Car Polish vs Car Wax

A lot of people get confused between using a car polish and using a car wax. People who love and really understand their cars know the difference, but many simply do not. I thought it would be worthwhile writing a little about this topic as the differences are really important to understand.

I have seen many people asking questions like, “Which is better, car wax or car polish?” That should give you an idea of the genuine confusion that exists out there. I have also seen people asking, “Which one do you use first?” Well hopefully I can help clear up any confusion that might exist and help people have better looking cars as a result.

Which One Do You Use First?

Let’s answer this one quickly and get it out of the way. You always polish first and wax last. The reason for doing this is that the wax is what helps protect your vehicle, and also protects the shine that you have made, when you polished your vehicle.

What Is The Big Difference?

The really simple answer is that a polish will give you the shine and the wax will give your car the protection it needs against the weather and the different climates and environments. That is because each is made with different ingredients.

car wax vs car polish

Why Is There Confusion Over Car Polish & Car Wax?

Well look no further than the manufacturers of both of these products, and it is there you will find the ultimate in confusing terms. They know that people do not like doing a lot of work, and they especially hate doing it twice.

To get around this they have attempted to do combinations of these products where you will see advertised products that have been combined to do both.

There are slogans like, “Wax and shine,” “One coat does all”, “No need to polish and then wax.”

That is bound to cause confusion. For someone like me who works a lot at car detailing, that is just plain wrong and I think highly misleading. I have yet to find any product that works anywhere near as well as polishing first and then waxing. I have not even come close to getting similar results.

Understanding What Car Wax Does

Wax offers a layer of protection against he various elements that your car faces every single day. A wax has certain properties that makes it ideal for paint protection and the most popular ingredient for good quality waxes is carnauba.

Other ingredients are then added to this and when combined and applied to your vehicle, they effectively smooth out the paint work. After a good wax, you should see rain bead and run off your vehicle if you use a high quality wax.

Understanding What Car Polish Does

Polish on the other hand is really all about the shine you want to get on your vehicle. The single purpose of a polish is to give your car that really shiny showroom look. There are a ton of different products on the market, who make promises about delivering this, but in all honesty, we don’t think there are many great polishes out there.

Looking after your vehicle comes in three parts which are washing, polishing and then applying a wax. All of these are of equal importance. Properly washing a car and removing all signs of dirt or grit is vital to achieve a great looking car.

Once that has had time to dry, then applying a good quality polish comes next. The final stage is the wax, and the better quality you buy, then the longer the protection you will achieve.

All of these do of course take time. Car lovers do not mind doing these three separate tasks, but for many they simply don’t have the time or the inclination to do all three. When you see products on the market that are aimed at cleaning, polishing and waxing all in one, they can easily become a very popular choice.

They work OK and will keep your vehicle in good enough condition. It is certainly better doing that than doing nothing at all.