Car Polishing

Materials Needed For The Job

Car Polishing Techniques And Tips In Polishing Car Paint

Car Polishing


Car Polishing SydneyThis appears to be the part where most people seem to get confused. Being able to use a car polish is not that difficult.

We thought we’d write a page on this subject so that we would be able to help everyone out there better polish their own cars with what many refer to as a buff and polish.

It is really not that difficult. The purpose of polishing is to rejuvenate the paint surface back to it’s former glory.

Expensive equipment or compounds are also not required to achieve a nice shine and smooth finish.

Please  Note !! Kitten is strictly being utilised for example purposes only because we have repaired vehicles damaged  by this product from incorrect use and are absolutely gob smacked at how people can be such tight asses  and destroy their paint work instead of buying better quality products. However, professionally speaking,  customer cars are strictly treated with Meguiars, Auto Glym, or Toughseal, German nano technology products, Italian and American Compounds and polishes. Also please note, because we can  in no way monitor how you apply this information, you accept responsibility for applying these methods to  your vehicle surfaces yourself

First things first.

After washing the car the first thing we need to establish is “do we have a clean enough surface to start car polishing”   In most cases it will be a NO! Polishing a car when there are contaminants on the surface is not going to achieve much  as far as having a nice clean and smooth surface.

This is where we have to feel for contaminants. The contaminants  have to be removed in order for the polish to come into direct contact with the paint surface. Also, you can not apply a ceramic coating for cars on contaminated surfaces. While you are here, check out our ceramic coatings review.
There are many things the human eye can not see. Contaminants is one of them. This is where we put into use the  power of touch and feel.

The first thing you need to do is to take the back of your hand and run it along the surface of  your paint. How does it feel? Is it smooth, or does it feel like sand paper? In most cases it will feel like sand paper.

The Magnificent Clay Bar

This little tool which has been around for some time now has to be one of the best inventions for paint surfaces. All it does is remove contaminants of many different natures, therefore leaving your paint surfaces clean and smooth ready  for polishing.

It doesn’t just remove invisible contaminants, but also visible contaminants, like bugs, spics, road tar, over spray, road debris which has stuck to your paint, bird crap, and many different types of fall out visible or invisible.

In order to use this dandy little device, all you do is spray some
meguiars quick detailer on the paint surface and run the  clay bar along the paint. Make sure there is plenty of lubricant or the clay bar will stick to the paint surface.

After a few strokes, wipe down the remaining quick detailer with a micro fibre cloth and feel the surface with the back of your hand.

How does it feel now. It should be smooth and ready for car polishing. If not carry out the process once gain until it is ready.

Car Polishing

Now we are ready for the next stage of the process. Car Polishing the paint surfaces to a nice smooth shine.I don’t  know about you, but I personally do not favour hard labour so I opt to use the good old dual action orbital buffer to carry  out all the hard car polishing for me.

If you don’t have one, your in for some hard elbow work. We are not writing on hand car polishing as this is not really a favoured method by the majority of people wanting to  maintain their cars, and usually in most cases it’s not followed. People prefer to pay some one else to do it. Otherwise if you don’t like hard work you can always purchase a dual action orbital buffer from Bunnings or even  cheaper from Big W. Always try to get one with an adjustable speed setting.

If you do already have your own orbital buffer the next thing your going to need is 3  foam sponges. Two yellow sponges and a tan sponge. All 3 Meguiars. You can find these products at any auto parts outlet. Two are for polishing and one for applying your wax.

The compound we are using is Kitten liquid cut and polish. This product has been around for Donkeys years and is a two in one product. In fact, I grew up with it. Please bare in mind this product is only being used for this example.

The other reason we are also using it, is because it is uncomplicated and a single pass compound polish. It is also in-expensive and everyone can afford it. You will find it extraordinary what can be achieved with an affordable product like this when done correctly.
For Tough Sealing or
waxing however you will have to go to the waxing page of this site when it soon becomes  available.A page on decent washing will also soon be made available, so bookmark this site. For now, let’s focus on polishing. Firstly get your orbital and Meguiars yellow polishing sponge. Attach the yellow Velcro end of your sponge to  the oscillating end of your buffer. Make sure it is centered correctly or it will oscillate very unevenly.

Next, get your Kitten liquid cut and polish and squeeze some compound onto your sponge in a thin snail design like so. Be careful not to pour too much as it will take too long to buff off and you will remove unnecessary material off your surface.
Remember, the idea is to remove dead paint, or paint fade and
very fine hair line swirling leaving your surfaces clean and very shiny, ready for Sealing or
waxing. This process is not designed to remove scratches deeper  than surface. If your vehicle already has detailer inflicted damage or deep swirl marks, it’s too late, Leave it to the  professionals.

