We try 3M’s Precision Scratch Kit

You know the old saying, “That’ll buff out.” It’s usually found in the comment section, said in jest when talking about caved in body panels or the smoldering shell of a crispy Italian exotic. Well the idiom can return to its roots of honest paint repair thanks to an easy, do-it-yourself kit found at most automotive parts shops and big-box retailers. It’s the Trizact Precision Scratch Kit from 3M.

It involves a three-step process that uses a household power drill and water to remove light scratches and paint imperfections. It’s designed to be simple enough to use for everyday people with little to no experience of paint repair.

Like most folks, my daily driver’s paint has seen better days. Small scuffs and scratches can be found on several body panels, making my 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer look like, well, a 12-year-old SUV. So you can imagine my excitement when 3M reached out about trying the new Trizact kit. I gladly let them send me a few samples. Here’s my experience using 3M’s newest system.

Continue reading for the full 3M Trizact review.

3M Trizact Kit Proves Stuff Does Buff Out
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3M Trizact Kit Proves Stuff Does Buff Out
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3M Trizact Kit Proves Stuff Does Buff Out
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Top Left, Bottom: Multiple angles of the scratch on the passenger side door. Top Right: One of four scratches on the hood.
My Trailblazer doesn’t see much action these days, thanks to a regular flow of test vehicles parked in the driveway. Nevertheless, the years of active duty show like battle scars on its paint. The nastiest two include a long scratch down the passenger side door where the rivet of a BMW owner’s trendy jeans left its mark. The second is four scratches on the hood from when my beautiful and loving wife placed a box fan on the hood to dry a rug hanging in the garage. (Sorry, honey) Neither of the scratches are major, but are the type that eats away at the soul of a prideful owner of a future collectible.

The Unboxing

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Under the slanted top of the 3M Trizact box lies six items, plus the full-color instructions.

  • Trizact Scratch Pad Square
  • Disc pad adapter for a household drill
  • Purple Compounding Pad
  • Black Polishing Pad
  • 3M Rubbing Compound
  • 3M Scratch Remover

You will need a couple items not included in the box.

  • Household drill
  • Squirt bottle with water
  • Good lighting

Getting Started

To be honest, this was a bit daunting to me. The thought of swirling my paint or somehow causing more damage made me rather nervous. I probably watched this video five times. As per the video’s instructions, which also matched up with the printed instructions inside the box, I cleaned the area with water and a microfiber cloth. This removes the typical dust, dirt, and mud that cling to an unwashed car.

It’s important to note, the 3M Trizact kit only works on scratches and scuffs that don’t cut into the vehicle’s base coat. If your fingernail catches the scratch, it might be too deep to buff out. With all that done, it was time to begin.

Sanding

3M Trizact Kit Proves Stuff Does Buff Out
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Yep, you’re actually sanding the finish. Scary, right? It works out in the end, I promise. Take the 2x2-inch grey sanding pad and wet it. Also wet the area around the scratch. Then rub the scratch with light to medium pressure for roughly 10 seconds. Wipe the area clean with a microfiber cloth to check the progress. If the scratch is still visible, wet the area again and keep sanding. Don’t worry, the finish loses its brightness and looks terrible at this stage. The rubbing compound and scratch remover stages take care of this. As you can see in the photo below, the scratch is completely gone, as is the shine.

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Rubbing Compound

3M Trizact Kit Proves Stuff Does Buff Out
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Now’s the time to break out the drill. Included in the box is drill bit disc with a Velcro-like material that clings onto the purple and black pads. Grab the purple pad first, along with the black packet of rubbing compound. After you’ve attached the disc to the drill, squirt a dime-sized blob of compound onto the purple disc. I found that lightly smearing the compound onto the paint before powering up the drill helps prevent wasted compound.

I used a medium speed and applied a light to medium pressure with the drill. Run the drill around the scratch in different patterns to prevent odd lines in the paint. After about 10 seconds, wipe the area clean with the microfiber cloth. At this point, the finish should look nearly perfect with its shine completely restored. It’s incredible the effect the rubbing compound has.

