Car Bibles is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Over time, the paint on your vehicle loses its original shine to oxidation, scratching, and other imperfections. Thankfully, you can get a car polish that removes a small paint layer to get rid of minor cracks and keep the shine on your motor vehicle. However, there are different types of car polishes on the market, and they vary in terms of abrasiveness. In the following guide, we’ve provided you with some options and information to help you select the best car polish so you can keep your car looking as good as new.
The Best Car Polish
CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant is one of the best car polishes on the market because of its effectiveness and ease of use. It’s made using advanced science for longer-lasting protection and a slicker surface. The wax sealant is multi-use and safe for a variety of surfaces and it doesn’t cause streaks or residue.
For instant results, this car polish uses a synthetic detail spray that works at a molecular level to produce a head-turning shine and finish. For the most part, using this car polish is as easy as a walk in the park. You only need to spray and wipe off for the most sought-after ultimate shine.
Formulated using advanced science for the best results
Full synthetic polymer sealant
Effective on various surfaces without causing damage
- Weight18 ounces
Produces a slick shine with longer-lasting protection
Synthetic detail spray provides instant reflective shine
Fast and easy to use
Doesn’t work well on dark-colored vehicles
May leave a thin film and streaks
This high-quality car polish is for those that are after a show-quality finish. Typically, it is the same quality that you will find with expert detailers because of its high-gloss finish, which most motor vehicle enthusiasts find irresistible. You can achieve legendary results by rubbing the car polish on by hand, but you will still get splendid results with a dual action polisher or orbital buffer.
It is a glimmering car polish with a stunning depth of shine designed for avid collectors and serious enthusiasts. Even though it is a high-yield polish, it does not have any protective qualities. Make sure to also use a top quality liquid wax for the best results.
Produces a brilliant, high gloss finish
Easy to use by hand or machine
High yield polish that does not have any protective qualities
- Weight16 ounces
Brilliant high-gloss finish
Easy and quick to use
Great polish for the show car exhibitor, serious enthusiast, or avid collector
Not easy to remove
Some debris such as bugs can get stuck
Chemical Guys V36 conveniently combines some of the most sought-after standard car polish and cutting car polish to give you the best results in one product. It is a powerful product that will eliminate the numerous tiny scratches that invade the paintwork on your precious motor vehicle.
The ultra-refined V36 Cutting polish removes a variety of blemishes on the paint, ranging from moderate to heavy. On the other hand, the V38 final polish eliminates small scratches to create a mirror-like surface after the car wash. Scratches and holograms are a thing of the past when you have the right product for the job.
Standard car polish and cutting car polish in one package
Can eliminate moderate and heavy scratches and cracks on the paintwork.
Can be used with a rotary machine
- BrandChemical Guys
- Weight16 ounces
Both products are quite useful when used together
Easy to use
Produces a soft and glossy finish
May not be quite useful on deep scratches and cracks
May take some time and patience to get favorable results
The specially blended formula removes the swirl marks, fine scratches, and other defects on the paint job to maintain the shine on your car. This particular car polish is high-performance and produces the right results within the shortest time, which means you can show off your ride sooner than later.
The application of the swirl free polish is smooth and wipes off easily. You may not need a professional to do it for you to attain that desired glistening finish. It will produce a glossy finish, no matter the type of surface or color of your car. Unlike some of the competitors on the market, this car polish is safe to use in a body shop environment. You are free to use a dual-action polisher, rotary buffer, or your own hands.
Unique formula for the removal of defects
Formulated for fresh paint
High-performance product allows you to achieve the desired results within a short time
Can be applied using your hands or a dual action polisher.
- Weight32 ounces
Specially blended for the removal of defects of a paint job
High-performance finish for optimal results
Wipes off easily and is simple to use
Not completely effective on swirl marks
You may need to spend some time working in the polish
The one-step high-gloss polish is highly effective and uses diminishing abrasive technology for the best results. This car polish comes in multiple sizes. It is also versatile and can be used on a variety of paint colors. More importantly, the formulation is easy to use and quite effective in getting rid of imperfections on your car’s paint, including water spots, swirls, and scratches.
This unique car care formulation does not contain silicone or wax and is safe for both polishers and your hands. This advanced one-step polish restores the deep reflection and lustrous shine to help your vehicle stand out in the crowd.
Produces a one-step outstanding shine.
Appropriate for single-stage paint and works on all colors
Gets rid of water spots, swirls, and scratches.
- BrandChemical Guys
- Weight4 ounces
Versatile enough to be used on all colors
Available in 4-ounce and 48-ounce containers
Safe for both polishers and hands
Formulated for faster work time with a polishing machine
More effective when used with a polisher
Can be messy
This three-in-one formula adds a solid coat and shine to your automobile without the need for water. With Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat, you don’t have to worry about hurting your car. The formula does not result in smears, streaks, or scratches.
