What’s the difference between Meguiars Ultimate Compound and Meguiars Ultimate Polish?


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Meguairs Ultimate Compound and Meguiars Ultimate Polish are two hugely popular products in the world of car detailing.  Both are fantastic products and I’ve tested both of them many times.

They are both designed for use at a retail level which basically means that anyone can use them.  They are also used by professional detailers.  

I will go through the differences between to two products and give you some advice from my experiences of using them.

Meguars Ultimate Compound is designed for removing swirls, scratches, and oxidization from your car paint.  Meguiars Ultimate Polish is designed for enhancing the shine on your car before you wax it.

  • Get Meguiars Ultimate Compound when you have an older car with faded or oxidized paint.  Its heavy cutting ability will reduce the appearance of heavy swirls, scratches, and water spots.  You could then follow up with Meguiars Ultimate Polish to boost the gloss even further.
  • Get Meguiars Ultimate Polish when your paint is already in pretty good condition and you want to remove fine swirls and get the best shine possible from the wax you are about to apply.

Short Guide to Meguiars Ultimate Compound.

What is it?  Meguiars Ultimate Compound is a polishing compound.  It’s an abrasive product designed to smoothen down the surface of your paint and make it look better.  

It’s used as part of the paint correction stage in car detailing.  Compound is more aggressive than polish at cleaning your paint and removing scratches.

It’s a pure compound and does not contain any wax, sealant, or fillers. 

What does it do?  Meguairs Ultimate Compound will reduce scratches, swirls, and water spots on your paint.  It can also remove oxidization which makes your paint look faded and cloudy. 

The abrasiveness of the product will remove a microscopic layer of your clear coat.  This will make it look much better.

How often can it be used? Only use it once or twice a year as it is an abrasive product.

Short Guide to Meguiars Ultimate Polish.

What is it?  Meguiars Ultimate Polish is a light polish that also contains glaze.  It’s a light abrasive product designed to restore shine to faded paint.  

Meguiars call it a “Pre-Waxing Glaze”.  Glaze is an ingredient designed to fill in some scratches and improve the appearance of paint.  I like to use it when I want to quickly boost the shine before I apply wax.  

So Ultimate Polish is not a pure polish as it also contains a filler or glaze.

What does it do?  Ultimate Polish is a much lighter abrasive than ultimate compound.  So it cant remove scratches but it can deliver more shine. 

It’s much more effective than just waxing alone.  Especially on a car that has not been machine polished or professionally detailed recently.

How often can it be used?  It can be used as often as needed as the abrasives are very light.

Do I Need to Buy Both Products?

No, you don’t need to buy both products together.  But they do work well together if you choose to use them.  Use Ultimate Compound first to clean and restore your paint.  You Ultimate Polish to add gloss and improve the appearance of your paint.

If you have an older car with really faded paint you could use both products to get the best possible results.  If you have a relatively new car or a car that has recently been professionally detailed or polished, you can get by with just using Ultimate Polish.

Which One Do I Use First?

Use Meguiars Ultimate Compound before you use Meguiars Ultimate Polish.

Polish will give a better shine than compound.  So if you use the Polish first you will not get the best shine possible.

You can wax your car after applying these products to add shine and protection.  A waxed car is easier to wash because the dirt doesn’t stick to it so much.  

Do I Need to Use a Polishing Machine?

You don’t need to use a machine but it will be faster and can give better results.

But both of these products are very effective when applied by hand too.  So you can try to use them by hand first and if you want better results you can think about getting a polishing machine.

How to prepare your car for Ultimate Compound or Ultimate Polish

  • Your car should be fully washed first using a safe method like the two-bucket method
  • As much dirt as possible should be removed from your paint as this dirt could scratch your paint when you start using Ultimate Compound.
  • If your paint feels rough to the touch you can make it super smooth using a clay bar or clay mitt.  I like to use a clay bar to remove bonded contamination.  This will help you get much better results.  
  • If you have tar spots on your car you can remove those with a Tar Remover.
  • Many cars have bonded iron deposits on their car.  These spots can rust over time and damage paint.  They can be dissolved using an Iron Remover.  Doing this before compounding and polishing is a perfect time.

Meguiars Ultimate Compound Usage Tips

  • Apply Ultimate Compound using a microfibre applicator.  Use circular motions and try to keep it away from plastic trim as it can stain it.  Use a few small drops of the product and work it well into the paint.
  • It’s easier to work on a small section of a panel at a time. Doing a large section such as the hood in one go could be too difficult to get even coverage.
  • Spend extra time on particular bad areas of your paint.  You don’t need to worry about damaging your paint when applying it by hand.
  • Use plenty of pressure to get the abrasive to work.  You should use more pressure than you would if you were waxing your car.  
  • I like to buff it off before it dries too much using a soft microfiber buffing towel as the residue can be difficult to remove.
  • Remember that Ultimate Compound is used to smoothen and clean your clear coat which is a clear coat of automotive paint that sits on top of your main coat of paint.  So it doesn’t leave anything behind on the surface like wax or sealant.  This means you don’t need to let it haze over or cure like you should some waxes.

Meguiars Ultimate Polish Usage Tips

  • Apply Ultimate Polish in much the same way as you apply Ultimate Compound.  
  • The only difference is that you might get better shine if you use a foam applicator pad instead of the microfiber pad you use with Ultimate Compound.
  • Usually, you don’t need to spend as much time polishing.  But it still benefits from multiple passes to work the light abrasives into the paint and restore the shine.
  • Finally, you should use a wax or sealant to protect your work.

Conclusion

Meguiars Ultimate Compound and Ultimate Polish are excellent products designed to be used by anyone and not just professional detailers.  

They’re great for restoring shine and gloss to faded car paint.  You can achieve fantastic results with these inexpensive products once you learn to use them properly.

Apply a coat of wax on top to protect your work and make it look even more amazing.

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