What Is the Best Auto Polish?

by Joyce Starr

If you've purchased a new car and want to keep the paint job looking pristine, which polish should you choose? (Car polish is different from car wax, although many manufacturers confuse these terms in their marketing.) It's important to know exactly what car polish does to help decide which one is the best for you.

Misconceptions

Many people may reach for car polish when their cars are looking dirty or dull. But of you're looking for a gloss or a protective coating for your car's surface, then you need only to wax. If you're looking to remove scratches or other flaws, then you'll need to polish. A car polish is something you might only need to use once a year, not every time you'd like to add a gloss to the paint job. There is a big difference between polish and wax, and choosing the right one to use is essential to maintaining the life of your paint.

Function

Car polish is an abrasive that is used to remove scratches and other problems arising in the paint. The main purpose of car polish is to clean the paint with mild abrasives or chemicals. The polish also might have fillers in it that are designed to hide any imperfections in the paint itself. Polish will give your paint a luster, but this will wear away with time and weather conditions. There are many types of car polish on the market. It's best to read all the ingredients and what they're meant to do. Don't pick a product on price alone. You need to see if the product is designed to clean the paint or protect it. A car polish is designed to clean, while a wax is designed to protect. There are many polishes that are marketed to clean and polish at the same time. They will work, but not as well as using both products separately.

Types

Car polish comes in liquid and solid forms. Solid car polish is generally made out of carnauba wax. (Most wax and polish products are made with carnauba wax, the most natural form of wax.) Solid car polish isn't as easy to put on as liquid; it takes a little more time and expertise to apply it correctly. The advantage is that it will generally give a better shine, especially for older cars with more abused paint jobs. Liquid car polish is is made with synthetic polymers. Applying liquid car polish is a lot easier than a carnauba-based one. Some believe that synthetic polymers cling to the paint surface better than carnauba, but the difference in shine between liquid and solid polishes is actually very little.

Application

Wash your car with warm water, if possible, to remove any contaminates. It's always best to use a wash designed specifically for cars. Dish soap and other household cleaners are generally too strong and could damage the finish. Rinse and dry your car off thoroughly before starting to apply the polish. Read the instructions for the polish you're using. Some polishes must be applied with a wet or dry applicator. Never apply polish in the direct sun. Using circular motions, apply the polish to your paint. Let the polish completely dry to a white haze before removing it. Using a microfiber cloth or buffer, buff away all the white haze. Several applications of polish might be required to obtain that smooth finish you're looking for. After the polish has been properly applied and buffed, apply a wax to protect the surface. Most manufacturers suggest applying a polish once or twice a year.

Benefits

By applying a car polish to your car's finish, you will prolong the life and beauty of that paint job. Any imperfections or scratches in the paint will be filled and buffed away with the proper application.

About the Author

For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.