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How to Remove Swirl Marks in Your Car’s Paint

Washing a car with a yellow sponge

Have you noticed swirl marks in your car’s paint? These fine scratches are often caused by wiping down your car with a dry towel when it’s dusty or using other improper washing and drying techniques. The good news is that it’s not difficult to restore your car’s finish and have your paint looking good as new. Here’s how to remove swirl marks from your car.

Wash Your Car

Before you get rid of the swirl marks, you need to make sure your car is as clean as possible. Start with the right tools for the job. A car wash kit with a sponge, wash mitt and microfiber cloths for drying will help remove dirt and prevent further damage to the finish.

Pay close attention to any bug splatter or bits of tar left behind after you wash and rinse your car. Use a specially formulated cleaner to remove these stubborn problems, and ensure your car is thoroughly cleaned before you move on to the next step.

Remove the Swirls in Your Car’s Paint

Cleaning Car

Now that your car is clean, it’s time to use a little elbow grease to remove the swirl marks. Apply a swirl remover to your car while following the product’s instructions. These compounds or polishes are specially designed to buff and polish the paint to remove any scratches.

Most of the time, swirl marks can be removed with a single application by hand, but it all depends on how deeply your car is scratched. If your car has more severe swirl marks, consider using a machine polisher to achieve the desired finish.

Apply a Coat of Wax

After spending the time to clean your car and restore the finish, apply a coat of wax to help protect the finish and keep it looking new. Wax has the added benefit of offering some protection against the sun and any dirt and grime your car encounters during your daily drive.

Avoid Swirl Marks Down the Road

The best way to avoid swirl marks from forming in the first place is to clean your car properly by regularly washing and waxing it. Never use a rough or dirty cloth, as this can cause scratches on painted surfaces. It’s important not to rub a cloth on a dry car to remove dirt, as this is a common way to create swirl marks.

While prevention is better than the cure, if you do see those telltale scratches in the finish, all it takes is a little time and the right products to bring back your paint’s shine.

Check out all the cleaning products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to remove swirl marks from your car, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Nicole Wakelin View All

Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.

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