3M Trizact Kit Proves Stuff Does Buff Out
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Scratch Remover Compound

3M Trizact Kit Proves Stuff Does Buff Out
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The scratch might be gone and the paint might look perfect, but the scratch remover compound helps finalize the process. In the same method used for the rubbing compound, attach the black disc to the drill and squirt on a dime-sized blob. Dab the coated disc around the area before turning the drill on. With a medium speed and a light to medium pressure, work over the area, being careful to use different patterns. 10 seconds should be enough. Now just wipe the area clean.

At this point, the job is done! The finish should look factory fresh. If not, the scratch might have been too deep to begin with. Like I said before, the 3M Trizact kit is only designed to remove light scratches and scrapes, not gashes down to bear metal. You might want to consult a professional body shop for further help.

Clean Up

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Cleanup is super simple. You’ll probably want to wash your car, mostly because you’re now inspired to make the rest of its paint look new. Secondly, clean up the Trizact kit for future use. 3M supplies more than enough rubbing and scratch removable compound, so you can probably save the remainder by placing the black packs in a plastic sandwich bag. Wash out the purple and black pads to keep them new. Just store everything back in the box for safe keeping.

Conclusion

Honestly, the system works great. The directions are simple and the online resources help, too. It can be daunting to start sanding away at your paint, but with a careful hand and a mind for the instructions, it’s hard to make a mistake. The only negative issue I experienced isn’t even a problem. The sanded and buffed area on my hood is now free of nasty oxidation, making it sparkle in contrast to the untreated area of the hood. But that’s what you get with a 12-year-old paint job that’s never seen more than a wash and wax job. Newer cars won’t have this issue. And, since the passenger door was free of oxidation to begin with, the scratch repair blends in perfectly. Even the closest inspection wouldn’t reveal the work. Call me impressed.

<h3?Press Release

3M AUTO INTRODUCES 3M™ TRIZACT™ PRECISION SCRATCH KIT, REVOLUTIONARY ABRASIVE TECHNOLOGY FOR A MORE CONSISTENT FINISH

Easy-to-Use Breakthrough Technology, Available in Drill Format, Provides Safe, Long-Lasting Results For Scratch and Scuff Removal

ST. PAUL, Minn. (April 27, 2016) – Scratches on your vehicle’s paint are not only unsightly, but they can also result in expensive touch-up services. To help drivers resolve this issue effectively and affordably, 3M Auto today introduced its new Trizact™ Precision Scratch Kit with new restorative abrasive technology that ensures quality results with less time and effort.

Exclusive Trizact™ abrasives technology, developed by Minnesota based 3M™ Company, offers a simple do-it-yourself solution for experienced and novice restoration customers alike. Utilizing the power of microreplication, Trizact’s unique pyramid-shaped structures contain multiple layers of abrasive minerals that produce easier and finer results for scratched and scuffed surfaces, without the fear of inaccuracy.

“Our goal was to offer both new and seasoned car maintenance customers an easy-to-use solution that combines cutting-edge technology with DIY practicality,” said Darcy Backman, Global Marketing Manager at 3M Auto. “Trizact is truly revolutionary as it won’t damage the base paint, eliminating the apprehension some drivers feel about attempting to fix a scratch or scuff on their own.”

This exclusive technology is featured in the 3M™ Trizact™ Precision Scratch Kit, which is designed to remove scuffs and scratches from a vehicle’s painted surfaces. Combined with drill-activated restoration, the solution provides easier and faster results. The complete kit includes a: 3M™ Trizact™ Scratch Pad, Orange Compounding Pad, Black Polishing Pad, Drill/Pad Adapter, 3M™ Rubbing Compound and 3M™ Scratch Remover. Superior results are achieved in three simple steps: (1) effectively remove scratches and scuffs in clear coat using the Trizact™ Scratch Pad, (2) refine and buff the surface using the 3M™ Rubbing Compound, (3) achieve a like-new finish with 3M™ Scratch Remover.

The 3M™ Trizact™ Precision Scratch Kit is available at Walmart retailers nationwide.

About 3M
At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $30 billion in sales, our 90,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to the world’s problems at www.3M.com or on Twitter @3M or @3MNewsroom.

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