Best Car Polish: Which one to get

vintage-cartoon or woman polishing car

Are you looking for a car polish but not sure which one to get? Then read on, as we will be reviewing a list of car polishes and analyzing why they are so good. The products range from all-in-one to compound type polishes.

Best For Removing Scratches
Meguiar's-G17216 Ultimate Compound, 16 oz
Best Hand Applied Polish
Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish - 16.9 oz.
Chemical Guys Gap_106_16 All-in-One Polish + Shine + Sealant (16 oz)
Meguiar's G19216 Ultimate Polish, 16 ounces
Nu Finish Once-A-Year Car Polish (16 oz) Bundle with Microfiber Cloth Kit (2 Items)
Product
Meguiar's Ultimate Compound
Autoglym Super Resin Polish
Chemical Brothers All-In-One Polish
Meguiar's Ultimate Polish
Nu Finish Car Polish
Best For Removing Scratches
Meguiar's-G17216 Ultimate Compound, 16 oz
Product
Meguiar's Ultimate Compound
Best Hand Applied Polish
Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish - 16.9 oz.
Product
Autoglym Super Resin Polish
Chemical Guys Gap_106_16 All-in-One Polish + Shine + Sealant (16 oz)
Product
Chemical Brothers All-In-One Polish
Meguiar's G19216 Ultimate Polish, 16 ounces
Product
Meguiar's Ultimate Polish
Nu Finish Once-A-Year Car Polish (16 oz) Bundle with Microfiber Cloth Kit (2 Items)
Product
Nu Finish Car Polish

Last update on 2022-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Reasons For Using Car Polish

It’s easy to see polish as a method that serves to improve the look of your paintwork. While it does exactly that, polishing your car also serves to help:

  • Fix paint defects – over time your car can accumulate small abrasions that will make your paintwork look dull and hazier in appearance.
  • Remove scratches – Scratches can be filled by polish during application.
  • Improve the finish of your paintwork – The abrasive action of polish helps to even out the top layer of the paint. This eliminates any imperfections that cause the light to reflect hazily. This results in a glossier finish. Following this with wax adds an extra layer of protection, making the detail job last longer.
  • Extend the life of the paint job – Stubborn dirt can sometimes only be removed by polish. By removing this dirt your paintwork will be free of contaminants.
  • Help maintain the value of your vehicle – A well-maintained car gives the prospective buyer more confidence. This starts with how the car looks.

Pros

  • Very easy to apply
  • Removal of swirl marks
  • Good size bottle
  • Can be applied with a polishing machine or by hand (although a machine will bring best results)
  • Good on clear coat

Cons

  • Although it can be applied by hand, for best results use a polishing machine
  • Recommend to apply wax afterward
  • Price

Summary

Meguiars Ultimate Compound is an abrasive polish and contains no wax, as opposed to an all-in-one style polish. This shows when it comes to how this performs on light scratches.

If you need to remove stubborn defects, then this is a good product to go to.      

Meguiars Ultimate Compound uses Super Micro Abrasive Technology (SMAT) in the product.

This means that instead of having a more granular or gritty texture which is more likely to leave a hazy finish – typical of most other polishes, this technology uses a super fine compound which results in a more clean and shiny finish.

Once followed by a wax the finish should look excellent.

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Last update on 2022-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Trusted award-winning brand
  • An excellent finish
  • Great when applied by hand
  • Works well old tired paintwork
  • Good on any paintwork
  • Excellent for beginners

Cons

  • Not so good on scratches
 

Summary

Autoglym super resin polish

A reputable brand in the world of car detailing, Autoglym products rarely fail to impress. The Autoglym Super Resin Polish is no exception. 

Recently updated formula to offer improved protection to the paint.

It is recommended to give your vehicle a complete decontamination with a shampoo, then clay bar, followed by a thorough dry before you begin applying the polish.

This polish is super easy to apply, and just as easy to buff off. The ability to remove light swirl marks and scuff is good, and the finish it leaves is excellent.

