Car Waxing 101
Polishing the paint of our car is something indispensable to leave it like new. Over time improper washes, weather conditions, ultraviolet radiation, pollution, acid rain, bird droppings, insects … is slightly degrading the most superficial layer of the paint. This causes mainly circular micro articles (internationally known as “swirls” or spider webs) and the loss of the original gloss of the paint. Then, basically, any untreated car will present 2 problems over time: swirls and loss of brightness. We can also remove surface scratches, that is, they have not reached the primer layer.
This type of imperfections can be removed, returning and even improving the original appearance to the painting through polishing. It is very typical the question of what product do I use to remove those very superficial stripes that are only noticed in the sun? Unfortunately, removing them is not as easy as applying a miracle and smart product. The solution is to polish the paint. On hand we will get very modest results, ie some will eliminate but most will remain there. If we want to eliminate them mostly or totally it is necessary to polish to machine, that is to say, using a polisher. In the photo above we see half bonnet polished and half unpolished. The difference is obvious.
Why doesn’t the paint shine?
At the microscopic level, we see that there are irregularities or micro-scratches in the surface of the painting. These irregularities do not let light reflect like when it is perfectly flat. For that reason, it loses its brightness over time as the number and depth of irregularities increase.
This process does not eliminate deep scratches (a scratch of a key for example) since these arrive at the primer that is usually of another color. In these cases, there is no other remedy than to replace the missing painting by means of a touch-up of painting or to take it to a workshop of veneer and painting.
What is polish? What is it for?
The polish or polish is a more or less creamy compound that contains micro-abrasives which will carry out the task of eliminating imperfections or micro-scratches of the paint homogeneously.
There are 2 ways to polish a vehicle: by hand or by machine (polisher). Intuitively we can deduce that polishing by hand is better, but unfortunately, the results obtained by hand are much lower than those obtained with a polisher. If our defects are minimal, handy will suffice, although it is not usual. Polishing by hand is very simple and is especially suitable for areas to be treated very small or areas where a polisher does not arrive. Click here to learn more about mobile car washes.
There are polishes with different levels of abrasiveness. The selection of the appropriate polish may therefore depend on several factors, although the main one is the depth of the micro-shingles or imperfections. In any case, it is usual to face the polishing process in 3 phases, first using a polish + hard sponge (called a cutting process), then one medium + polishing sponge, to finish with a polish + fine sponge (called finishing ). However this process in 3 steps is not always necessary, for example in case of very superficial swirls.
Unfortunately, there is no “magic formula” to determine what level of abrasiveness we should use, and it is experience that will show us the right combination at any given time. However, we must take into account that if we start with a polish too thin, we will not eliminate the deepest swirls, but we will simply round them a little, so that we can always test with a finer polish in a small part, and Gradually increasing until the result is the desired one.