Are polishing and waxing the same thing?
You may have heard your friends saying, “I’m going to send my car for polishing” or “I’m going to wax my car”.
It sounds like they are talking about the same thing. But technically, they are not.
What exactly does “polishing” mean?
Polishing, in car detailing/grooming terms, means applying a mild abrasive to your paintwork.
These abrasives help the polish remove contaminants, oxidation and light to moderate scratches.
Depending on the product, a polish can also add oils or conditioners, which enhance the appearance of your paintwork.
Some polishes, especially those formulated to remove more serious scratches, only contain abrasives.
(By the way, if your car is scratched to the point that you can see the sheet metal underneath, you should consider a respray instead.)
Now, what is “waxing”?
Waxing, in grooming terms, refers to the application of automotive wax to the paintwork.
Unlike polishes, most waxes do not contain any abrasives.
The main purpose of waxing your car is to protect the paint finish.
Many waxes also contain paintwork enhancers that leave your car looking shiny/glossy.
However, if you want to ensure the utmost clarity and gloss in your paint, polishing is necessary before waxing.
The wax will then protect the finish that you put so much effort into achieving.
How often should you polish your car?
There are no hard and fast rules here.
It really depends on your paintwork and the driving conditions you subject your vehicle to.
Generally speaking, polishing your car twice a year and waxing it monthly is more than enough for the average car owner.
How often should you wax your car?
This also depends on the condition of your paintwork and your driving habits.
Keeping your car clean with regular washings will go a long way towards helping you maintain your finish.