If you follow this application with the Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection, you will have a showroom ready paint job, which will last for months.

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Last update on 2022-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • All-in-one formulation providing protection
  • Good results on scratches and swirls
  • Silicone-free formulation
  • Works on all colors
  • Safe on clear coat

Cons

  • Not the easiest apply cleanly
  • Not as much beading
  • A bit pricey

Summary

Chemical Guys are a brand with science in mind, and this is evident with this polish. The formulation is silicone-free water-based and helps its durability once applied. It is body shop safe and OEM approved, so this can be used with confidence.

After application, it will protect against harsh elements like UV, bird droppings, insect debris.  The durability can last up to six months with normal washing frequency.

The Chemical Guys All-In-One Polish + Sealant is a little pricey but is worth the investment especially if you need to tackle bad scratches. According to Chemical Guys, this can remove surface abrasion equivalent to 1500 to 3200 grit sand scratches. 

It’s been reported that the thickness can sometimes make it tricky to apply. If you are using a polisher, apply three small blobs, and then spread it around before applying. But we agree that it can still cause more of a mess than some other products.

The finish it leaves is glossy and eye-catching and doesn’t leave residues on plastic and rubber trims. However, it doesn’t repel water as well as expected, which affects beading.

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Last update on 2022-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sealant vs Wax: What’s the difference?

Right, so you’ve finished polishing your car after meticulously cleaning and preparing the surface. You are now ready for the …

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Pros

  • Excellent finish on dark colors
  • Price
  • Good at removing defects

Cons

  • Not the easiest apply by hand
 

Summary

Meguiar’s G19220 Ultimate Polish

The Meguiar’s G19220 Ultimate Polish works by preparing your surface with a pre-waxing glaze. This really helps bring out some serious gloss and mirror-like reflection. This a mild abrasive formula so it works well on fine swirl marks.

This can be applied by hand or polisher, although a polisher will achieve better results. It is also advised to apply wax after application.

It is a safe formula that can be used on any paint color, glossy paint, and clear coat without issue. This product seems to excel with darker colors and can achieve one of the glossier finishes out of most of the products.

If used after Meguiar’s, Ultimate Compound, and followed up with Meguiars Ultimate Liquid Wax, you will see excellent results.

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Last update on 2022-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • OK to apply in sunlight
  • Value for money
  • Versatile
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Avoid plastic trim
  • Needs to be applied exactly instructed
  • Not for scratches

Summary

The Nu Finish Car polish is a synthetic polymer-based polish/wax that doesn’t require heavy buffing, meaning that you can be on the road quicker than other polishes. This doesn’t mean that quality is compromised however, with great results yielded in the process.

Don’t be fooled though, you will need to at least rub or wipe it at some level, but it won’t long at all. The shine is very good, and the finish is durable.

The only issue is the application needs to be exactly instructed. If you don’t get an even spread then spots can be left which will be annoying.

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It has a very low abrasive property, and as such isn’t really for treating scratches. However, it is good for improving the finish of your paintwork and providing protection for a long time – 52 weeks according to the manufacturer.

Can also be used on fiberglass boats, airplanes, motorbikes, and other metal painted objects that might need attention around the house. 

Last update on 2022-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Conclusion

The list illustrates just how many good car polishes there are on the market, and hopefully, we have given a good insight into what to consider. 

Whichever option you decide to go with, it is always important to remember to keep on top of your car detailing. This extra work upfront will reward you in the long term.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Better Wax Or Polish For Car?

The simple answer is both and in equal measure. This is because they both do completely different things.

Polish is an abrasive that you use to get rid of small scratches, swirl marks, and other small defects. Polish does this by removing the top layer of your paintwork.

This makes the depth of the scratches less pronounced in comparison to the rest of the paint. As a result, you will get a cleaner reflection, instead of the hazy reflection you get when there are more defects in your paint.

