How to Polish Your Car (and Why You Should)
In addition to what’s under the hood, your car’s resale or trade-in value also takes the appearance of its exterior into account. Along with washing it regularly, you should also aim to polish it once or twice a year—although because it’s abrasive (to varying degrees, depending on the cut), no more frequently than that.
So what, exactly, does polishing do to your car, and how do you get the job done at home? Here’s what to know.
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The benefits of polishing your car
Before getting started, you may be wondering whether it’s worth the time and effort it takes to polish your car. In short: Yes. That’s because polishing your car comes with benefits including:
Extending the life of your car’s paint job by getting rid of stubborn dirt that can be left behind after washing.
Helping to remove oxidized paint.
Helping condition and maintain the paintwork, preventing it from drying, cracking, or peeling.
How to polish a car by hand
While some people opt to have their vehicle professionally detailed, or have invested in their own orbital buffer, today we’re going to focus on hand-polishing.
Before selecting a polish, figure out if your car has hard or soft paint. While harder paint can handle a more abrasive polish, cars with softer paint should only be polished with a finer, less-gritty, product.
Here’s what to do:
Wash and then thoroughly dry your car.
Put a small amount of polish on either a foam applicator pad, or a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
Apply the polish in a circulation motion to one small section of your car.
When you finish that section, go over it with a new clean, dry microfiber cloth to remove any excess polish.
Repeat this process, going section-by-section, until you’ve polished the entire vehicle.
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