How To Remove Clear Coat From Car [Step By Step]

Many people like cars because they are beautiful vehicles that make them feel good. But there comes a time in every car’s life when its finish starts to look dull and lifeless.

When this happens, many owners try to remove clear coat from their cars. What exactly does clearcoat mean and why would anyone want to remove it? Read on to learn more…

What is Clear Coat?

Clear coats protect from UV rays by adding an extra layer to the paint surface. They also help give the appearance of glossier surfaces while providing long-term durability. Because of its importance, most manufacturers apply clear coats at various stages of the painting process.

For example, some brands may apply it as part of their preparation phase before applying any other product (primer, base color), others may apply it after washing or waxing the car to create a protective shield between these two processes. Some even choose to apply the clear coat during the final polishing phase, right after polishing with a soft cloth.

Now we know what clear coat means, but are you wondering if you can actually remove it without damaging the paint? Read on to find out more…

When should I use it?

Most automotive finishes usually consist of three coats: primer, base color, and clear coat. This makes it much easier to identify which parts need to be protected and which do not.

If your car only has two coats, such as a clear coat, chances are you won’t have to worry too much about removing it. That said, here’s a list of reasons why you would want to remove the clear coat from your car:

  • If you have a rust spot under the clear coat.
  • If you’ve been in accidents and have damaged the bodywork. In those cases, you’ll probably want to remove it all so you can properly repair the damage.

Your paint looks faded and needs to be freshened. To refresh the paint, you must first have removed all traces of the old clear coat.

You can sand the existing clear coat with 400 grit sandpaper or use a buffer to remove the debris until it looks smooth. Once you have achieved the desired result, reapply the new clearcoat to protect the newly polished exterior.

How To Remove Clear Coat From Car

Whether you decide to go to the trouble of removing the varnish yourself or hire someone to do it for you, remember that the key to getting the best results is in the preparation. Here are four simple steps you can take to remove a clear coat from your car:

Step 1: Washing With Detergent And Water

This step involves cleaning the entire area around the car, including both sides, top, bottom, front and rear bumpers, hood, doors, etc.

Begin scrubbing with a mixture of water and detergent on a clean microfiber towel. Be sure to rinse the entire area thoroughly afterward.

Step 2: Use A Soft Bristle Brush To Remove The Clear Coat

Next, take a soft bristle brush and begin cleaning off the excess clear coat. Be careful not to scratch the paint. Remember that once you start to mar the original paint, you won’t be able to put it back on, so try to keep scratches to a minimum.

Also, avoid brushing hard, as this can cause chipping and cracking. Instead, gently scrub the area to soften the material underneath. Next, clean the entire area with a warm air dryer at a low temperature.

Step 3: Rub With An Emulsion Remover Spray Or Polishing Cream.

Once everything has dried, it’s time to start scrubbing. Take a small bottle of emulsion remover spray filled with fresh, quality cleaner and lightly spray the entire area.

Next, dip a soft cotton rag into the solution and slowly apply it to the paint to loosen it. Try to concentrate on areas where the clear coat is not completely smooth, such as door handles, wheel wells, gas cap, etc.

Work carefully towards the centerline of the car, making sure to pay attention to the corners and edges. Repeat this process until the clear coat does not stick to the painted surface.

Next, use another rag soaked in an emulsifier to remove the rest of the loose clear coat. Finish by wiping the entire area with a clean microfiber cloth.

Note: Remember to wear rubber gloves and goggles whenever possible.

Step 4: Apply Sandpaper And Wipe Off The Excess.

After completing the above steps, you will see that most of the hard work has already been done for you. All that’s left is to apply 400 grit sandpaper along the edge lines and continue to remove the freshly stripped clear coat.

Rinse it off with water and repeat the same procedure on the opposite side. Finally, wash the entire area with soap and water to make sure no chemical residue remains.

Keep in mind that while these methods seem to work well for most people, each individual case is unique, and therefore different techniques may yield better results than usual depending on factors such as the type of paint used, the condition of the clear coat, the amount of dirt accumulated on the surface and the general skill level of the person performing the task. Therefore, always consult a professional painter if necessary.

I hope this is helpful.

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.