How Do I Restore Shine After Rubbing Compound Dulls the Finish on a Car?

by Samantha Volz
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a car in a car show image by Gary from

Proper car maintenance can extend the life of your vehicle for years, but sometimes it feels like you're fighting an uphill battle. For example, applying rubbing compound can fix scratches and oxidation in a vehicle's surface, but it usually leaves the finish looking dull or hazy. The experts at Turtle Wax advise that applying a coat of wax to your car after using such a compound can restore shine and also seal and protect your car against future damage.

Step 1

Park your car in a shady area where it is protected from direct sunlight. Intense light or heat can cause the wax to dry unevenly, causing streaks or swirls in the finish.

Step 2

Shake your bottle of non-abrasive wax thoroughly to mix all of the contents. If you use a wax that is solid instead of liquid, it will already be well mixed. Always make sure you use non-abrasive products to avoid scratching the car's surface.

Step 3

Apply a few drops of wax to a soft car sponge. Apply only enough to work on a small section of the car at a time (one door, the fender) to prevent wax buildup.

Step 4

Rub the wax onto the car's surface in a thin, even layer. Keep wax away from window trim, door seals and other black or rubber areas, as the wax can leave stains. Allow the wax to sit on the car until it forms a dull haze. This will generally take one to two minutes.

Step 5

Buff the wax across the car's surface with a clean, soft towel or terrycloth. Work in small circles across the surface to restore shine. Fold the towel every 30 seconds or so to ensure that you are using a clean section over the car's surface. You can also switch towels as necessary to make sure the towel is always clean.

Step 6

Repeat the waxing and buffing over the car's entire surface. If you accidentally get wax where you don't want it, such as window trim, clean it up immediately with a clean rag or paper towels and window cleaner.

Step 7

Allow all wax to dry before moving the car into the sunlight again. Follow specific wax product instructions regarding drying time.

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