Next, dab your sponge 3-4 times on the panel in an area of around say 40-50 square centimetres like so. You’ll need to look closely but the snail dabs are on the bonnet. Once you’ve done that make sure your buffer speed is set between 3-4 thousand rpm’s. Nothing higher. Start buffing in a slow, back and forward motion making sure you over lap each pass. When you can see the compound has near dissipated, stop and wipe off any left  over residue with a microfibre cloth and Meguiars Quick Detailer. Do not press hard while buffing, just mild pressure. If  you can hear the buffer really starting to labour, you are pressing too hard. Try and keep away from edges and moulds.  If you like, try masking these up before you start. If you can see the paint surface has restored, continue with the next  section. If not, pass it again When the first sponge has becomes badly fouled up, remove it and fit the next yellow sponge. The first can be cleaned  with luke warm water  and car detergent. Do not wring dry. Just squeeze it, and let dry. When you have completed the  entire vehicle with Kitten cutting liquid, go over the entire vehicle again with Kitten liquid polishing wax.  Make sure to fit  a clean yellow sponge. This stuff dries fast and contains teflon. Surfaces will be very slippery afterwards if carried out  correctly. Make sure to do small sections at at time.  Wipe off and  This is not a compound you leave on for half an hour. It acts quickly and if left too long, can be a nightmare to remove, “which tells me it is hard wearing stuff, and  works”.

This is an example of another one of our vehicles we tested this product on,and the results are impressive. The Surface  is now beautiful and silky smooth.This surface has now been lightly cleaned and polish waxed. Paint fade and hair  line scratches all gone,completely swirl free. Something a cheap detailer “WON’T” give you. This just goes to show what can be achieved, even with an affordable compound like Kitten. “WHY”?………..  Because it is done correctly with  the right procedures. Imagine, what can be achieved with Toughseal, Autoglym, Or Meguiars when done correctly. Click  on the image to enlarge it. This surface was faded and looked dead.

Polishing Combinations

Now it’s been brought back to life. A Toughseal or good quality waxing will do wanders for this finish. I have written this  article to help put to rest out there that insecure feeling of using cheap detailers and coffee car washes who do nothing  for you but charge you cheap rates to damage your finish.

This information is “GOLD”. Put it to use and give yourself some very impressive results, while avoiding detailer  charged costly damage. That includes coffee car washes. Anything more than this, leave to the professionals.


Maintenance is relatively simple once having carried out all your car polishing. Try and wash at least once a week. If not,  wash every fortnight, but wash your car.  After you have washed your car, wipe it down. Grab your quick detailer and microfibre cloth and go over the entire car.

Kitten Car Polishing

Fold your microfibre cloth, spray your quick detailer on your panel, wipe with one side of your microfibre, then turn over  and wipe over with the other side. If you keep this up with every wash, people will be asking……”YOU”…… how you keep  your car looking so good. Follow this advice and you will extend the shine on your car. When you notice that water has stopped beading, or peeling off your car after every wash you will need to re-wax. Stay tuned to this site for more pages on washing and waxing coming soon.

Remember that this sort of polishing is only meant to bring back the shine, and remove only extreme top surface flaws.
If you have major paint fade or severe deep swirling this will not help you.

Ok Folks, Listed below is a couple of methods using Kitten cut and polish and Cream wax from Kitten, and for those who favour the enthusiest brands, Meguiars. Before we go any further, it needs to be noted that the vehicle being used  here is an every day vehicle with black paint. This vehicle has more than seen its fair share of abuse as it is also a 4 WD.

Kitten Car Polishing

Fold your microfibre cloth, spray your quick detailer on your panel, wipe with one side of your microfibre, then turn over  and wipe over with the other side. If you keep this up with every wash, people will be asking……”YOU”…… how you keep  your car looking so good. Follow this advice and you will extend the shine on your car. When you notice that water has stopped beading, or peeling off your car after every wash you will need to re-wax. Stay tuned to this site for more pages on washing and waxing coming soon.


Take note !! The product listed below is a cutting compound. Every time you use it, you will remove a percentage of paint or clear from your surfaces. The chance of eventually penetrating your clearcoat or going through your paint can be high after repeated use. Please be sure to mask your edges. I would not recommend using this product if you don’t know the thickness or history of your paint. You will use this product at your own risk.

Remember that this sort of polishing is only meant to bring back the shine, and remove only extreme top surface flaws. If you have major paint fade or severe deep swirling this will not help you.

