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Consumer Reports rates seven paint scratch removers

Posted Friday, August 10, 2007

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Quixx High Performance Scratch Remover performs best; CR cautions that some products may worsen a problem

Yonkers, NY — Sometimes you have to pay for performance, especially when it comes to removing unwanted scratches and swirl marks from car paint, according to the latest tests of scratch removers in Consumer Reports September issue.

Quixx High Performance Scratch Remover did an “Excellent” job at repairing very fine scratches. Quixx was the only product that was also “Very Good” at removing fine to medium scratches. However, it was the most expensive scratch remover CR tested. Quixx costs $21 for 1.8 ounces in two tubes—at almost $12 per oz., it was more than three times the cost of other brands tested.

Mothers California Gold Scratch Remover ($ .75 per oz.) and NuFinish Scratch Doctor ($1.54 per oz.) proved solid options for those seeking a cheaper solution. Both brands were “Very Good” at removing swirl marks and fine scratches and did a “Good” job at repairing fine to medium scratches.

But CR’s tests also found that these do-it-yourself scratch removers have their limits. All can remove very light scratches and imperfections, such as swirl marks, hazing, or oxidation. But only one, Quixx Scratch Remover, did a good job of smoothing out a scratch that’s deep enough to feel it if you run a fingernail across it.

And, it’s important for consumers to know that scratch removers can cause hazing when used too aggressively—as the GS27 Scratch Remover and Meguiar’s ScratchX products did in CR’s extensive testing. Quixx also includes a strip of ultrafine, 3,000-grit sandpaper for deeper scratches. But if a consumer isn’t careful, he or she could sand through the clearcoat, which would necessitate repainting.

While all seven of the scratch removers that CR tested scored at least “Good” at removing very light scratches and imperfections, Black Magic Express Scratch Treatment and Turtle Wax Scratch and Swirl Remover scored the lowest. The pricier Black Magic ($3.33 per oz.), was only fair at removing fine to medium scratches and Turtle Wax was more difficult to use than better performing choices.

After using any scratch remover, apply a car wax to help protect the surface. In previous tests, CR gave top marks to Black Magic Wet Shine Liquid Wax, Turtle Wax Carnauba Car Wax, and Eagle One Nanowax. All can help remove oxidation and swirl marks.

The complete ratings for scratch removers as well as additional ratings on car waxes can be found at

Consumer Reports offers the following tips for preventing scratches in car paint:

  • Wash your car once a week. Dirt can easily lead to scratches.
  • Don’t slide objects across the paint. Even grocery bags can cause scratches.
  • If you wash a car by hand, don’t use an abrasive cloth such as one with synthetic fibers. CR suggests a clean sponge or sheepskin mitt.
  • Hose off any dirt or grime before washing, and frequently rinse the sponge or mitt in clean water. If it drops on the ground, don’t use it until it has been thoroughly cleaned.
  • Dry the paint with a clean chamois or terrycloth towels.
  • Wax using microfiber towels or soft all-cotton cloths, such as diapers.
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Consumer Reports rates seven paint scratch removers
Quixx High Performance Scratch Remover did an “Excellent” job at repairing very fine scratches.
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