Scratched CDs: An Easy & Cheap Way To Repair Them


In this tutorial I will show you how to repair scratched CDs that are giving you errors such as Mismatching CRCs, Read Errors, Sync Errors and Suspicious Positions. If you do it properly, your scratched CDs should then give you perfect rips with matching CRCs. Even badly scratched CDs can be repaired, as long as the reflective layer (label side) is not damaged.

Before you do it on an original CD, I suggest you practice on an old (badly) scratched CD-R first.
Whatever you do, do NOT buy the cd repair kits. They’re too expensive and pretty bad at doing what they’re supposed to do. When you’re done repairing, you’ll see light scratches on the CD. Don’t worry, they are way too small to affect playback or ripping in any way. If you want to get rid of them for aesthetic reasons, you can use finer grain sandpaper.

For this tutorial I used a cd my girlfriend brought from work and wanted me ro repair: This Is Tom Jones by Tom Jones. It’s actually a boxset where the 3 cds were extremely scratched; they would skip like crazy when played in the cd player and were impossible to rip. After repairing them, all 3 cds (74 songs) are ripping perfectly with all CRCs matching.
I’ve used EAC V0.99 prebeta 4 on a TOSHIBA ODD-DVD SD-R6372 drive. Rip in Secure mode, proper Read Offset Correction, Test & Copy. High error recovery quality.

What you need
- 1 scratched CD
- 3 to 10 minutes
- A bottle of Meguiar’s PlastX (clear plastic cleaner & polish).
- Emery paper: 1500 or 2000 Grit. I use the 3M Wetordry Automotive Sandpaper.
- A piece of cloth. I use an old scarf. You can use an old t-shirt, sock, towel..
- A piece of paper towel.
- Warm water

You can find the emery paper and the PlastX bottle at your local auto supply store. I bought my stuff at Canadian Tire and paid 10.49$ for the 296ml PlastX bottle and 2.99$ for five 3.66 inches by 9 inches sheets of emery paper. With that, you’ll have enough to fix over a hundred CDs.

First, cut a small piece of emery paper, 1 inch by 1 inch will do, and you will be able to do a few CDs with that.

Soak it in warm water, and put a little bit of water on the cd with your finger.

Start sanding the cd in the motion shown below. This is for a badly scratched cd, you don’t have to do the whole cd if there are only a few scratches. Just do it where the scratches are.

Put a little bit of pressure when you’re sanding. When you think you’re done and scratches are gone, keep sanding but don’t put any pressure to get rid of the (small) scratches you may have done. I use the 1500 grit for sanding with pressure, and the 2000 grit without pressure to finish off.

Rinse the CD with warm water and dry it out with a paper towel.

Now, put a few drops of PlastX on the cd and polish it with a small piece of cloth until the PlastX gets absorbed by the cloth. To polish the whole surface, I put about 6 drops wich is more than enough.

Rinse the CD with warm water and dry it out with a paper towel.

Now the shiny surface of your CD should be shiny again. Look really close to see if there are any scratches left. If there are, you didn’t sand enough; repeat sanding and polishing.

Your CD should now rip properly.

The picture below shows a scratched CD before and after being repaired. I used rough sandpaper to scratch it, and then repaired it. The pictures show the SAME CD and the EXACT SAME AREA on the CD. I didn’t switch CDs, photoshop it, or anything.


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