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Polishing Your Car

Once you have washed and cleaned your car, You can move onto the final stage-polishing. This is certainly the most confusing and the most threatening to your purse or wallet.

Polishes come in a massive variety of brands and prices- ranging from a few dollars a bottle to several thousand dollars*.

So what type of polish is best for you?

Consumer have recently undertaken a widesread survey of different types and brands of car polish. Of the types tested they conclude:

  • Premium car waxes don’t necessarily hold up better than lower priced alternatives.
  • Most polishes don’t last as long as clamed on their packaging showing signs of deterioration in just a few weeks.
  • Pastes performed no better than liquids.
  • Spray on/ wipe off products generally perform less well than liquids or waxes
  • Even regular waxing only performs marginal appearance improvements with new cars, as paint finishes today are so good. Regular washing is still the most important step in protecting your car’s finish.
  • A coat of wax does, however, give an added layer of protection against tree sap, bird droppings and other contaminents.
  • Virtually all polishes would need to be re-administered within three months.

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Firstly ensure that the paint surface is ultra smooth. If not then it probably needs Claying

You then have to choose whether to wax by hand or machine. Electric orbital polishers all now much more user friendly on both the owner and the car, but still have to be used with care. Your Auto Supermarket will offer full dedicated polishers, or attachments that you can use with a cordless drill. There are also special polishes that are made for power polishing, Apply the wax directly to the applicator, not on the paint.

Be careful not to get the wax on the plastic trim, as it can stain and be difficult to remove. Now let it dry and gently buff it using a microfibre or cotton pad- and keep it clean.

The same rules are pretty much same if you are applying by hand. Don’t use too much wax, it will take longer to dry, is harder to remove and gives less lustre. Two light polishes are better than one heavy one. But do it correctly and one is enough.

Try to wax under shade rather than sunlight, though synthetic waxes can be used in direct sunlight providing it’s not too hot. Polishes that use Carnauba (made from the leaves of a Brazillian carnauba palm) should not be applied under direct sunlight. If you drop either the applicator pad or the polishing cloth then discard them immediately. They may come back to life after a thorough wash, but will damage your car with grit if you don’t discard them.

So a good polish with a soft towel will complete the job-almost. Be careful to remove all the dried wax that accumulates around the trim, emblems and badges with a small soft brush.

A good polish will last through several car washes, but almost certainly will lose its full protective effect within two to three months.

* One brand, Zymol, manufactures a wide range of premium car preparations and polishes. Their products are widely used on the concours circuit and their top of the range polish costs a cool $15,000 US.( Though it does include free replenishing of the container for life!)