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If you own a car, you want to take good care of it. You should wax and wash it periodically to keep the shine from fading. A top-notch protectant is crucial and can help you enhance and retain the car’s luster. Remember that your mean machine has to deal with various contaminants regularly. Therefore, to keep it in top shape, you must know how to polish a car.

That’s because polishing and buffing the correct way serves to hide, or even resolve, several cosmetic issues like etching, oxidation, or the tiny scratches your car might sustain. Knowledge of the different types of buffing pads should ideally forerun the question “How to polish a car?”

However, remember that a few damages, no matter how small they may seem, could be beyond repair. So let us know the right technique to polishing a car.

How To Polish A Car?

Before you start polishing your car, it is advisable to select a small test spot. Or, you may use any other old vehicle or discarded scrap metal. Begin with a light polishing compound; switch to a more potent one only if you don’t see results. Once you’re satisfied by what you observe on the test spot, start working on the entire car.

Steps to Polishing a Car

Step #1

Begin by hand-washing your car (like waterless car wash) in a shaded area. Remember, wheeling can be messy – so make sure you’re covering other items that you don’t want to get dirty. Use lighter polishing compounds and softer pads on cars with a darker shade, considering they can be particularly sensitive to swirl marks. If the car is of a lighter shade, you can choose the more aggressive compounds.

Step #2

Place a clean and a slightly damp pad on the rotating polishing wheel, and apply a little compound on one of the body panels. Using the wheel, spread the polish on the panel at a gentle pace. The idea is to make sure the spinning pad is parallel to the surface; it will help to avoid swirl marks.

While polishing the panel, apply constant pressure and continue working back and forth. Scratches and other blemishes will begin to dissipate once the coat starts to heat up and the pain gets warm to the touch.

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Once done, move to the next panel and repeat the exercise.

Tip: Keep the area wet, and apply an adequate amount of polish on each panel.

Step #3

If necessary, wash the foam pad (with a power washer or a hose), and rinse it dry to prevent the build-up of the compound.

Tip: The pad’s outer edge moves quicker, thereby generating more friction as compared to the centre of the pad. Also, the outer part typically carries lesser polish. Therefore, be extra careful while working on the car’s more sensitive and intricate areas like the mirrors, bumper contours, and emblems – parts that warrant polishing only with the pad’s outer edge.

Step #4

When finished, rewash the car, and dry it thoroughly. Don’t forget to rinse areas like the trunk, hood jambs, and the doors.

Step #5

You can apply a layer of wax on the paint as it will help to hide all swirl marks and other imperfections. Apply a mix of paste wax and finishing polish (preferably in a 60:40 ratio) on a foam pad, and mount it on a random orbital sander.

Use a moderate speed and back-and-forth motions to apply the wax properly on the car. Make sure the pressure is light but constant. The idea is to leave just the right amount of waxy haze so that it becomes visible upon drying.

Step #6

Leave the wax to dry, and clean the car’s other areas like the windows and interiors. Then, use a microfiber towel to remove the wax. Please don’t use a rag or regular towel to do it, for it may damage the surface. Apply a small amount of paint as a touch-up on any scratch that may remain.

Car Polish Two

What Is ‘Wheeling’?

Before we tell you how to polish a car like a pro, there’s something you must know.

Wheeling is the process of polishing your car with a rotating wheel, just like they would do it a car detailer store. The process works by heating the paint’s clear coat temporarily until it changes into a viscous liquid that hides the blemishes. To prevent damages, limit this technique to once a year, but make sure you are waxing the car every two months.


Points To Keep In Mind While Polishing Car

  • Never go for dry buffing
  • For optimal results, use a polishing compound
  • You must allow time for the polish to dry completely
  • Work the polish slowly, and move the rotator wheel back and forth
  • Never rush with the polisher. Polishing a car is a time-consuming process. With quick motions, you might not get the desired results.
  • Keep the pressure gentle but constant. You don’t want to put a lot of pressure, for that can damage the exterior coat of paint.
  • Ask the experts about the best wax or polisher that would fit your car best. You can call on experts in automotive detailing or other detailing manufacturers.
  • If you see moderate or severe damages – swirl marks, scratches and abrasions – you should use a foam pad along with a swirl remover.
  • If you notice light to moderate oxidation, regular swirl marks, and etching, you should use a foam pad and a finishing glaze.
  • In this case, you need to use a high-quality foam pad and a pre-wax polish enhancer.
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Can you polish a car by hands?

Yes, you can. But remember that hand polishing can be an effective way to get rid of minor swirl marks and scratches. However, for more stubborn paint defects, you will require machine polishing.

Will polishing damage car paint?

Car polish works gently not to damage the paint. Also, polishing using a microfiber applicator should not burn your car paint. However, remember to keep the pressure gentle and constant.

Should I wax or polish my car?

Ideally, car polishing should precede waxing, considering it serves to restore the lustre that the paint may have lost due to oxidation. Car polishing works in a gentle way to remove only a fine layer of the car’s paint, minimizing the appearance of stains and scratches as they settle into the coat.

Will polishing my car remove all the scratches?

Well, yes and no. If the scratches are minor, you can rub them out with the help of a polishing compound. You can remember an easy rule for this. If your fingernail doesn’t catch the scratch, chances are it is only a superficial coat scratch that can be taken care of by polishing.

What is the difference between buffing and polishing a car?

Technically, polishing is a process that uses an abrasive material glued to the rotator wheel. Buffing, on the other hand, uses a lighter abrasive. The fundamental difference is that while polishing is a more aggressive way, buffing is relatively smooth that leads to a brighter, smoother finish.

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