How To Remove Clear Coat Without Damaging Paint – Ultimate Guide

Auto detailing is a lot of work and a necessary evil. It’s not easy to keep your car clean with kids, pets, and the environment. Clear coat is a tough substance to remove from the paint if it isn’t done properly. In order to avoid scratches and damage to the paint, it’s important that you know how to remove the clear coat without hurting your paint. Here are some tips for removing Clear Coat Without Damaging Paint that’ll help you get through this project with ease.

What is clear coat?

There are a couple of different terms that paint manufacturers use to describe the finish that they apply to your car. When referring to clear coat, these terms are usually all used interchangeably.

First. let’s look at the specifics of what is actually in clear coat and how it is applied:

Gross formula:

PVC, polyester, acrylic, epoxy, and fiberglass – plus other less common materials

Gross formula:

Gross formula: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyester, and acrylic (sometimes epoxy or fiberglass) that contain lead tetra, tin and zinc as part of the epoxy mixture

Second, let’s talk about how clear coat is applied:

Gross formula: The process involves creating an extremely smooth surface by mixing a light enamel base (such as Universal or NTS ) with either silicones or resins.

ALSO READ: How To Clean Painted Walls Without Damaging Paint

How To Remove Clear Coat Without Damaging Paint

There are few things worse than peeling paint because it goes against your whole purpose of getting the car to show as much of the undercoat as possible.

For most vehicles with chrome, you can just strip and sand, but most cars with body kit, like Mercedes’ have adhesive between the body and clear coat that can have very different properties, depending on the sub-layer used. Also, vehicles with very large, factory bumpers and doors can be very tricky to strip without damaging those parts.

The following video explains a process we have used with great success to remove entire clear coats without taking the paint off the bumpers and doors. It’s similar to an “intervention” we did on an E43 AMG C-Class to help make the car look and feel as it did when it was new.

Tools and materials

Clear coat removal tools

Paint stripping pad

(Quick tip: if you want to get the most out of your stripper and if you don’t plan to do any actual stripping, you can skip this step)

  • Large rubber mallet
  • Sanding block
  • File
  • Screwdriver
  • X-acto knife

How to remove clear coat with proper care

Safety first, use a protective covering if you’re using metal, glasses or metal oxide powders that will discolor your clear coat. Make sure the metal is clean and free of grease. Do not use any metal tools on your clear coat, it may scratch and affect its longevity. Dispose of your brushes, rollers and strippers after the removal procedure is completed.

There are many products available on the market that claim to remove your clear coat safely without damage.

Tips for avoiding damages

Before you start the process, don’t forget to check out our video and blog posts below.

What to do

First of all, before you apply the paint you need to take some precautions. We are also going to show you how to remove paint without damaging the surface underneath. You will need some tools and equipment, but we’ll go through it step by step:

We always recommend professional removal, but you can remove some paint yourself if you’re determined. But we can save you some time and some frustration with a few tricks you can use when removing paint without damaging the paint layer underneath.

We suggest you remove the clear coat, completely because some coatings contain chemicals that will damage the paint layer underneath, so avoid any form of destruction or harmful residues.

ALSO READ: How To Clean Airless Paint Sprayer


Clear coat is one of the most durable coatings used on automobiles today. Keeping it off is a challenge for anyone who’s not a professional.

To keep your car looking shiny and new, try these tips and techniques to remove clear coat without damaging your paint:

Clean your paint brushes between coats using the recommended equipment.

To remove spray, clean the paintbrush after each pass with brake cleaner. You can also use automotive degreaser spray.

If the paint is thick enough, apply an auto-oil/VOC remover after the clear coat has dried.

To remove clear coat without scratching paint, try one or more of these techniques:

  1. Wiping with dry rubber eraser or crumpled newspaper.
  2. Blasting using a compressed air blower.
  3. Blasting with an air gun.
  4. Air blasting using a blow torch.