When can I polish my new paint?

You can polish it at any time but you don’t want to apply any kind of wax or sealant for 3 mths. The paint takes that long to fully cure and you don’t want anything sealing the outer skin of the paint until it’s fully cured.

I’m confused, polish, glaze, wax, sealant, ceramic, what do I need?

Well, it’s very complicated but basically there are three types of products.

1. Polishes or compounds, these are abrasives and remove the top surface of the paint. They’re for removal of scratches and oxidisation. They come in different grades from coarse to ultra-fine. Use with care!

2. Glazes. These are a coating that sits on top of the paint and fills scratches and swirl marks. They can be a good option as they increase gloss without removing paint. However, they are just covering up issues and they don’t last all that long.

3. Waxes or sealant. These put a protective coat on top of the paint. They are not a polish and they do not remove paint imperfections. You can use carnauba wax, synthetic sealant or ceramic protection. They all have different qualities and it comes down to your personal preferences as to the look you want, the time you’re prepared to spend applying and maintaining it and your budget.

​Oh, and there are also hybrids, that claim to do several of these things at once… Stick to dedicated products.

What kind of polisher should I use?

The days of polishing your car by hand are pretty much gone. Modern paints and products need to be worked by machine for best results. Glazes and waxes can be successfully applied by hand but polishing a whole car by hand will make you miserable!

I recommend that you use a dual action or DA polisher. These are much safer than a rotary machine. The rotary is very fast and aggressive and you can get yourself in a whole lot of trouble very quickly! A DA machine is a much better choice. Plenty of polishing ability with less risk.

I use Rupes machines but at nearly $1000 each (and I have 4 of them for different jobs…) they’re probably a bit of overkill for weekend use. You can buy very good machines for hobby use around the $400 mark or your favourite cheap auto store usually have adequate machines for around $100. As with everything you get what you pay for.

What type and brands of pads and products should I use?

There are thousands of pads available, have fun choosing! Stick to foam, it’ll do all you need, lambswool is too aggressive and not needed on a DA machine. You’ll need 2 medium or coarse ones, 2 soft ones and maybe 1 for applying wax.

As for the products, I use and sell Mothers products. They have a great range of microfibre cloths and washing products in addition to their liquids, polishes etc. They’re excellent products, they give great results and I’m able to sell them for very good prices. There are lots of brands out there if you want to experiment. The days of the good old turtle wax are probably over though…