Best scratch removers and colour restorers 2019
Need to remove scratches and revamp your car's paintwork? These are the best products to restore a vehicle's shine
Swirls and light scratches are the curse of modern car bodywork. They obscure the paint underneath and give a dull, tired finish to a car's appearance. Fortunately there are plenty of DIY solutions that can help iron out those marks, from polishes to colour restorers and scratch removers, all aiming at a different level of abrasiveness.
In this test, we’ve focused on the higher end of the scale with scratch removers that aim to remove marks that can be seen with the naked eye, but not felt with a fingernail.
How we tested them
All of the products we tested were applied on sections of a scrapyard bonnet that was covered in tiny swirls, and we also added some scuffs of our own. With limited wiping, we rated progress on the marks, as well as the overall finish.
- Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound
- Angelwax Enigma AIO
- Autoglym Scratch Removal Complete Kit
Reviews Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound
Price: Around £14
Ultimate Compound has long been one of our favourite correction products and is our current paint restorer and scratch remover champ. Key to its success has been that it makes good progress on imperfections, but isn’t so aggressive as to risk further damage. Nothing we tested could match the way it tackled our self-inflicted scratch and left a shiny finish that did not require further polishing. It can be applied by hand with a foam pad or cloth in a circular motion, or by a machine polisher or buffer. A superbly balanced and effective solution.
Angelwax Enigma AIO
Put ceramics into a formula and the cost jumps up. We’ve seen this in other products in the Enigma range, and this compound is no exception. It claims to remove medium to heavy scratches and marks from up to 2,500-grade sanding. The instructions put the emphasis on machine polishing, but it can be applied by hand – and it worked well on our shabby paint. Oddly, it had a slight edge over Ultimate Compound when used by hand, making good progress. There was some beading, but this was very slow after a couple of washes. You probably need to use it with the rest of the Enigma range to make the most of it, although it’s not a cheap option.
Autoglym Scratch Removal Complete Kit
Price: Around £17
It’s hard to know how to rank Autoglym’s new kit. It is undoubtedly expensive for just 100ml of scratch remover paste, but it does come with a microfibre cloth, foam applicator pad and 100ml of Super Resin Polish to bring the rest of the paint to the same appearance. The paste works brilliantly, dealing quickly with marks and leaving a shiny finish.
T-Cut Rapid Scratch Remover
Price: Around £10Size: 500mlRating: 4/5
Previous tests with the paste version of T-Cut Rapid Scratch Remover revealed an aggressive formula, which worked quickly but left a dull finish that needed further work. This liquid version has a better balance for the DIY user. It might need a little more time to use, but the finish was one of the best on test. It’s also our budget pick of the scratch removers.
Farecla G3 Professional Scratch Remover
Price: Around £10
G3 is best known for its professional paint compounds, so it’s no surprise that this DIY version has been at the top of our scratch remover tests over the years. It trails arch rival Meguiar’s here, but it remains effective. While it couldn’t match the best for finish, it was better than most rivals and it was the one to turn to for heavier damage. It is also the one to opt for out of our top four if you are on a tight budget.
Much like the Gtechniq here, this compound is primarily designed to be used with a machine polisher. The Scottish producer calls it a medium cut compound good for light to heavy scratches and other defects. By hand it is a swirl and scratch remover, and it left a great finish on our panel after two attempts. It was a bit behind our winner on the first pass, although it made faster progress on the two scratches. Not the cheapest option, but effective.
Gtechniq P1 Nano Composite Polish
This is the ‘safest, most powerful’ polish Gtechniq has produced, the firm claims. Used by hand it is good for swirls and oxidation, but on a machine polisher it can remove 1,000 grit sandpaper marks, so it’s a bit less aggressive than Regenerate. In our test it left a finish that was a match for our winner, plus there was nothing between them on the scratches. But that price counts against P1.
Black Diamond Cut & Shine
Best price: Around £5
As so often, Black Diamond is our budget choice. As its name suggests, this is more towards the paint renovator end of the abrasive scale than a heavy-duty scratch remover. And that showed in the results, with the finish among the best, particularly after the first attempt. The shine on our tired paint was back. Progress on the scratches was a little slower, but still apparent and risk-free. For light damage it works well, and at this price you can afford to make several attempts at removing heavier marks.
Auto Finesse Revitalise Polish 2
Best price: Around £17
Even though this Auto Finesse product is formulated to be used primarily with a dual action powered polisher, the maker supplied it for our test. Progress by hand is obviously slower, but Revitalise Polish 2 still works well. The limited wiping in our test meant it trailed a little after the first attempt, but all signs of the scraper mark were removed at the second try. It made good progress on the wire wool and we liked the improvement in the overall finish of our tired paint. Not the cheapest option, but an effective all-rounder even without the help of a power tool.
Britemax Perfect Prep
Best price: Around £14
Results were close among the products in the midfield in our test, but Britemax Perfect Prep just emerges on top. As with Auto Finesse, it’s designed to be used with a powered polisher, although it can also be applied by hand. It claims to remove swirl marks and clean paint, too, which was why we saw a good improvement in the overall shine, but slower progress on the marks on our scrap bonnet. It took a second attempt before it eradicated the screen scraper mark. A good performer, although there were faster formulas on test. Lacks the bite of the best scratch removers, but it strikes a good balance between that and improving the finish.
Quixx Paint Scratch Remover
Best price: Around £13
Size: 25g x2
You get a paltry amount of paste, but Quixx also supplies sheets of sandpaper and two cloths. If the scratch is deep, use the paper before tackling the mark with the two pastes. Splitting our wiping between the two stages, we found initial progress slow compared to the best here. But on the second attempt, we achieved a good, shiny finish and the plastic mark was removed with just traces of the tricky swirl left. Comprehensive, but comparatively expensive.