The difference between car wax and car polish




DeAnn Owens

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orbital pad polishing the exterior of a car
Photo: The News Wheel

If you hope to revive the appearance of your car’s exterior, you can use car wax or polish. Both are essential to the preservation and appearance of your car, but they give slightly different results.


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Protect with car wax

If you want to improve the appearance of your car’s exterior paint and provide a layer of protection, take car wax. According to Family Handyman writer Robert Maxwell, car wax protection can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Of course, you will need to choose a high quality product and apply it correctly. Whether you choose a liquid, synthetic, natural, or paste automotive wax, he says you’ll apply it the same way.

“Rub it on the vehicle in a thin layer, let it dry, then buff off the excess. Polishing can be done by hand or with a power pad, ”he explains.

Shine with car polish

If you are more concerned with reviving the dull look of your car’s exterior paint, you will appreciate the effects of car polish. According to Maxwell, the slightly abrasive liquid compound can restore the marks and scratches that develop over time on your car.

“Best applied by an electric polisher (also called an orbital pad), car polish comes in a bottle designed to dispense over the foam application pad of polishers,” he explains. “Then it is gently massaged over the car’s paintwork, smoothing out imperfections and restoring the factory shine.”

While each product provides beneficial results on its own, they help your car reach its full beauty potential when properly used together as part of your car detailing routine, notes Maxwell.

“A polish job won’t look great for long if it’s not protected by wax, and the wax won’t bring out nearly the same shine if applied over unpolished car paint,” warns -he.


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Protecting your car’s exterior paint and making it shine like new will not only make it look great, but will also help increase your car’s resale value.


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