Car Care Q&A

  What is the difference between a polish and a wax?

A polish is designed to remove minor surface imperfections such as scratches, spotting, and oxidation. Polishes work with abrasives and/or chemical cleaners to flatten, or level, the surface.

For example, a clear coat scratch can reflect light from its microscopic edges. That’s what makes it stand out from the surrounding area. A polish can smooth out, or level, the edges; reducing the amount of light the scratch reflects. In many cases, a polish can completely remove minor surface scratches and other imperfections.

A wax is designed to enhance and protect a previously polished surface. The protection is necessary to keep airborne pollutants, road film and other contaminants from sticking to the surface, causing potentially long term damage.

Some single-step products combine the cut of a polish with the shine and protection of a wax. They work great when speed is important, but aren’t as effective overall as a two-step polish/wax process.  

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