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Best car colour restorers 2023

We reveal the best ways to bring back the shine to paintwork that’s been dulled by scratches and swirls

If you use machine or commercial hand car washes, or your own cleaning regime is less than rigorous, then it’s likely your paintwork has thousands of tiny scratches and swirls, which hide the colour below. To restore that shine you can use a polish, but for heavier damage, a colour restorer is the way to go. For deeper marks, a scratch remover is the next step.

Picking a colour restorer is not always easy because they are often called polishes, but our samples are what makers consider their swirl removers. In contrast to our test for scratch removers, where we add marks, we revised this test to focus on the finish and how well each product deals with those tiny marks.

How we tested them

A bonnet was sectioned off and our rivals were put through their paces, using a foam applicator and their own microfibre cloth to prevent cross-contamination. We assessed the shine after 20, 40, 60 and 90 passes.

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We focused on using each product by hand because that is how they will be used by DIY valeters. Most points went to the finish, but we also took price into account.

Verdict

  1. Diamondbrite Diamond Cut
  2. Autobrite Direct Enhance
  3. Menzerna Final Finish 3000

Reviews

Diamondbrite Diamond Cut

  • Price: around £8  
  • Size: 500ml
  • Contact: jewelultra.com
  • Rating: 5 stars
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Our revised test suited Diamondbrite and its ‘used car polish’ because it was in the leading group of performers on our test bonnet. Usefully, Diamond Cut can be applied a section at a time or to the whole car before buffing off.  It aims to remove oxidation, ingrained dirt and fine scratches, and it left a glossy finish in our tests. The results were very close, allowing the keenly priced Diamond Cut to edge ahead and take a narrow win.

Buy now from Diamondbrite

Autobrite Direct Enhance

Autobrite claims a Jaffa Cake fragrance for Enhance, but it smells pretty much like polish to us. We agree with most of the rest of the on-pack claims, given that it dealt well with clearcoat defects, leaving a smooth finish. It doesn’t contain fillers or glazes, leaving it open for you to pick your own LSP (last-step product). For those with the kit and expertise, it can also be applied by machine polisher. 

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Buy now from Halfords

Menzerna Final Finish 3000

  • Price: around £9 
  • Size: 250ml
  • Contact: motorgeek.co.uk
  • Rating: 4.5 stars

Just like Enhance, Final Finish from Menzerna contains no fillers, so you know any improved looks will last and not disappear in the first heavy rain or hand wash.
It can also be used by hand or machine and, usefully, the pack suggests the speed and pad to use. By hand, it left a decent shine and was among the leading products. A high price hurt its chances of overall victory, but this was an impressive test debut by the German producer.

Buy now from The Ultimate Finish

Autoglym Super Resin Polish

  • Price: around £20  
  • Size: 500ml
  • Contact: autoglym.com
  • Rating: 4.5 stars

A perfect set of results on our scrapyard bonnet sees sector veteran Super Resin Polish take the final spot in our top four. It’s easy to see why, for many car owners, it is the go-to polish – it left a glossy finish with little effort. It was a top performance, but at a high price, which almost dropped it out of our top four. The formula also contains wax to give a protective cost, but this is primarily a polish and it does that job well.

Buy now from Halfords

Are tiny contaminants hampering your paint restoration efforts? Check out the best clay bars to buy...

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Products editor

Kim has worked for Auto Express for more than three decades and all but a year of that time in the Products section. His current role as products editor involves managing the section’s content and team of testers plus doing some of the tests himself. 

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