Apart from giving your car a protective coat, the ceramic car care formula keeps it clean. It removes dirt, grease and grime. The high-quality spray is ideal for sedans, SUVs, motorcycles, RVs, and cars. The combination of Si02 and surfactant coating provides the perfect balance for a gentle application and tough cleansing.
Three-in-one formula in a spray applicator
Removes dirt and grime on your car
Features a blend of Si02 and surfactant coating
Ceramic quick coat acts as a sealer
- BrandSHINE ARMOR
- Weight8 ounces
Easy-to-use spray applicator
Does not cause smears, streaks, or scratches
Keeps your car clean by removing dirt, grease, and grime
Safe to use on all surfaces
Bottle may be too small for some vehicles
Some users experienced packaging issues
Best Car Polish Buying Guide & FAQ
Picking the right car polish is essential if you want to get the best results for your car. However, before you do anything, you will need to determine whether you are looking for liquid wax or car polish. The type and the quality of the car polish will determine how frequently you will need to work on the car to maintain that elusive shine. We have prepared this car polish buying guide to help in your decision making process.
Why You Need Car Polish
The primary reason for using car polish or car wax is maintaining the original shine of a brand new car. Nobody wants to ride in a vehicle with a dull paint that has seen better days. However, it can cost a small fortune to have car paint redone by a professional.
Alternatively, correcting the paint by yourself is budget-friendly. Using car polish should be a regular exercise to maintain your vehicle in tip-top showroom condition and become the envy of other motorists.
Benefits of Car Polish
The main advantage of using car polish is to keep the exterior of the vehicle in good condition for longer while saving money. Over time, any paint job will develop some defects such as scratches, swirls, uneven coating, and lines. A quality car polish can make all the difference in restoring the paint job to its original glory.
The abrasive properties of car polish can make the surface appear smooth and new. It also gets rid of small shallow scratches and extends the life of the paint job. In most cases, car polish can be quite useful in removing dirt and other impurities that may be too stubborn for washing.
Do You Need Car Polish?
Car polish is not designed for regular use. Unless your vehicle has some defects in the paint job, it is not always necessary to use it. Regardless, that does not keep some enthusiasts from using a mixture of polish and wax a handful of times annually to give the automobile the much-desired facelift. You can go for an all-in-one car polish 3-4 times a year to provide your paint with a protective layer.
On the other hand, you can skip the car polish if there are no identifiable defects on the paint job. Opt for wax, gloss, or sealant to create a protective layer to accommodate your needs.
The Advantages of Owning a Car Polish
The best car polish corrects paint defects, be it swirl marks, lines, watermarks, or uneven coating. It also eliminates small and shallow scratches that may develop over time and hides some of the stubborn spots in the paint job. The car polish will not remove stubborn stains, but it effectively conceals them and makes them harder to spot.
More importantly, car polish extends the life of the paint job and, in the process, saves you some cash. It gets rid of the oxidized sections of paint and conditions the paintwork to make it resistant to peeling, drying, and cracking.
Car polish offers buffing and filling properties to maintain the original shine and gloss that made you fall in love with the vehicle. If the scratches and other defects are small enough, a good quality car polish can fill them and improve the appearance of the exterior. It can maintain the gloss and shine from when you first bought the vehicle. It is recommended to use a coat of wax to seal everything.
Popular Types of Car Polish
Your choice of the type of car polish will determine the type of finish, its quality, and ease of application. In the majority of cases, the type of the formula is less important than the formula itself. However, the formula is not indicated on the package, and the only information available is whether specific components such as carnauba wax are present or not.
Even though it’s not the most convenient type of car polish, paste arguably gives the best performance and results. However, the inconvenience can sometimes turn out to be too much and end up costing you more than anticipated. Car polish paste is messy, so you want to avoid using too much of it. But if you know how to use it, then it can offer the best experience, even if it is not the most convenient type.
The application and cleanup of liquid car polish is effortless. It is the middle ground between a spray and a paste. In terms of overall results, liquid car polish does a reasonably good job. You may not find a liquid car polish that can match the quality of paste car polish, but that doesn't mean that you cannot find a good quality liquid polish with an exquisite finish. The advantage of liquid car polish is that you don't need to worry about cleanup. Furthermore, it is user-friendly and virtually anybody can use it on their car.
Spray polish is basically a liquid polish with particles that are small enough to go into an aerosol can. It is essential to understand that you cannot use a spray car polish on the whole body of the vehicle. It is best for isolated areas, spot cleaning, and car maintenance. Ideally, you should use a spray car polish on top of a main polish. Sprays should be used minimally and as a finishing touch. You’ll want to make sure that the various ingredients in the car polish do not react with the base car polish or damage the paint.
Depending on how you look at car polish, a hybrid car polish can be argued as an action or a type. Regardless, it will contain carnauba wax with different kinds of results from what you would get from standard types of car polish.
Wax hybrid: This is the fundamental formula that includes carnauba wax to provide more protection to the paint job. The wax hybrid is best for people that want a bit more protection than what the typical car polish can provide.
Cleaning hybrid: A cleaning hybrid wax contains abrasives. It should only be used by pros or people who know what they are doing. Nevertheless, it should be in everyone's car garage for routine maintenance.