Ok Folks, Listed below is a couple of methods using Kitten cut and polish and Cream wax from Kitten, and for those  who favour the enthusiest brands, Meguiars. Before we go any further, it needs to be noted that the vehicle being used  here is an every day vehicle with black paint. This vehicle has more than seen its fair share of abuse as it is also a 4  WD.

Kitten Cutting Paste Hand Application

The paint is not perfect, but has more than enough potential to bring  back up its shine. It is pitted, chipped scratched and everything else. Anything that is left behind will require paint correction. This probably won’t be possible as the  paint thicknesses are too thin.
Therefore, what we are displaying is basic general maintenance using abrasives which remove material. This is  recommended for removing  top surface flaws which can range anywhere from spider webbing, to top surface  scratches or fallout. Basically the car polishing page all over again, except using different products. It is recommended  that you clay bar first if you have a heavily contaminated surface. First, lets start with Kitten.

For the guy that doesn’t want to spend a fortune on polishing compounds, Kitten as mentioned earlier is very much a household name. It is what I started polishing my first car with when I was just a young lad and purchased my first car.  Who can forget their first car with their first polish compound. I certainly still remember it.  It was all I knew before  Meguiars, Autoglym and everything else that I know these days. After having researched information about these compounds on bloggs and car club websites, I have discovered good and bad feedback about these products. In  particular the cutting compound. The paste version can leave some rather nasty swirls or scratches on paint work.  Especially clear coats. I had even read that it’s advised not to use on clear coats. I however have used it on a clear coat  with positive results on black paint. The key to applying Kitten cut and polish is to “NOT” apply it by hand, but rather by  orbital. We have also repaired a number of vehicles damaged by this products due to incorrect use.

As stated earlier on this page, we used Kitten liquid cut and polish. We are now going to show you a different  combination using Kitten polish and cutting pastes. These products are much denser, however not much more difficult  to work with. I do not recommend using these products by hand as what I have discovered is that they yield far better  results when used by a DA Buffer.  I will show you examples of this.

Kitten Cutting Paste Orbital Application

This is the product we are going to start with. We are going to show you an example of the results achieved, when you  use a cutting paste such as this product by hand, and why it is that I don’t, and never agree with using cutting pastes by  hand. They are an abrasive. Depending on the coarseness of the abrasive, nasty swirls or scratches can be left behind.

Take note that I don’t carry out any rubbing using circular motions. This is what causes the spider webbing effect which can be seen from all angles. Always polish in straight back and forward motions. Whether you are using polish or waxes. What also needs to be understood here also is that a product that displays “cut and polish” is a two in one product. This product however is  more designed to have a cutting effect than a polishing effect. This is why we are going to use two separate Kitten   products.

We will use the Cream polish and wax next. Why are there scratches left behind you ask? Because hand pressure is never even over a given area of polishing. In most cases hand pressure is just far too heavy for an abrasive. Also, the  cutting particles in this compound are fairly large compared to other pastes and require a lot of speed to break down to  a dull shine, therefore leaving visible scratches behind . An orbital on the other hand displaces weight evenly over a  given area with far less pressure, and due to its oscillating action and speed portrays no swirl marks or scratches left behind from cutting compounds. Speed is what is required to break down the abrasive particles very quickly, therefore dissipating all scratches.
Depending on the coarseness of the compound of course, it can lack in gloss. This is why we then need to move to a product which is more of a polish. This will remove the dullness and further polish the area to a nice shine. As you can  see from the example above, scratches are clearly evident over the rubbed area. That is clear proof that abrasives and  hand applications just don’t mix. This is not just with
Kitten products, but almost every compound that is designed for cutting.

Kitten Cream Polishing Wax

Ok folks, now this is the best part. This is where you benefit from the best results that can be had using an orbital, and  by the end of the day  you get to keep your shoulder. Nobody said that polishing your car had to be hard work. Just  follow the same procedure as stated earlier on this page except using the orbital instead. Being a paste of course you will need a small flat object to place some paste on the polishing pad. You willquickly find that once you  have seen the results for yourself of what can be achieved using an orbital, most of you will do away with hand procedure applications for ever. You only have to try this your self to know what I’m talking about. I have heard far too many people say that doing car polishing by hand yields the same results that you get using an orbital (or for the real heroes), better than a rotary. “Come on” To all those out there who believe that. “WAKE UP” It is impossible for the human hand to beat a machine that has revolutions and  speed. That’s just common sense. Believe me you’ll be glad you did. Obviously as you can see the paint surface is  somewhat a little dull, lacking clarity  and could be better with a little more shine.

