Is It Better to Wax or Polish a Car?

A vehicle is more than a means of getting from point A to point B; it’s an investment. Treating it as such, an owner should do what it takes to preserve his car’s look and condition.

Blazing Auto recommends car waxes and polishes should come into play as regularly as possible to accomplish this goal. These products’ applications should also work in tandem with manufacturer maintenance to ensure long-term care success.

That said, one might ask if it is better to use wax or polish on their ride for a particular cleaning session. Let’s give you the lowdown on this often-argued-about topic.

To Wax or To Polish?

The problem lies when one doesn’t know there’s a difference. Waxing and polishing aren’t necessarily the same activity. While both may contribute to a vehicle’s shine and head-turning quality, each has its individual purpose more often than not.

That said, polishes that have “wax” qualities and waxes with “polishing” traits are also available. So, we understand where the confusion could be coming from. In general, the real score between this battle is better explained below.

Car Polishing 101

Minimizing scratches on your car’s paint job is typically assigned to a car polish. The same goes for issues with oxidation, water spots, swirl marks, and other minor blemishes that could take away from your car’s appearance.

Car polishes work by removing an extremely thin layer of paint, which hides any minor coat damage by blending the surface with the paint job. These can be acquired in a range of abrasiveness, which is how the products possess their scratch-removing qualities.

That said, don’t let the word “abrasiveness” mislead you. In this case, “abrasive” still applies smoothly to your ride, so the blemishes are concealed without further damage to the paint job. Then again, non-abrasive polishes are also available for simply achieving shine.

Some polishes are best applied using a car polisher. These are typically the ones in a container designed to dispense onto the device’s application pad. The polish is then massaged gently onto the vehicle’s surface to remove minor imperfections and restore that factory sheen.

Car Waxing 101

To complement polishing, car waxing is often done. The task is performed best after a thorough washing and polishing session to get the vehicle’s exterior up to snuff. That said, waxing may be done independent of both these activities, as well.

Unlike polishing, waxing doesn’t involve the removal of any part of your ride’s paint job. Instead, it fills scratches and blemishes with a protective layer, smoothing the damaged surface over the coating. In a nutshell, wax fills and protects, while polish removes and shines.

Car wax comes in liquid and firm paste varieties and in natural and synthetic forms. Most kinds are applied in the same way. You rub a thin layer of the product onto a car, let it dry, then buff the excess. You can use a power buffer for this, or you can buff by hand.

A good-quality wax should both protect and add extra shine to your vehicle. Its result should also last longer than most waxes, so it is recommended you acquire a high-quality wax for your ride.

Carnauba in Car Wax

Most car wax products contain carnauba, the main ingredient responsible for smoothing. Also known as Brazilian wax, carnauba holds a number of essential traits that make it effective in the waxing process. Some of these properties include but are not limited to:

  • Water resistance

Water does not wash away carnauba. Instead, it sticks firmly to your vehicle’s surface even in inclement weather. Polish doesn’t necessarily possess this quality.

  • Withstands high heat and ultraviolet rays

With a melting point of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, carnauba should still be able to hold strong even on the hottest days of the year.

  • Provides gloss and shine

Like sealants and solvents, carnauba also has the ability to deliver a beautiful finish.

One thing to know about waxing is that you shouldn’t do it more than four times a year. Instead, doing it between two to four times a year should be enough to achieve the desired result.

So, When Should You Polish and When Should You Wax?

Waxing’s “smoothing” abilities and polishing’s “removing” qualities make for a perfect exterior-transforming tandem. When performed correctly, the duo should contribute to making your ride look fantastic. While these tasks can be performed independently of the other, we recommend polishing before waxing should you decide to do them together.

All these considered, the “battle” between polishing and waxing shouldn’t even exist. These products shouldn’t be pitted against one another, as they mostly function for a different purpose.

In most cases, they should be working in tandem to accomplish a goal that the other isn’t able to. Boost your car’s exterior condition and overall performance by incorporating both these products into your cleaning sessions accordingly.

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