What to Look for When Buying Car Polish
Truth be told, polishing your car may not be as easy as it seems. You need to first choose the best car polish for your vehicle, and that is never a walk in the park. Which type of formulation is best for your car, and do you need an all-in-one product?
Among the essential features to look for when purchasing car polish, the most important is formulation. Is paste better than the liquid or spray? Which application method is ideal for your vehicle, depending on such factors as the type of car polish and the age of your car? Another vital consideration is abrasiveness, which varies between products.
The ideal car polish formulation pretty much depends on your car's paint job. Some of the formulations are just car polish without any additives such as waxes or silicones. You can follow this with a sealant or wax for the best results. Note that there is a difference between wax and polish. You give the car a protective layer with wax, while the primary purpose of a car polish is to remove scrapes, grease, grime, and other small defects. Some formulations contain both wax and polish for convenience and cost savings. Regardless, proper sealant, wax, and polish coats are more productive, look much better, and are more durable than all-in-one products.
The application method is often up to you. However, certain formulations work best with a mechanical buffer as opposed to a soft cloth. The main benefit of a mechanical buffer is a uniform coat all around the vehicle. Application methods also depend on the type of formulation. For example, while paste may be a little difficult to apply by hand, it has the best results. Liquids are more comfortable to work with on the body of the vehicle, but they don't fill blemishes such as scratches as well as pastes. Application also depends on the age of your car. Typically, spray polish is most appropriate for maintaining a newer car.
Newer car polishes use abrasives that disintegrate into smaller parts and get finer and finer as you buff them into the vehicle. As a result, they are quite versatile and you can use them on any car, but it doesn't hurt to double-check. Some specialty car polishes have a varying degree of abrasiveness. You should know that car polishes are not made equal, and one manufacturer may use particular components that enhance their abrasiveness. Each product may have its unique advantages over the others, and it's always good to check. After all, you want the best results for your car.
Tips for Buying and Using Car Polish
Chances are, you spend significant periods behind the wheel, and you want your vehicle to be the best-looking on the highway. A shiny, fresh new coat is the pride of most car owners, but you need to know how to choose and use the best car polish for your automobile.
Most people are too eager to polish their vehicles to enhance the look, but this is not always a good idea. Polishing your vehicle too frequently will damage the paint job, and that is not what anyone wants. Make sure that the car is in the shade before you can start polishing. Parking away from the direct sunlight prevents the soap from drying too quickly, which makes polishing much harder.
It is also a good idea to work on your vehicle on gravel or pavement. Doing it on grass or dirt can accumulate mud and debris, making the process even harder. It is also essential to pick the correct car formulation and pad for your vehicle if you want the best results. Also, remember that polishing your car can be quite a messy affair, and it's possible to stain the nearby equipment. Keep children, pets, and valuable equipment some distance away.
- Avoid polishing too frequently, as it can damage the paint job on your vehicle.
- Park your car in the shade for the best polishing results.
- Park the vehicle on gravel or pavement to prevent mud and debris when detailing.
- Choose the correct formulation and pad for your vehicle.
- Keep away anything that can be damaged by the spray.
Best Car Paint FAQ:
It is normal to have a few queries about car polishing, especially when starting out. Car polish comes in different types and formulations, and not all of them are appropriate for your vehicle. You need to identify the right product to get the best results without any damage to your car. Here are a handful of questions you may have when buying car polish.
Q. What does car polish do?
A: Car polish is an abrasive substance used to remove blemishes. Car polishes do not ruin the paint. Instead, they remove a small portion of the clear coat, along with any scratches and other undesirables on the surface.
Q. How clean does the car have to be before polishing?
A: Before polishing your car, you should make sure that it is as clean as possible. The cleaning process should involve decontamination to remove the build-up of brake dust, bug debris, and tar. The process also includes degreasing and pre-wash.
Q. Do I need to do anything after I’ve used the polish?
A: Polishing your vehicle is not the last step. It is just the preparation stage before the application of a ceramic-type sealant or carnauba wax.
Q: What’s the difference between a wax and a polish?
A: Car polish should not be used often unless you want to remove blemishes and improve the clarity of the paint. On the other hand, car wax adds a layer of protection against natural contaminants and UV rays while adding some shine to the paint.
Q: How long do the results of polishing last?
A: The durability of the polish depends on the protective coating you use. Depending on wash routines, environmental factors, and usage, carnauba wax can last for about three months. The period extends further if you use ceramic sealant.
Q: Are there any polishes to avoid?
A: Car polishes that are worth only pocket change are typically chalk-based or contain fillers that can end up damaging the paint job instead of correcting it.
Q: Do you need a machine polisher?
A: A machine polisher is much faster, so you get quicker results. However, you don't always need one to apply car polish.
Our Top Pick
Our top overall pick is CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant. Formulated using advanced science, this car polish produces a slick shine and long-lasting protection. It is also one of the fastest and easiest to use.