How To Polish The Car?

how to polish car

Have you ever heard term “polished car“? Do you know what exactly does it mean? Could you describe some of the steps involved in polishing process?

I have mentioned polishing before (how to paint car), so today I decided to fill this gap and write some advices on this topic. I will go as deep as I can and will try to write everything I know. It is not that easy as it looks. You will find out why it does cost so much money and I hope after reading this some of you will be able to do it yourself. It is not the same thing as polishing your shoes.

What is Car Polishing?

The professionals will tell you about two types of polishing for:

  • Reconstruction
  • Protection

Reconstruction Polish

This type of polishing makes use of abrasive paste. After fine abrasive work on clear coat you will get rid of a thin layer of the top clear coat. I assume that after some time the coat has been exposed to all the external environmental conditions the coat has lost its first look. It surely has some scratches. As a result of polishing you’ll get glaze, fresh new and beautiful look of your car.

Protection Polish

Usually done after reconstruction polish. It has to be applied right away on renewed clear coated surface. This applies not only for clear coat but for enamel coats too. Apart from great gloss this polish will protect the body of your car from any further acidifying and corrosion processes. Unfortunately this protection is not for life. It has to be repeated at least once in two months.

Polishing Technique

First thing, as in any preparation, is cleaning. Wash the car to lose all dirt, dust and any grains. Then wipe it dry. With new clean wipe and white spirit get rid of all the rest dirt that could not be washed with water.

If you want to get perfect result check how to clean the car before polishing with abrasive clay bars.

This is all about preparation. Now start the polishing. I can promise that if you follow this process exactly you will get almost ideal result with high gloss (called wet gloss). The car will look better than before.

When you are selling your car give it a polish, sometimes it can raise the value of the car up to 15%

What do you need for polishing?

The essential tool is Polisher and of course special foam bonnets. Set of polishing pastes and a little of persistence and diligence. If you work with two hands you will manage to accomplish that in one day. Too much? How much would it cost in the shop? Don’t worry, the result that you’re going to get will be stunning and worth every minute.

I use polishing paste from 3M. Rough abrasive sate 74, fine abrasive paste 75 and protection paste 76. They sell in 1Kg tubes. These are professional pastes and one tube is enough for 3 up to 7 cars. You can use any paste you prefer but it has to be at least 3 (with rough abrasive, fine abrasive and non-abrasive).

Polishing – Step 1

We start with rough paste #74. Squeeze it directly from the tube onto part you’re going to polish. Don’t squeeze too much, 10-20 grams is fine (a tea spoon) because the area you’re going to deal with right now is only 40×40 cm, otherwise the paste is going to dry before you use it.

Put polishing foam (for rough polishing usually of light-orange color) on polisher and without turning it on spread the paste on the surface. Then turn it on and rub the paste evenly onto surface with polisher set to lowest possible speed. The polisher should be moved crosswise (first horizontal and then vertical). The area of 40×40 cm should be done this way at least twice. Then turn the speed up and go over twice again. After you’ve done this small part wipe it with napkin or any soft and dry cloth. Do this for every smaller part until you do the whole body of the car.

Polishing – Step 2

When you’re done go with paste #75. Here you need to repeat all we done above.

Polishing foam should be washed in warm water after every three polished parts. When washed, dry it on the polisher turned on maximum speed.

Polishing – Step 3

After you’re finished with #75 move to #76. This part here is the easiest. Replace rough foam on the polisher with fine polishing foam (usually light-gray and very soft).

Take clean and soft cloth and squeeze some of the paste on it and rub it on the polishing element in circles. Here take your time and try to rub it very well. After few minutes of drying the paste becomes white. Turn the polisher on the average speed (fourth speed level in my case) and start polishing. Do that until you finish the whole car.

This is actually practically finished car but let’s give it something more.

Polishing – Step 4 – Protection

I think you got that here we’re going to give it a protection polish. All the work here is identical with “step #3”. What paste to use? Well here it depends on your taste. The possibilities are limitless. You can find so many protection polishes on the market from one with Teflon up to Carnauba wax that it is very difficult for me to recommend any to you.

Most important thing is to apply protection polish at least once a month. Then your car body will be always protected and beautiful.


Now your car should look better than new. Believe me this is the proper process for polishing car. Do not skip any step otherwise the final result won’t be that impressive.

Cheers.