So, polish is great for removing defects from your paintwork. But it doesn’t protect very well, and this is where wax comes in.

Wax acts to leave a layer of protection on your paint. This serves to protect from contaminants like rain, dust, insects, bird droppings – anything that would otherwise risk your paintwork becoming damages again.

Wax is typically made from carnauba, which is a natural brazil wax, although there are also good synthetic versions out.

The good thing about this type of wax is that it has a very high melting point, which helps it to keep protecting your paint in hot sunny weather. It’s also waterproof, making it great to protect from rain.

While these can be used on separate occasions, it is advised to use both if you want to get the best finish. If your car has no imperfections, e.g. recently polished, then you can just apply the wax.

Do I Wax Or Polish First?

To get the best results from polishing and waxing your car, you should follow these steps:

Wash

Wash your car with car shampoo to aggravate and soften any stubborn dirt on your paintwork, then rinse thoroughly.

Decontaminate

Use a clay bar and lubricant (water in a spray bottle is usually fine) to get the hard-to-reach contaminants off your paintwork, then dry thoroughly. It’s key to not underestimate the importance of this step.

Without clay barring your car, you will not remove anywhere near enough contaminants to get an excellent finish.

You can usually tell how well the clay bar is working by lightly rubbing your finger along the paintwork and feeling for rough surfaces. The smoother the surface, the cleaner it is – thanks to the clay bar.

Polish

Apply your chosen polish into the paintwork as per the manufacturer’s instructions and buff off. A decent polish should remove small defects and swirl marks and provide a nice finish.

Most polishes yield better results when applied with a polishing machine.

Wax

Apply your favorite wax according to the instructions and buff off. The wax will provide a layer of protection, helping your hard to last at least a couple of months, depending on driving habits.

The wax also fills in any defects that the polish couldn’t remove. This will enhance the glossy finish even more.

Is Polishing Bad For Car Paint?

The short answer is – it can be. Car polish is an abrasive, which essentially cuts away a layer of clear coat in an attempt to correct defects. This works to level out the paint surface and make it look shiny again.

If your paint is depleted to the point that the clear coat is gone, then it is advised to not use abrasives such as car polish, and certainly not compounds which are there to purely cut away at the paint before treating with wax.

Also, applying polish by hand generally causes less risk to the paint then using a polisher. You should be confident that you know what you are doing before using a machine.

Can I Wax My Car Without Polishing?

Yes, you can. However, if you are doing a full detail, then by default you should wash, decontaminate and polish before waxing.

Alternatively, you may be confident that your paintwork has no defects because you recently polished it. Or you may just want to fill in a few minor scratches, in which case using wax is a quick way to improve the look of your car.

Either way, using a wax will not damage your paint without polishing – which is key. Just make sure the surface is clean beforehand.

How Often Should I Polish My Car?

You should polish your car at about twice a year in order to maintain a good paint finish. This should be done as part of a full detail, which should include washing, decontaminating, polishing, and waxing.

Other factors may depend on how often you need to polish your car. For example:

Storage

If your car is stored in a garage then the paint is less likely to be affected by elements like UV rays from the sun, water spots, dust, bird droppings, tree sap, etc.

Climate

If you live in a location that has quite hostile weather or conditions, then your paintwork will be more likely to be affected.

Driving Habits

If you go on long drives regularly, then you are more likely to encounter stone chips, abrasive dust, insects, etc, which will adversely affect your paintwork.

Does Polish Remove Scratches?

Yes, polish works by removing light scratches and swirl marks.

Compound polishes tend to be more effective at removing paint defects due to the abrasive properties. More often than not a follow-up treatment like wax or a treatment polish is required after applying compound.

All-in-one polishes tend to be less abrasive and therefore more forgiving when mistakes are made. They can also have protective properties that act as a wax would in providing good shine and protection.

Sealant vs Wax: What’s the difference?

Right, so you’ve finished polishing your car after meticulously cleaning and preparing the surface. You are now ready for the …

Read More →
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