How to Remove Clear Coat from Car in 13 Easy Steps

“This car looks stunning!” We all desire to hear that. Your personality can be known from the way your car looks. A car’s exterior is its beauty. A vehicle that is perfectly painted is what I mean by saying a stunning car.

Your vehicle may be the most expensive. But, if the car paint is below standard, the car will appear nasty. A substance called a clear coat is what car producers use to keep the car paint new and safe. The paint is the major part of your vehicle’s exterior.

How to Remove Clear Coat from Car

How to Remove Clear Coat from Car

There are different types of clear coat, just as there are different types of paint. The type of clear coat your car has determines whether it will be an easy or a hard task to remove it. It is easy to take out some clear coats, while others are stubborn.

Examine the layer clearly to establish what type it is. This guide explains how to take out a stubborn clear coat.

Before start the removal steps you need to know: what is clear-coat really is?

You cannot start removing what you do not know. That is why you need to know what a clear coat is. The coat is a transparent paint sheet whose primary work is to ensure the colored vehicle paint is protected and lasts long. This layer is what makes a car look shiny when it is cleaned.

After some time, it is common to see the fading of the clear coat. Moreover, because the transparent layer protects the car paint, it is your work to ensure the varnish sheet is protected. When you realize the clear coat is disappearing, the greatest gift you can give your car is to completely take out the clear coat.

It is not a simple task to take out a clear coat from your car. If you use something aggressive, you may end up removing the real paint. However, you do not need to take the vehicle to a dealer to help you remove the clear coat. Anyone can easily do this following several steps that this article tackles.

Do not do this in a hurry. Before you start removing clear coat from your car, it is good you know what you are supposed to do and what you should not. First, you need to be precise and concentrate on taking out only the clear paint. Remember, you can hurt the real color if you buff it heavily. The process may take time, but do not rush, keep calm, and be patient.

The second thing is to be extra keen when it comes to solvents. Some people take out clear coats using solutions. This is not advisable, and most experts do not encourage beginners to use solvents.

Thinking you will use solvents for the first few minutes will not be good either. On the other hand, if the solution stays for a longer time, it can damage your car’s paint. Experts understand solvents well, and they know when it is rinsing time.

Required tools you will need and their use purposes are:

Like all other tasks, you will need specific tools to do this job. Below is the list of items required. Ensure you have them. It is essential always to have a tool kit for your car. Ensure the tools you buy are of high quality as this ensures they last long and do a perfect job.

Each equipment is worth buying because not only will they help you take out the car’s clear coat but also other vehicle exterior processes.

Clear-Coat Extractor

This is a compound used for buffing and is a necessity when taking out a clear coat from your car. It contains hard elements. Therefore, be careful when handling it as it can harm the real paint instead of removing the clear skin only.

Buffing Materials

These materials comprise of wool in totality. The materials are crucial in working on the buffing compound because the wool can hold so much content as you desire. Unlike towels, these materials do not budge and are very effective in removing materials.

Protective Gear

You need to protect yourself when taking out a clear coat from your vehicle. You do not want the dust from the clear coat to enter your eyes, and you do not want your head to get dirty (that is why you need goggles and a helmet). Gloves will protect your hands from elements of the buffing compound.

A Finisher

You need a polisher of high quality for this task. It will ensure the finishing is efficient and durable. You can also use these finishers once a week to maintain your car. 

An Electronic Polisher

You want to use less energy as possible. This electronic polisher will do the work fast, saving you strength. If you do the polishing manually, you will use a lot of energy.

Light Grade Lubricant

A lubricant of light grade is essential. This lubricant clears harmful elements from the car’s exterior and improves the shine. An excellent quality lubricant will ensure that the vehicle’s preparation and cleaning are exceptional because it is an essential step in removing clear coat.

Clay bar

A clay bar is an extraordinary substance when used on vehicle surface processes. All car exterior procedures require waxing. To get long-lasting results, make sure you buy a high-quality clay.

Approximately 1300 Grit Sandpaper

In the removal of a clear coat, you cannot eliminate sanding. You need to purchase good quality sandpaper for this process. Luckily, sandpaper is cheap, and you can get excellent quality anywhere in the market, and it does a superb buffing job. A 1300 grit sandpaper is big enough to complete the job.

A Piece of Cloth

Clean cloth material is of great importance. Foam or wool pad can be of great use too.

Equipment for Washing the Car

Equipment for washing the car refers to all items you commonly use when cleaning your vehicle. These are:

  • Soap for washing cars
  • Microfiber towels
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
How to Remove Clear Coat from Car

13 Steps for Clear-Coat Removal

Step 1: Select Place of Work

You cannot begin removing clear coat from any location. A well-ventilated garage is an excellent location to do the removal process. If you do not have a garage, choose a site with sufficient breathing space, which is well lit. The area should not be dusty to ensure you are not breathing dust all the way, which is not suitable for your well being.

