about the size of the orbit. It’s gonna be SLOW to do anything but spread wax on your car.

Compared to a unit like this:

This is basically the intro model (a step up from Harbor Freight or other weirdly named amazon knock-offs) for a DA polisher. It takes a little bit to learn the technique for using it without stalling it, but once you do it will do a nice job polishing out the scratches. But, it will be a little harsh as far as vibration and noise if you are holding it and using it for long periods. Other models, like Griot’s Garage G9, are more expensive but less harsh for around $150, and the premium models are Rupes or Flex which cost a few hundred, but are smooth as silk.

For way more info that you probably want, type this into google and watch some videos:

youtube ammo nyc training academy polishing

He goes over polisher types, pad types, compound types, etc. If you want something that will work well, this is my advice:

Porter Cable 7424XP or Griot’s G9 polisher
Griot’s Garage BOSS 5 inch pads (get 3 as they will get clogged and need cleaning), “medium cut” (mine are orange) or “polishing” but not waxing, light polishing, or finishing pads as they just don’t have the cut to remove a scratch.
Griot’s Garage Complete Compound AND Griot’s Garage Complete Polish. Put 2 spots of compound and one spot of polish on your pad, and use the techniques shown in the videos, and you should be good. Wash the area first and spray it with some diluted rubbing alcohol (dilute to a total of 20% alcohol to 80% water) and wipe it off, then do the polishing, easing up on the pressure for the last pass, and you should end up with a nice looking finish with no scratches.

Alternately, you can pay a detail shop to polish them out professionally for you. Typical cost would be 50 - 150 per body panel that needs polishing. But if your jeep is older, the polished panels may look way better than the unpolished ones when done, and then you have to decide whether or not to do the whole vehicle.

Finally, one last thing: Depending on the age and color of the Jeep, it may indeed have single-stage paint on it. This is both easier and harder to work with. Easier, because there is no “clear coat” to burn through, but harder because it means more residue and color will be picked up in the pad, clogging it faster, and the technique is a little different depending on the age. Good luck, and feel free to ask more questions!

Ok, one REALLY last thing: Understand that most detailing videos on youtube are put on by guys who want to take the cars to shows, etc afterward, so they are perfectionists. They will insist that you need to use a compound on a heavy cutting pad first, and then switch to a polish on a polishing pad. This will get the work done in the least amount of time but is more dangerous because it starts out very aggressive. Use medium pads with a little polish and compound mixed and you will be left with a VERY nice looking, shiny finish that you will be happy with for an every day vehicle.

That’s the one.

If I wanted it that good I’d just have it repainted! :stuck_out_tongue: