What is Car Polish?

Many users wonder what the difference between car polish vs wax is. Basically, car polish is a product applied to car paint before using the wax coat. It allows removing dirt, grease and blemished that cannot be cleaned away during washing. This is an abrasive product that can slightly diminish the depth of a gap by taking off paint. Polish is produced in the form of liquids, solvents, sprays, and creams. In comparison with the wax, it doesn’t protect car surface. Polish is applied on a cloth or a pad and is rubbed in with circular movements. Both car polish and wax are equally important for keeping car paint safe and fresh: the products for polishing come first, then wax is applied as a touch-up measure.

Types of Car Polishes

Car polishes can differ by their form:

  • liquids;
  • solvents;
  • pens;
  • creams;
  • sprays.

Besides, they have a different degree of abrasiveness.

Compare the Best Car Polish Solutions

Item/Characteristics

 

 

Volume

Depth of scratches removed

Surfaces treated

Abrasiveness

What comes in the kit

Type of polish

Additional items required

Mothers 05101 Mag & Aluminum Polish

BUY NOW AMAZON 10 oz 1-3 mm Aluminum, brass, alloys, car paint Low Compound only

Paste

A cloth

HD Speed All In One Polish/Wax

BUY NOW AMAZON 16 oz 1-2 mm Metal, plastic, paint, glass Low Paste only

Paste

A pad

Nu Finish Liquid Car Polish

BUY NOW AMAZON 16 oz 1-3 mm Almost any (metal, alloys, chrome, glass, fiberglass, granite, plastic, paint). Medium Liquid only Liquid A damp cloth + wax

Meguiars G19216 Ultimate Polish

BUY NOW AMAZON 16 oz

1-4 mm

Car paint

Medium

Compound only Liquid A pad + wax

Turtle Wax T-284 Premium Grade Chrome & Metal Polish

BUY NOW AMAZON 11 oz 1-3 mm All metal surfaces Low Paste only Paste A pad

CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant

BUY NOW AMAZON 18 oz 1-4 mm All surfaces

Medium

Spray + cloth Spray No

Chemical Guys GAP_106_16 All-In-One Polish + Shine + Sealant

   BUY NOW AMAZON 16 oz 1-4 mm Mostly car paint

Medium

Paste only Paste

A cloth or a pad

Griot’s Garage 11145 Paint Cleaning Clay Kit

  BUY NOW AMAZON  35 + 8 oz 1-2 mm Car paint + metal parts No Spray + clay Spray + clay A cloth or a pad

Blackfire Pro Detailers Choice BF-300 Paint Protection

  BUY NOW AMAZON  32 oz 1-2 mm Car paint  No Compound only Compound A cloth or a pad

Pinnacle Natural Brilliance PIN-370 Crystal Mist Detail Spray

  BUY NOW AMAZON  16 oz 1-2 mm Car paint No Spray only Spray A cloth or a pad

How to Choose the Best Car Polish?

There are a few important aspects to consider when buying the best car polish for black cars and other colors of car paint.

Ease of Use

If you’re a new proud car owner, you don’t need multi-step finishing products – the car paint isn’t damaged yet. Buy a wax polisher spray and use it a few times a year. More advanced and experienced car owners can opt for protection and cleaning kits. The more products are included, the more steps and time are required to perform finishing.
Sprays are easier in use than paste – mind that when you’re on your shopping spree.

Your Location

Depending on where you live, you may have different climate and temperature. While traditional wax polishers would work well in moderate temperature, too cold or too hot environment can turn the wax film into blurry stains. Ask manufacturer what is the tolerable temperature range for the product.

Main Aspects

Other crucial factors are:

  • Type of polisher (spray, compound, clue, wax, stick);
  • Color of car paint (compatibility);
  • Depth of scratches treated.

Value For Money

As a rule, kits are cheaper than separate product. The question is whether you need one. A polishing spray with wax is enough to ensure unbeatable protection against discoloring and damage. This is the most cost-efficient option. However, if you approach car paint finishing professionally, you can buy several products, such as cleaner, paste, polish, and wax.

How Did We Choose and Test Car Polish?

In order to find the best car polish and wax, we picked up the most top-rated products in online stores and read numerous car polish reviews. The products were applied to blemished car paint in order to evaluate their safety and the final results.

Top-10 Car Polish Variants

This list offers ten best car polish products that will be suitable for vehicles of different models and age.

Mothers Polish paste for car paint.

Mothers 05101 Mag & Aluminum Polish – 10 oz.

Review:

This is a good car polish that’s suitable for aluminum car parts and wheels, alloys, accessories, and brass. The polish is easily applied with the help of a cloth, and can be used manually or with a household drill. The compound is slightly abrasive, which makes it suitable for use on a regular basis, and yet it’s strong enough to add shine to old car paint and oxidized metal surfaces.

Our opinion:

This product can be used on metal surfaces only, so additional solutions are required for car paint. This polish will not remove deep scratches.

PROS

  • can be applied to car paint, as well as accessories, wheels, handles, etc.;
  • easy to use.

CONS

  • Mothers car polish has a low degree of abrasiveness, so it will be useless for deep scratches.
HD Speed Polish and protector.

HD Speed All In One Polish/Wax

Review:

HD speed offers a professional car polish and wax for both cleaning and protecting car surface. Its proprietary formula allows removing minor blemishes on car surface and filling in small gaps. The product can be applied to car paint, glass, plastic, and metal and leaves a very glossy surface. According to reviews, the durability of the layer is about 4-5 weeks, and this product is suitable for regular use.

Our opinion:

HD Speed should rather be used as an all-in-one product: it won’t correct car paint considerably, and it’s better to apply some wax protectant additionally.

PROS

  • can be applied to many different materials and surfaces;
  • cheap;
  • works well during any weather and under direct sun rays.

CONS

  • this liquid glass car polish doesn’t contain wax, which means a user needs additional products to protect car paint.
Nu Finish liquid for polishing and scratch removal.

Nu Finish Liquid Car Polish

Review:

According to numerous Nu Finish car polish reviews, this is one of the most efficient products for getting rid of minor scratches and blemishes. Its formula includes zinc cross-linking polymer emulsions and doesn’t contain wax, the compound serves to remove dust and particles of dirt, as well as add glance to car paint. Using is pretty simple: a few drops of liquid are applied on a wet cloth, and the surface of car exterior is wiped (there’s no need to rub or buff it). Nu Finish car polish ensures the protection of car paint in any weather and can be used for different types of vehicles (motorcycles, boats, lawn mowers and recreational machines). Good news: it can also be applied to fiberglass surfaces and chrome. The product protects against oxidizing, road tar, salt spray, dust, and tree sap.  

Our opinion:

Very efficient and versatile, Nu Finish can be highly recommended for any car driver. There’s only one drawback: a wax polisher should be used afterward.

PROS

  • can be applied to many different materials and surfaces;
  • cheap;
  • works well during any weather and under direct sun rays.

CONS

  • this liquid glass car polish doesn’t contain wax, which means a user needs additional products to protect car paint.
Meguiar’s ultimate polish liquid.

Meguiars G19216 Ultimate Polish, 16 oz

Review:

Meguiar’s car polish is considered to be the best car polish for black cars and other dark-colored vehicles. This product is used to add a pre-waxing shine and eliminate moderately deep scratches and swirl marks to create deep reflections and a brand-new look. Its proprietary formula contains special conditioning oils that make the color more intense and allow achieving maximum gloss. Although Meguire car polish has abrasive particles, it’s pretty safe for the clear coat, and can be used by hands or with a polisher. To achieve better results, a user should take several steps: wash, clay, polish, and wax.

Our opinion:

This polish can only be used on dark-colored cars, and finishing with it requires a lot of time. Not the best solution out there due to the lack of versatility.

PROS

  • adds much shine and allows getting excellent results;
  • protects car paint;
  • non-expensive.

CONS

  • should better be used during warm weather or inside a garage;
  • cannot be applied to all surfaces (car paint only);
  • makes more difference on dark-colored cars only.
Turtle Wax – a product for metal polishing.

Turtle Wax T-284 Premium Grade Chrome & Metal Polish – 11 oz.

Review:

If you need a product for different kinds of metal, pay attention to Turtle Wax’s polish: it can be applied to chrome, aluminum, and other surfaces to return their original shine and gloss. There’s no need to rub car paint and accessories with elbow-grease: the product can be used by hand, or with a rotary or a household drill. It safely eliminates minor scratches and scuffs and prevents oxidation. Mild polishing agents allow removing small imperfections without any harm to wheels and accessories.

Our opinion:

Turtle Wax is a versatile product for treating metal surfaces, but it cannot be used for car paint. This is rather an additional solution that will add up to the cost of finishing.

PROS

  • can be applied to any metal surfaces;
  • restores shine very efficiently.

CONS

  • created rather for car accessories than car paint;
  • doesn’t provide much protection during hot weather.
CarGuys hybrid wax for polishing and protection.

CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant

Review:

What is the best car polish with the long-lasting effect? Of course, it’s the product from CarGuys: this special wax sealant guarantees great protection against scratches and blemishes and adds deep gloss and shine. Instead of traditional carnauba wax, this spray contains a fully synthetic polymer sealant – a more advanced component that lasts much longer. Thanks to the special formula, the spray can be applied literally on every surface, be that metal, car paint, plastic, glass, and rubber. It doesn’t leave streaks or residues. Reaching ultimate gloss has never been so easy.

Our opinion:

A very efficient spray, but it’s quite expensive.

PROS

  • ensures the long-lasting protection of any surface;
  • can be applied to both car paint and accessories;
  • convenient and fast in use;
  • works well with all colors of car paint.

CONS

  • relatively expensive.
All-in-one polishing solution from Car Guys.

Chemical Guys GAP_106_16 All-In-One Polish + Shine + Sealant

Review:

Users in search of 3 mm car polish should pay attention to the product offered by Chemical Guys: this all-in-one solution is suitable for polishing, sealing, and adding glance to car paint. A special acrylic formula without silicone allows removing even serious scuffs and protecting car from scratches in one step. The paste produces three effects: it gently removes oxidized stains, eliminates scratches and scuffs, and provides shine of paint. Besides, it seals scratches to protect clear coat and deeper layers from further damage. Its effects last for up to half a year!

Our opinion:

Since the formula doesn’t contain silicone, this top car polish can be used on recently painted vehicles and doesn’t require time for drying. A perfect solution for fast finishing.

PROS

  • removes deep scratches (1500-3200 grit) and scuffs;
  • a versatile solution;
  • applied by hand or with a rotary machine;
  • can be used with any paint color.

CONS

  • expensive.
Griot's Garage 11145 Paint Cleaning Clay Kit

Griot’s Garage 11145 Paint Cleaning Clay Kit

Review:

Need something to prepare the car paint for finishing? Then Griot’s Garage solution is exactly what you need! It protects the paint against damage and prepares it for polishing and waxing. The liquid solution removes dirt and stains efficiently, while the paint cleaning clay reduces oxidation. Please, note that this kit does not polish surface – it only cleans it and prepares for further processing.

Our opinion:

This top car polish does its job, but you can find a cheaper alternative to it and cleanse car surface with a usual cleaner.

PROS

  • protects paint and metal against oxidation;
  • removes stains efficiently.

CONS

  • expensive;
  • polishing and waxing should be done afterward with other products.
Blackfire Pro Detailers Choice BF-300 Paint Protection

Blackfire Pro Detailers Choice BF-300 Paint Protection

Review:

If you want your car to remind of a magazine photo, you should try this premium paint sealant. It is made of high-quality German and Swiss polymers that protect the car paint and makes up for brilliant gloss. The main secret of this product is that it creates the illusion of wet paint – your car will look like it’s just been washed. Blackfire protects the car paint against UV and infrared radiation, and can be used on any car paint color. The product is called “paint sealant”, which means it does not eliminate scratches but fills them in.

Our opinion:

This products can be used instead of a wax polisher after abrasive solutions. It’s the best car polish and wax, but the most expensive option so far.

PROS

  • Makes car surface look brand-new.
  • Suitable for all car paint colors.

CONS

  • Very expensive.
  • Doesn’t remove scratches.
Pinnacle Natural Brilliance PIN-370 Crystal Mist Detail Spray

Pinnacle Natural Brilliance PIN-370 Crystal Mist Detail Spray

Review:

How to polish a car without extra efforts? Easy in use, efficient, economic – all that applies to the solution from Pinnacle Natural Brilliance. The spray contains Carnauba wax, crystalline polymers, and oils to make car paint shiny and sleek. The solution fills in the gaps and improves paint texture. It can be applied manually – the process of polishing doesn’t take much time with this product.

Our opinion:

A decent alternative to wax pastes. The spray can be used on any car paint color, and protects the car surface against damage.

PROS

  • Good contents (polymers + wax).
  • Not expensive.

CONS

  • It does not eliminate scratches, but fills them in instead.

5 Interesting Facts

car polish: before and after.

  1. In 95% of cases, problems with car paint can be eliminated with the help of a very fine polish. Harsh polish should be the last resort.
  2. If a car looks clean and shiny, it doesn’t mean there are no dirt and scratches. A closer inspection and touching are required to define the state of car paint.
  3. The polishing effect is reached thanks to the combination of chemical particles that remove dirt, and a gentle polish that helps to restore shine and gloss.
  4. It’s a myth that car polishes destroy car paint. In fact, everything depends on how a person uses it: apply too much, or too harsh polish, and the surface will be spoilt.
  5. Despite the common misbelief that T-shirts and bath towels are ideal for polishing, special microfiber cloths don’t contain polyester fibers and are safer for car paint.

