How to polish your car like a Pro

When it comes to keeping your car looking fresh, polishing it is the last step, but this activity isn’t just skin deep. It protects your car’s detailing—the shine looks great and makes you feel good, but a quality polish also helps protect against scratches and rust.

This means you’ll spend less money maintaining your car in the long run. Best of all, you can do it yourself if you keep in mind best practice.

Here’s how to polish like a pro.

Step 1


First, you’ll need some polishing wheels and a tool to attach them. You get specialist polishing tools, but you also get wheels that can be fitted onto a simple drill.

Next, you’ll need some polishing coating and a hose. “Polishing compound” is the heaviest, while “cutting polish” is mid-range, and “finishing polish” is the lightest. If your car has only light scratches, you can skip using the polishing compound and move to the cutting polish.

Finally, park your car in a cool shaded area. Now you’re ready.

Step 2

First, Rinse

Wash your car’s body by hand using a damp wheel with no polish. You want to clear the body of any dirt and grit.

If you don’t, you’ll push it around with the polish, scratching the body even more and making things worse. Once you’ve washed the care, move to the next step.

IMPORTANT: Do not dry the body.

Step 3


Apply a decent amount of polish to a new damp wheel and begin polishing each section of the car. You’ll need to measure by eye here. Apply enough pressure to start heating the car’s clear coat, and any scratches will begin to melt away. If you’re too heavy-handed, you can damage the paint.

Go from section to section and take care to avoid any swirling. If you accidentally cause any, retrace the area lightly until they’re gone. Foam will build up on the pad, so you’ll have to occasionally stop and rinse the excess.

Once you’ve polished the car, either with a single compound or more, depending on your needs, move to the next step.

Step 4

Second Rise

Now, rinse the car a second time. Rinse every part of the car and dry it by hand. You want it to be bone dry for the next step. Sun-drying isn’t advised because it’ll take too long, allowing dust to settle.

Step 5


Apply a wax and finishing compound mix. Favour the wax. Aim for 60% in the mixture.

Cover the entire body with the mixture to lock in the polish and buff out any minor imperfections. Leave the wax for about 10 minutes, then remove it with a microfibre cloth. Anything else risks damaging the body.

Wrap Up

With that done, move the car into a sunny spot and look it over. There you have it; how to polish your car like a pro.

Car maintenance is a rewarding hobby, but if you find yourself short on time, or need to see how it’s done first, consider booking an appointment with Hibiscus Coast Panelbeaters.