If you want to achieve a serious deep mirror finish on your black paint you’ll need to polish it. A black car will benefit hugely from the finishing polishing stage of detailing. It’s even possible to make your car shine better than it did in the showroom. But there are a number of things you need to know to achieve success.
A polish is a liquid that is designed to smoothen down the top layer of your car’s paint or clearcoat. It contains extremely fine particles that “cut” the paint. The cut is very light so it would be very difficult to cut too much paint. The main job of polish is to create gloss.
Do you see what looks like cobwebs on your car when you shine a bright light on it or use the reflection of the sun? These cobwebs are the dreaded swirl marks. And you can get rid of these by polishing. You don’t need to be a professional detailer to do this. In fact it’s probably cheaper and a hell of a lot more fun if you do it yourself.
What’s the best Finishing Polish for Black Cars?
Meguiars Ultimate Polish is the best all round polish for most of us. It’s something you wont regret buying because, even when applied by hand, it will give you fantastic results. Meguiars recommend you follow up with some wax to add protection and even more shine.
Ultimate Polish is perfect for hand application too.
If you have a polishing machine or you are a pro detailer you should look at Sonax Perfect Finish as this is a pure polish. Its probably the highest rated polish on the market right now.
If your car is relatively new or has been cared for properly it’s possible all you need is the polishing and waxing stage.
But it depends on your needs. If you have really oxidized or scratched paint you should use something like Meguiars Ultimate Compound with a DA polisher and cutting pad. You could then follow up with Meguiars Ultimate Polish to deepen the shine. And then you would need to wax it with a Meguiars wax. This is called a three-step paint correction and it’s time consuming but absolutely worth it if you want the perfect mirror shine.
I think all-in-one products are underrated. The Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Range can give you incredible results with one pass.
Do I need to buy a polishing machine?
You can polish by hand especially if you are using a glaze or an all-in-one product. But if you are using a dedicated polish like Sonax Perfect Finish you should definitely use a polishing machine. I recommend a dual action (DA) polisher if you are a beginner. A rotary polishing machine can be faster but you can damage paint as they generate more heat and can cut too fast.
This Avid Power Polisher on Amazon is cheap and has fantastic reviews. Its perfect for almost everyone.
What polish do professional detailers use?
Professionals like to use the multi step approach. They also don’t mind taping up plastic and rubber trim to protect it from the polishing oils which can stain. They use finishing polishes like Sonax Perfect Finish. Many pro detailers are fans of Meguiars products and M205 Ultra Finishing Polish is hugely popular and has been for many years.
What’s the difference between polish and wax?
Some people actually mean wax when they say polish. Polish is slightly abrasive and adds gloss, wax offers protection and will add even more gloss. Wax won’t last very long and can be washed off. The gloss you get from polish will last a long time if you wash your car yourself by hand using one of the safe washing methods. Water will bead on your car after waxing it. And a waxed car is easier to wash.
Another importing point is that wax should usually be allowed time to cure on the paint. Polish should be removed directly after application. There is no benefit to allowing polish to dry in the same way. In fact it could be hard to remove dried in polish.
How long does polish last?
True polish doesn’t leave anything behind unless you are talking about the shine on your paint. So the answer is it depends on how you wash your car and how you protect it. If you take it to an automatic car wash it won’t last very long. But wash it by hand and it will look good for much longer. I generally polsih my car a few times a year.
A polish with glaze in can remove swirls and also fill in scratches slightly. The glaze will last for a few months in most cases. Again it depends on washing methods.
What’s the difference between polish and sealant?
Sealant is a synthetic chemical that protects paint and adds some gloss. It lasts longer than wax and many waxes are actually sealants which adds to the confusion. It’s a good idea to apply sealant after you polish your car as it can reduce the amount of scratches you get from washing.
What’s the difference between polish and compound?
Polish has less cutting power than compound and is for adding shine.
Compound is good for older cars with bad swirls and scratches. Paint can look a little hazy after using compound. So following up with a polish will get rid of the haze and reveal the shine of your dreams.
You would usually spend a lot more time compounding then polishing. Polishing can be a very quick process and uses less product.
When a polish is not a polish.
The market has become a little confusing as manufacturers have brought out products that they call polish but don’t actually correct paint. These are more like glaze or filler products. They fill in scratches but I must admit, some of them do an amazing job.
An example of one of these is Meguiars Ultimate Polish. You can apply it by hand and it will do a great job of boosting gloss because it slightly fills in light swirls. But apply it with a machine and a polishing pad and it will also cut away swirls and give even better results. Megs Ultimate Polish does not add any protection so you should follow up with a wax.
All in one products are really good too.
I’m a huge fan of Turtle Wax 53341 Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Polish & Wax. It’s an all on one when means it’s the only thing you need to buy as it includes wax. When it’s applied with a polishing machine it will give fantastic results but maybe not as perfect as a multi stage detail.
When can polish be applied?
You can polish after you have used compound or whenever you want to remove light swirls and restore gloss. If you have a relatively new car that has been washed properly by hand you can give the shine a major boost by using a polish.
If the car has been taken through a car wash for years then you should probably compound first and then polish.
if you are planning on applying a ceramic coating you should definitely polish first.
The polishing pad you use is important too.
The pad you use on your polishing machine will help you get the perfect shine. Some pads have more cutting power than other pads. A polishing pad has a low amount of cutting power. A finishing pad has almost no cutting power and is really only for those of you who are obsessed with getting the ultimate shine. The white pad from Chemical Guys is a great pad for use with Meguiaurs Ultimate Polish. If you have slightly heavier paint swirls you could use the orange pad which will cut more than the white but it will also give you great shine.
This Chemical Guys Guide to Polishing Pads.
How to get ready for polishing.
You should get your car as clean as possible first. Wash using the three-bucket method or some other safe method.
If the surface of your car isn’t completely free of contamination you could actually scratch it. This is because bits of tar or other bonded dirt could break off and get stuck in your pad and scratch your paint pretty badly.
The solution is the good old clay bar. A clay bar when used with a clay luber will make your paint safe for polishing. Please read my easy clay bar guide if you need help.
What are the different types of car polish?
Dedicated Polish. Example : Sonax Perfect Finish
Compound. Example : Meguiars Ultimate Compound
All in one. Example : Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Polish & Wax
Glaze. Example : Meguiars Ultimate Polish
Why are black cars different?
Any paint that doesn’t have any metallic flake going through it can have a much deeper shine. This includes black and red and a few other solid colors. White cars don’t benefit from this kind of special treatment in the same way.
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