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Of course we all want our cars to gleam and shine. But polishing is a lot of hard work, which is one thing that puts off a lot of people. Still, if we want to drive around in a vehicle that looks spanking new, we should put in more effort. This, however, does not necessarily mean that we have to break our backs or maybe burn a hole in our pockets just to enjoy riding in a glistening bit of metal. There are many ways to polish a car correctly without overly tiring ourselves or going over our budgets.

Buffing By Hand

It’s quite challenging to polish a vehicle by hand. One reason is that our hands are only capable of putting forth just a certain amount of strength. Hence, we won’t be able to exert uniform force on a car’s surface, especially if we’re not used to doing our own detailing. Since a car polish is used as a mild abrasive, it’s important to try to apply the right amount of force when polishing in order to distribute the substance more evenly and to make sure that the polish is worked in properly. If we scrub one area more aggressively than another part, one could end up shinier and the other a bit dull. Marring or scratching the surface is also possible.

How to avoid polishing problems:

– Make sure to use microfiber towels that are very gentle on a car’s paint job. There are several kinds of polishing rags or cloths, and some can scratch the surface of your vehicle. So, make sure to opt for paint safe types. Terry cloth cotton towels can also be used.

– Only polish under proper lighting, and not under direct sunlight. With proper lighting, it is easier to see which areas need to be polished more and which areas have had enough polishing. Polishing under direct sunlight is not recommended as the way the sun reflects on a car’s surface could affect vision. Plus, it is too hot to polish a vehicle under the sun.

– Polish a surface gradually. Finish sections instead of trying to polish an entire car all at once. If you finish each section carefully, it’ll be easier for you to see which sections need more scrubbing and which ones have achieved your desired results.

– Allow the polish to dry. You’ll notice that it’ll become hazy or cloudy. Then, get another cloth for polishing.

Using an Orbital Polisher

An orbital polisher, also known as a dual action polisher, spins and rotates, much like how the Earth moves around the sun; hence, the name. Most detailing enthusiasts prefer the orbital polisher over the rotary polisher because the former is more user-friendly and less dangerous. One common concern when using a rotary polisher is that when unnecessary pressure is applied or when used incorrectly, the device can easily burn up your car’s expensive paint job. The orbital polisher, on the other hand, is gentler and easier to use.

How to use:

– Prepare and check the device before using. The polisher will “jiggle” a lot, so make sure that you test it first to see if you can handle the gadget easily.

– Orbital polishers come with pads. Attach these to the device, and then wet the pad with the proper lubricant or wax. It’s important to dampen the pad first in order for the polisher to work properly.

– Turn the polisher on first before allowing it to come into contact with your car’s surface. Allow the polisher to glide on the surface. Do not ram or press it in as this could damage your auto’s paint job.

– Work in sections so that you’ll be able to keep track of your progress easily.

– Always grip the device using both hands. This helps you maintain the amount of pressure applied on a surface.


Claire Winters is a freelance writer. She often blogs about car maintenance issues for auto websites and car insurance companies, like Lincoln auto insurance.