How to Polish a Car Correctly?

Some feedbacks claim that this or that polish appeared to be totally useless and left a total mess. In fact, this product should be used correctly to reach the desired effect – failing to follow simple instructions and guidelines leads to unsatisfactory results. Here are some pro tips for users.

How Often to Polish Car?

It depends on two things:

  • How quickly the car’s paint is being deteriorated?
  • How long do the polish and wax last?

Ideally, polishing should be done once in 3-6 months, but not more often, since the polish is an abrasive product that removes clear coat easily.

Before Polishing

Prior to polishing, the car should be washed properly. It’s a myth that dishwashing detergents are ideal for washing: they contain agents that remove all grease and dirt but may also harm the clear coat and protective layer. Therefore, car paint should be washed with special car shampoos.

How to Polish a Car?

There are two basic ways this can be done: a driver can hand polish car, or use a rotary machine or a household drill. The first method is more time-consuming, but at the same time is perfect, when minor scratches and blemishes should be removed. This way, a user makes sure he won’t remove the extra clear coat.

If a rotary machine is being used, first, it can be switched on a moderate speed. After a minute or two, a user should switch to a lower speed. It’s important to clean car surface so that not to damage all layers of car paint.

The products for polishing are typically applied to a wet cloth or a pad and are rubbed into car paint surface. Please, note that it’s always better to use special microfiber clothes for polishing – usual bath towels and old T-shirts contain polymer fibers that can slightly damage the clear coat. The residues of polish and dirt are removed with a paper towel, and it’s crucial to wipe until paper towels become totally clean.

After Polishing

If usual polish without sealing effect is used, it doesn’t ensure protection against further damage to car paint. Therefore, a user should apply car wax. It will seal the existing scratches and gaps and add more glance to car surface. As we can see in the reviews above, modern sealants may contain synthetic analogs of wax to ensure the long-lasting protection of car paint. This final step is crucial because it helps to prolong the lifetime of clear coat and the car generally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Is The Difference Between Polishing And Waxing A Car?

A: Car polish contains abrasive particles that even the surface and eliminate scratches. It is used to deal with surface imperfections and make it smoother. Waxing works in a different way: wax fills in the scratches and other minor gaps and forms a thin film on the car surface. It protects paint against damage and makes it shinier.

Q: Do You Wax or Polish Your Car First?

A: First, the car is polished: at this stage, you eliminate particles of first and reduce scratches and other imperfections. As soon as car paint is clean and polished, wax can be applied.

Q: Can Polish Get Rid of Scratches?

A: It depends on the product. Most car polish products contain abrasive particles and can be used to eliminate scratches. The higher abrasiveness is, the deeper are the scratches eliminated.

Q: How Do I Make My Car Shine?

A: Some car polish brands make the products specifically for added shine and gloss. To make the car surface look like mirror, you should get rid of scratches and stains first. Then a polish is applied on the clean surface. Waxing is the last step: it fills in the scratches and makes car paint look like new.

Q: How To Polish A Car With an Orbital Buffer?

A: As soon as the device is ready for use, apply a bit polish on the brush. Switch the orbital buffer on, and start wiping the car paint with it. Don’t press too much – don’t squeeze the brush, you just need to make sure that it contacts the car paint without spoiling it by strong rubbing.

Q: How To Polish A Black Car?

A: Some users complain about stains leaving after polishing. To avoid that, apply a few drops of the polish on a cloth first. Don’t spray the polish right on the surface – it will dry up faster than you process the car paint.

Q: What Happens If I Don’t Apply Wax After Car Polish?

A: Car paint will deteriorate faster: since polish makes the car paint thinner, the surface can get spoilt without protection. Besides, without wax, the car can be less shiny. Both car polish and wax are equally important for car paint.

Our Recommendations

Before buying this or that car polish, it’s important to make sure that it will be suitable for your car model and its accessories. Read attentively, on which surfaces a product can be used, and for how long it lasts. There’s no point in using highly abrasive polishes for new cars because they can quickly destroy the clear coat.

After examining seven top-rated car polishes we’ve come to the conclusion that CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant is the most optimal product with great price/quality ratio: it’s versatile, simple in use, and lasts longer. Alternatively, you can try HD Speed All In One Polish – a one-in-all solution for a reasonable price around $15. Typically, a good car polish costs $10-15. However, if you’re ready to pay for a perfect look of your car, try Blackfire Pro Detailers Choice – it’s expensive, but does its work well. Don’t forget to read reviews to figure out whether this product will be suitable for your car, and keep in mind that following user guidelines is more important than it seems!

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