Removing Scrapes from Windshield

In a previous post, I talked about what can be done to fix scratches in the windshield (or any other glass) in your vehicle. I tried several different methods to try to fix the scratches in the front windshield of my 1931 Model A Ford. So far, I have not been very successful.  I suppose there are reasons why the things I tried have not worked. At least, they have not worked to my liking. I decided to devote this article to the methods of fixing glass that I have tried so far, and what some of the problems might be.

The Tools

So far, I’ve tried using two very different tools to apply the various window polishing “formulas.”  The first tool I used was a standard power drill. This electric drill is one of my favorites.  It is both powerful and smooth. I attached a 90° gearbox to it, to make it easier to polish the glass. This made it feel more like a power buffer.

The other tool I used is a multi-tool. This is one of those oscillating tools with interchangeable heads. Many people use this tool for sanding or cutting off nails. I used the triangular sanding head that uses “hook and loop” technology to attach the sandpaper to the head. I saw someone use this tool on the Internet, and I thought it was a good idea. It certainly seemed like it would throw less of the polishing liquid around than my drill would.

I could not find a good polishing pad for my multi-tool. So, I purchased an 8-inch round buffing pad, made specifically for heavy cutting compounds. It already has the hook-and-loop backing, so I knew it would work for what I needed. I attached the head to the pad and used a sharp knife to cut a triangular shape that matched the tool head.

The Polishing Compounds


Whenever you sand something, it is always best to start by using the LEAST abrasive medium you can and then progress to more abrasive ones. I learned this the hard way. So, toothpaste is a pretty good place to start. But, it did nothing.  Toothpaste is great for cleaning plastic safety glasses and old CDs (or DVDs), but not so great on glass. I didn’t see any improvement.

Heavy Cut Compound and Pumice

The next thing I tried was a heavy cutting compound (McGuires) and some GoJo with pumice. The combination seemed promising.  Again, I applied it with the drill that had a good buffing pad and the multi-tool.  Again, nothing. This was becoming a very disappointing project. It seemed like nothing could buff out those scratches.

I should mention that the scratches are not that deep.  They will NOT catch your fingernail if you run your fingernail over the glass. This is a good test. If your fingernail catches on a scratch in the glass, it’s probably too deep to fix, and you might need to replace the glass.

Cerium Oxide

Okay, now time to bring out the big guns. Everyone online said that Cerium Oxide is what the pros use to remove scratches from glass. I believed them and bought some online. More about that in another post. The results: nothing. No change. Nada.

Final Thoughts

There could be many reasons why this is not working.  It could be that the glass in my 1931 car is old and tougher than modern glass. I could be using the wrong tools or applying the polishing compound incorrectly. So, I’m off to buy a proper buffer. I will give it one last try. I will report in my next post the conclusion of this project. So, stay tuned.



Written by Gary Pradel