What's The Difference Between Waxing, Polishing, and Paint Corrections?

Something that we get asked a lot by customers is whether or not we wax a car and if so will it remove swirl lines and scratches. The answer is yes and no, yes as there are some waxes that have filling agents in the chemical mixture that helps with filling in the scuffs and swirls. No, as it is not going to remove those from your paint.

Waxing a car is sorta an old-school method to get your vehicle shinning, looking good, and adding a bit of protection from the sun's UV rays, and there are even some that provide excellent water repellency properties that are similar to ceramic/graphene coatings.

Paste Waxing Car
Paste Wax Application By Hand

The biggest 2 drawbacks in my opinion about waxing a vehicle are 1. It's very time-consuming to apply a good quality paste wax. Requiring the time to prep the black plastic trim pieces around the car from staining it, and the amount of time it takes to apply the paste wax, with or without a machine to assist.

Wax options available at this local shop
Liquid Wax Application By Machine

2. The lack of scuff and scratch removal versus its ability to mask them by filling them in. Sure in some cases a vehicle's clear coat may not be thick enough to do polish or a paint correction and at that time you may be forced to do a wax or polymer paint sealant with filling capabilities. But they still are not removing the swirl lines and scuffs, they are just hiding them.

Polishing a car is where you begin with the removal of swirl lines, some scuffs, but no scratches. Polishing it's the method in which we use a machine to help smooth out or remove some of the haze in the clear coat.

The haze is typically caused by the washing methods of the vehicle's owner. These washing methods can range from hand washing to drive-through washes. And sometimes the haze can happen from rubbing or brushing up against the vehicle's paint while there is dirt or dust on the vehicle.

This haze is commonly referred to as swirls, love marks, spider webs, and angle hair. Which you normally would only see if the sun is shining directly onto the surface of the vehicle. It's more visible by sunlight as these fine lines cause the sun's light to reflect off them. It is why new vehicles always look so good to the eye of the passer-by.

With most polishing, you should expect a minor improvement to the paint's looks and depend on the person or shop that is doing it. They might even use a product similar to wax or paint sealant to help protect the vehicle's paint and increase the overall shine too.

Paint Corrections is when a person goes a bit further on the polishing side of the service. This is when a heavy cut polishing pad and a light cut polishing pad are used to remove a bit more of the clear coat off the vehicle to level the surface area. Effectively this removes the swirls, scuffs, and most times scratches.