Step 2: Ensure the Location is Clean

Some people work from locations which are looking disgusting. If you want to take out a clear coat from your car so you can shine it again for that fantastic look, you cannot work in a dirty environment. Therefore, ensure the environment around you is clean and is not full of stuff for adequate air circulation.

Step 3: Clean the Particular Coat Area

You may not be intending to remove all the clear coat. So, if you want to remove the clear skin from a particular area, clean it first. The cleaning process is just the usual way of cleaning your car. Mix soap (car wash soap) with water in a basin then rub the spot using a sponge. You may notice some coat peeling or bad coat flaking. This is common. But, do not use anything to pull or peel the flakes. Allow the flakes to come off by themselves.

Step 4: Rinse and Ensure the Area is Dry

You have washed the area with water and soap, and it’s time to rinse. You can use a hose. Ensure the area is entirely flushed then use the microfiber towels to dry it.

Step 5: Apply the Clay Bar

Make sure you purchase a light grade clay bar because it softens quickly. Shape this clay bar while squeezing until it becomes softer. Put in gloves in case you do not wish to work barehanded.

On the spot, you have already cleaned, apply the clay bar lubricant uniformly. If necessary, use the clay bar a second time and ensure it is appropriately done. Slowly spread the bar sideways over the spot. If you notice the bar is becoming dirty or dark, reshape the clay and redo the procedure.

Read another post on The 10 Best Chrome Spray Paint.

Step 6: Rinse and Dry the Spot

Once you have repeated the above process, wash the spot the same way you wash your car, rinse, and dry it. Make sure you do a thorough cleaning. 

Step 7: Time to use sandpaper

The task requires some muscles now. You already have your sandpaper ready for work. Cut the sandpaper to small pieces. Mix vehicle washing soap with water in a bucket. Dip the sandpaper in and ensure it is submerged. Allow it to sit for fifteen minutes.

Step 8: Wet Sanding

Remove the sandpaper from the mixture of water and vehicle washing soap. Dip in some more sandpaper in the mix to use later. Note that you should not sand the spot randomly because this will result in uneven and ugly sanding. It is advisable to sand in circles. Ensure the sanding covers the whole place.

In this process, ensure the entire sandpaper is pressed against the surface of the car. With the sandpaper on your hands, apply uniform pressure on the whole surface (where you are removing clear coat). A sponge can be of great use if using sandpaper is hard.

Cover the sponge with the sandpaper then use it to rub.

After a few minutes of rubbing, the sandpaper should be thoroughly wet. If that is not the case, take another sandpaper from the mixture of water and soap and use it. The result of rubbing should be a smooth surface, ready for additional dressing.

Step 9: Dry the Car

When you are done sanding the car, get a hose, and rinse it. Once you are done, leave the vehicle in an open place to dry. In case the rinsing water turns milky and thick, stop because it may damage your vehicle.

Step 10: Time to Use Grit Paper

When the car has dried, you need to clear out any coarse appearance or bumps by applying fine grit.

Step 11: Polish Buffing

With an electronic polisher, you will complete the task quickly. In this step, ensure the electronic polisher is set at approximately 1300 revolutions per minute (RPM). After setting the machine, buff the area you have been sanding.

In this process, ensure you properly follow cyclic movements evenly spreading the polish.

Step 12: Compound Buffing

This is the second last step. Here you will use the wool pad. Buff the entire region using the buffing substance. 

When carelessly used, the buffing substance can damage the paint, so you need to be careful. Moreover, to ensure its concentration is safe to use, first use it on a spare material.

The car has no scratches by now. All the same, get a softer substance and buff the car with the finisher. Smoothen the polish with the electronic polisher set at higher revolutions per minute (RPM).

Step 13: Use a Detailer

For a clean and shiny looking car, you need to use a detailer. Car waxing is vital because it gives a smoother tone.

Read more: How Long Can You Drive with Bad Struts?


You should never leave transparent coat flakes or peeling unattended because if that happens, you may lose the car paint, which would mean spending more to repaint the car.

Permanent and more significant problems are a result of smaller issues that were not taken into consideration. If a clear coat has deep scratches, it may cause more significant issues. Therefore, ensure you remove them the moment you notice them.

Always examine your car to know when the coat is peeling off. A car is one is the most expensive stuff in your compound and needs to be appropriately maintained.

With this guide, you can do the job for yourself at home. You do not need to hire someone to remove the clear coat for you or take the car to your dealer.

Excellent transparent coat removal requires you to use high-end products. Therefore, take your time to make sure you buy quality polishing and buffing products.

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