How-To Easily Remove Paint Transfer (Scuffs) From Your Vehicle
What is paint transfer? It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s the paint from someone else’s vehicle that has come in contact with yours, and now their paint is visible on your vehicle.
We hope they left a note and owned up to their mistake, but if not, have no fear. There’s no need for it to ruin your day. If the paint transfer isn’t too deep, you can remove it in just a few quick steps.
*optional – Clay Bar
Your car’s paint job has 3 layers to it
- Primer – This is the base layer that goes on after your car is built, to prepare the body for the base coat.
- Base Coat – This is the color of your car that is painted on.
- Clear Coat – This is the thickest layer and is used to protect your car’s color from minor scratches and annoying paint transfers.
* Wax Layer – This really isn’t a formal layer, but it does protect the outside of your car. Wax can hide minor imperfections and little scratches.
Hopefully, the paint transfer on your vehicle is minor and is only embedded in the clear coat of your car. If this is the case, follow these easy steps to get your vehicle back in tip-top condition quickly and easily, without having to spend oodles of money at a body shop. You will know upon close inspection of your vehicle.
*If the repair is quite minor, you can use some over-the-counter 3M Rubbing Compound and 3M Scratch Remover. Simply buff the damage out with a microfiber towel.
Steps to Removing Paint Transfer
- Grab some WD-40 to spray on the paint transfer to soften the paint. This will prepare the paint for the buffing steps. WD-40 is about 50% mineral spirits, which will soften the paint, but it’s not harsh enough to damage your clear coat. Be sure to only spray the WD-40 on the paint transfer.
- Once you have softened the paint transfer with WD-40, grab a Magic Eraser. Soak the Magic Eraser in warm water and wring out the excess liquid. Start scrubbing. Make sure you don’t press so hard that you scrub past the paint transfer to your base coat. You’ll know this if the Magic Eraser picks up the color of your car on the sponge. When scrubbing the paint transfer, go with the grain, not against it. Do not scrub in circles.
*You can repeat the first 2 steps if you have some stubborn paint transfer that won’t come off.
- After you successfully remove all the paint damage, simply spray some soapy water on the area that you’re working on, and wipe it down with a microfiber towel. You’ll want to make sure you remove all the WD-40 from the area completely.
- Finally, add a protective layer of wax back to your vehicle. Buff at least the area you just got done working on. If you have extra time on your hands, feel free to wax your entire vehicle, but it is not necessary.
*If you’re absolutely a perfectionist, you can use a clay bar before the waxing step to make sure the damaged area is in perfect condition. This is not necessary, but may be your preference. Clay bar is a non-abrasive tool used by many of your body shops and vehicle detailers to get those finishing touches that well all pay such good money for. Clay bar can be used not only on the outside paint job of your car, but can also be used on glass, fiberglass and even metal.
If the damage done to your vehicle goes past the clear coat into your base coat, you can get some touch up paint, but we hope you don’t have to. Just in case though, you can find out the exact color of your car inside the door on the sticker. There will be a code that tells you the exact color to buy.
If you need some visual step-by-step, watch the following video tutorial.
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