Meguiars Orbital

I would suppose there are many car lovers out there that would never guess what sort of results could be achieved by  using such an affordable product as Kitten for their own use. For everyday cars that are used on a regular basis, this is more than an acceptable product for providing a decent enough shine with some protection. You have to remember that before you use this product it is better to go over your surfaces with the cutting paste if you have lots of light swirling or light scratches, then apply the cream polish wax. Just simply remove the red Meguiars cutting pad and refit the Meguiars yellow polishing pad. Go over the entire vehicle with the exact same method as the cutting paste. Remember to do sections at a time and wipe off to check on your progress. If you want, re-apply the cream wax polish and let it set for about half an hour so it can work as a wax. That’s it !!

Now we come to the Nitty Gritty polishes. Polishes for the Die hard fan who demands nothing but the top products.  Whether it is for the toy car in the garage, or the show car, or even the everyday get around, Meguiars is a world  recognised product that spands decades. Meguiars is surprisingly an easy enough product to use. It’s just that many people or fanatics don’t know where to start. We are not going to bother with hand applications as we have shown
examples of this earlier.
Especially with Meguiars having such a massive line of car care products. As for basic polishing you will need one of  two mild cleaning compounds. Meguiars Paint cleaner or, Meguiars swirl free polish which happens to be that little bitmore abrassive than paint cleaner. After that, Meguiars Wet look. You will  have to establish whether or not the paint cleaner is going to do the job of removing all light swirls and scratches.      If not, you will have to use the swirl free polish.

Once you have removed all the swirl damage with either the swirl remover or the paint cleaner, you will then move onto  the wet look. Using an orbital of course, I would recommend attaching a Meguiars red cutting pad and going over the entire vehicle with one of the two cleaning compounds until you are satisfied that you have removed ample enough  damage. Remember that if you have a lot of contaminants you must clay bar the entire vehicle. Again, this is for general  maintenance and upkeep. This is not serious paint correction. This method is designed to remove top surface flaws only.

If you find that the meguiars paint cleaner just is not cutting the mustard with removing enough damage, move straight  onto the swirl remover. When you are happy with the results that you have achieved move straight on to the wet look polish using a Meguiars yellow polishing pad. Apply the same method. Remember to wipe down with Meguiars quick detailer after completion.

The results are not bad at all. Again a lot of the top surface damage has been removed leaving a nice smooth and shiny surface. If you wanted, you could once again go over the vehicle with the wet look leaving a slight haze so as to allow it to work as a sealer, or you move straight on to Tech wax. Simply follow our car waxing page as to the correct waxing procedures. The paint surfaces on this vehicle would have looked better again if the surfaces were not so badly pitted and also contained far less orange peal. Also, what we have done is add some other possible Meguiars combinations that will also assist you in obtaining the shine you have been looking for. We have listed two types of additional of combinations for mild and slightly more serious damage. If you use one of these combo’s  given the level of damage you have, you should see some dramatic improvements if you are prepared to put some effort into some serious polishing of your paint. The first one pictured here is basically for mild swirls of  newer paints and mild dulling. Be sure to clay bar first if you have contaminants on your surfaces. We can not stress this  enough.

Do not attempt to use any of these with a rotary polisher unless you plan on entering this industry and need to practice.  Use all of these products with  a DA Polisher and two separate Meguiars polishing pads and one finishing pad for your  wax for each individual pass over the vehicle. This is one combination we use, and find colours just explode. Do not  take short cuts, by leaving one of the compounds out of the equation. You need to do it right the first time. Be sure to go  over the vehicle with Meguiars quick detailer to remove any left over residue. The end result should be mind blowing.
The second additional combo is for paint that is far more weathered with heavier swirling or webbing and mild acid rain stains. Again, remember to clay bar the car first before car polishing if contaminants are present. The first one is basically a mild cutting abrasive. After this, you will need to use a swirl remover for depth of colour, and  lastly, carnauba wax to seal in the shine. If it was my choice, I would also use the deep crystal polish after the swirl  remover, then followed with the finishing touch of Meguiars Carnauba wax. Please remember, taking shortcuts does not  achieve the best possible results. These are combinations that work, and work very well when used accordingly they  way they should be used. It is also optional if you would like to use deep crystal polish after the swirl remover. For an additional kick in the pants shine, I highly recommend the additional pass with Crystal polish, and then waxing.
These are methods which are designed to help you better maintain your own vehicle with a simple enough knowledge  of common polishing and waxing maintenance. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email us.

Dr Buff

A love and passion for cars

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