About Rubbing Compound

by Jonita Davis

One of the best-kept secrets among auto body professionals is rubbing compound. It is an inexpensive fix for minor scratches, a preventive measure for rust and a great way to prepare a car for a new paint job. There are several grades of rubbing compound, from fine to coarse, each used for certain types of scratches. Used correctly, it can save you time and money.


Rubbing compound is said to be a cure for scratched vehicle paint. Auto pros swear by the abilities of rubbing compound to take the scratch right out of a car's paint. Rubbing compound also helps remove oxidation from cars before it creates a hole in the body. A more common use is for removing scratches before painting.


Rubbing compound works as it is rubbed onto the car. The fine granules in the compound essentially move the paint around to become as deep as the scratch. Thus, rubbing compound should only be used for light scratches. Many body mechanics also recommend the use of a polymer before the rubbing compound. As the polymer dries, it fills the scratch in the paint. The rubbing compound then helps polish the area to resemble the surrounding paint.


One basic feature in rubbing compound is the grit. Fine-grit compounds are used for light work--in scratches that are minor and need only polishing out. Medium-to-coarse-grit rubbing compound is used for more severe scratching, removing oxidation and removing clear coat and paint from a vehicle. Rubbing compound of any grit can be used by hand, applied to a rag in a gentle circular motion. Another application is using a sander. Apply the rubbing compound to the sanding pads and buff.


Repainting a car takes a lot of time and money that many car owners cannot and will not want to spend. It is also counteractive for small, minor scratching. Rubbing compound is a scratch remover in a can, repairing the damage without the hassle of a full paint job. In addition, the compound removes oxidation that would otherwise rust out the body of the vehicle.


Rubbing compound is a wax-like substance that feels grainy, depending on the grit. More coarse grit feels more granular than fine grit, which feels more wax-like. It is usually packaged in a shallow jar and is produced by the companies that make auto wax.

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