The right approach in polishing your car

The cold days are slowly but surely coming to an end, a sure indicator of this are the first open cabriolets on German roads. So it’s time to free your car from the tracks of winter. In addition to a thorough wash to remove road salt and similar buildup, for many people, polishing their vehicles stand on the agenda. Through an in‐depth polish, the paint is refreshed again and your vehicle shines in fresh splendor. By the way, you can also remove minor scratches by using the polishing machine.

Of course you could also go to a professional, but with the right equipment you can make your vehicle shine again, like old times, by yourself.

The Preparation

Before you ask yourself the question whether to polish your car by hand or with the machine, it’s important to thoroughly clean it first. Here I recommend to do it by hand instead of using the carwash, because it’s important to get rid of ALL the dirt beforehand. If you still decide to go with the carwash, it’s not recommended to use wax or similar substances.

Tip: When you ’re not sure if your car is clean of every dirt, I recommend to use a plastic bag, like the ones you use for vegetables in the supermarket, as gloves. With that you simply stroke along your vehicle and feel all the left‐over dirt, which you can remove by using a paint cleaner.

The Procedure

As tempting it might be to enjoy the first rays of sunshine while polishing, you should stay strong and choose a shady spot or a cloudy day. Since the paint is softened by the heat of the sun, which has the consequence that one works harder and thereby removes too much paint.

I’m just assuming that you as a handyman, like me, like to work with power tools and apply the polish with a polishing machine! If you have not yet bought a polish, please make sure that the polish is also suitable for plastic surfaces. Otherwise it can happen that stains remain on rubber lips or plastic trim strips, which are too difficult to remove. Using a polishing machine not only saves time but also protects your arms. Polishing a complete car by hand usually avenges itself the next day with a good sore muscles.

Now you can start with the actual polishing of your vehicle. After the polishing machine has been prepared, ie the polishing hood has been securely and firmly mounted and you have provided a suitable power supply, you put about two thimble polish on the polishing hood. To avoid overheating, it is recommended to add a few drops of water onto the car. The water cools the surface to be polished, preventing streaks caused by burnt polish. In contrast to polishing by hand, when polishing with the machine you don’t work in a circular motion, but in crossing movements. At corners and edges you should polish by hand despite polishing machine. Since you have only a small contact surface at corners, it can otherwise happen quickly that the top coat is rubbed off and the primer shines through. That would not only be annoying, but also expensive to repair.

The best way to start the polishing is, to begin on the roof of your vehicle and work your way up to the sills piece by piece. Since you remove the paint during polishing, it is strongly recommended to apply a new paint seal afterwards. Freshly polished paint is extremely sensitive to mechanical stress. As a sealant you can use almost every wax‐based product of the automotive sector. In addition to the actual protection of the paint layer, the wax seal ensures that you can enjoy the shine of your car for a longer time.