The clear coat on my car's finish is getting kind of tired, dull and scratchy.

Is there any way to recondition and renew it?

I assume I will need to polish the existing clear coat somehow and then apply additional new clear coat with an air brush or something like that. What is the procedure?

  • Is the clear coat painted over a solid or metal flake color? Are we talking factory clear coat? What car, how old is the paint job? Parked in street in Las Vegas or garaged daily? My guess is if it looks tired, dull and scratchy, your clear coat is already gone.
    – zipzit
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


Clearcoat that is dull can be polished back to a nice shine in most cases. A polish of the correct grit and type is needed. This one works well for us, others are available.


A "dual Action" polisher is the easiest tool to use. Polishing can be done by hand with much time and effort. A single action rotary buffer tool can be used but needs an experienced hand to avoid damaging the paint.


First clean the whole vehicle to remove all contaminates. High pressure water is used to clear all grit from crevices. Then as an optional step would be to use a clay bar to remove stuck on contaminates. paint contaminates Clay bar kit

Follow the instructions for the chosen polish; usually this involves polishing one small area at a time. Clean off all the dried polish. As long as the paint is intact this is all that will be needed. Applying new clearcoat by itself is not a common repair.

  • My brand of choice is 3M "Finesse-It", but either will do. You can buy a small container (~$20) from most retail auto parts chains and test the results by hand work on a small area, which will allow you to judge the results before you invest in a dual-action polisher. But as Fred says a thorough washing beforehand is mandatory to prevent additional damage.
    – SteveRacer
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 2:52
  • I'd mention clay bar as an additional prep step
    – Zaid
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 7:37
  • @Zaid I stand corrected and added a clay bar section to this answer. Thanks. Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 19:30

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