Your car appears dull, scratched and lackluster at first glance? Then the paint may have suffered from daily wear and tear. In this case, a car polish can help to restore the shine. In our guide, we explain why polishing is worthwhile, what optical faults you can correct with it and how you can polish yourself.
Car paint – facts, structure and function
The paint on your car is primarily used as a protective layer protection. It holds moisture and liquids of parts sensitive to the weather far. Without painting, many body parts would rust within a few months. The painting preserves the metal parts and guarantees a longer life.
second function is the visual enhancement. Highly polished paint radiates self-confidence and makes you want to drive your car. In addition, the optical condition of the paintwork has great influence on the value of the car. A major defect in the paint or weathered colors significantly reduce the value.
Structure of the paint on the car
The concept of paint includes several layers on the car. These are applied one after the other and each layer is dried separately. The layers are:
- Base coat
- Clear coat
The primer serves as an adhesion promoter and protects against corrosion. In addition, the filler, which smoothes the surface, brings flexibility and also serves as an adhesion promoter. The base coat contains the color pigments, is very rough and must be protected. In addition, the top layer, the clear coat, to use. As the top, visible layer, the clearcoat also brings additional shine.
Wear and tear on the paint
Most damage on the car paint are mechanical nature. Large surfaces such as the hood and roof must withstand collisions with insects, stone impacts and swirled dirt. This often results in small damage in the form of scratches and dents. The wrong wash, for example with defective or incorrect equipment, can also cause damage. The circular, fine scratches of bad washes even have a name and are called holograms.
Other materials are more likely to chemical stress and bond with the surface. These include especially road salt, tar, resin, oil and grease. These substances form unsightly stains and layers on the car, which can damage the paint in the long run. but they can be washed off the surface with appropriate means. Bird droppings pose a particular challenge, as they eat into the paint and, due to their consistency, can cause scratches when removed.
A further burden is the UV radiation the sun. This does not damage directly, but the color fades. Especially with strong colors, you can see clear differences after several years.
Why and when should I polish my car?
The polishing of the car has the following effect: by the removal of the smallest layers of paint the superficial scratches disappear. This creates smoother and more beautiful surface. A subsequent sealant has similar properties to the clearcoat and protects this new surface.
A good time is the early spring. In winter, the car and paint come into contact with road salt, moisture and extreme temperatures. Wash off the winter grime in the spring and polish your car back to its best. This will remove streaks and pale spots.
Car polishing – step by step guide
Your car has scratches, dull and cloudy spots or other stains in the varnish? When renewing the MOT and AU is not a problem, but the value and visual impact of the car decreases. Polishing restores the shine of faded areas and removes most scratches. You don’t need much to do the polishing yourself.
To polish according to our guide, you will need the following tools and aids:
- machine wash or hand wash material (water, sponge, container, cleaning concentrate)
- Polishing sponge, foam pad or polishing cotton wool
- Microfiber cloth (several)
- Optional: polishing machine with pad
- optional: paint repair kit
- Optional: paint cleaner and cleaning clay
1. Washing and preparations
Take a thorough washing before. This can be done, for example, with a high-pressure cleaner by hand do or a wash get the job done. In any case, check the result to make sure that all the dirt has been removed. Dirt residues act like abrasive sand and can damage the car scratch. Remove any remaining dirt by hand with a sponge, water and possibly a little detergent. Wipe the areas to be polished dry with a microfiber cloth.
Park the car in a place in the shade with a temperature of approx. 20 °C. If you have driven through the sun, let the car cool down for a short time. The correct processing temperature is important so that the polish can develop its effect. If the car is too hot, the polish dries out and can cause deep scratches instead of removing them.
Cover neighboring places off that should not be polished. Remember that polish is an abrasive. You can polish the parts by mask protect against damage caused by polishing. This concerns for example plastic parts on the fairing and headlights. Since headlights are part of the lighting system, there are legal requirements to be observed when polishing.
2. Optional for paint damage: deep cleaning and touch-up
In principle, a thorough wash before polishing is sufficient. However, for cars with paint damage for repair, it is recommended to use a deep cleaning to be done with cleaning clay or a special cleaning agent. These agents wash dirt out of the deeper pores of the surface and thus ensure a deep cleanliness.
If you want to repaint single spots, use now the varnish or the touch up kit as described in the corresponding instructions. Leave the repaired areas dry completely, before you continue polishing.
3.1 polishing by hand
choose the right polish. These are defined by the abrasive content. A high abrasive content ensures a stronger sanding effect against deeper scratches. One low abrasive content on the other hand provides even polishing and more shine. so you can think of a high abrasive content like coarse grit sandpaper and a low content like fine grit paper.
carry the polish on the polishing aid (sponge, pad, absorbent cotton) on and dab the surface you want to polish. Spread the polish evenly over the surface. you must never rub the polisher dry over the paint or it will cause new scratches.
Then start hand polishing by moving the sponge over the paint with light pressure. Work lightly in itself overlapping webs. To make sure that you get every spot. Avoid selective polishing of single spots. Be very careful edges before. Here is the danger, due to its small contact surface, it can be used quickly remove all layers of paint. Polish edges only with extreme caution! Then they work in paths perpendicular to the first row and perform a so-called "cross stroke".
3.2 polishing with the polishing machine
Polishing with the machine is quick and easy. The basic procedure is the same as when polishing by hand. Put the pad apply polish and proceed as follows like polishing by hand. Work without pressure, the movement of the polishing machine will do the work for you. A little extra: shoulder the cable and make sure that it does not rub on the surface.
Also use a suitable pad. Generally speaking: the harder the pad, the more material it grinds off. A polishing machine use a hard pad to remove deeper scratches, but may leave visible marks. Soft pads on the other hand, only remove fine layers and thus provide for more shine. Therefore, for deep scratches, work first with a hard pad, then with a soft one.
4. Cleaning, control and repetition
After successful polishing remove apply the abrasive with a clean microfiber cloth, if the surface is large, work with several cloths. Then use a degreasing cleaner, to remove the last remains of the polish.
Check you the result with a bright lamp and assess do it yourself: if there are still scratches, you may be able to remove them with another pass as in 3.1 or 3.2 sanding away. If you are satisfied, the polishing was successful.
The sealing serves as substitute for the microfiber cloth used by the clear lacquer and protects the colored paint. Here, agents based on hard wax are often used. A particularly fine nano sealing creates an extremely smooth surface and makes water and dirt roll off even in the long run.
Look at the instructions for use of the sealing. Most agents are applied like a polish, but with a soft sponge. Apply the sealant, wait for the specified drying time wipe off and clean with a soft cloth. After this step, your paint is free of scratches and shines in new splendor.
There is also combined products, the polishing and sealing in one operation combine. When using a combination product, the separate sealing is omitted and you are already finished after the cleaning in step 4.
Polish your car yourself – costs and effort
With our guide you can polish your car yourself, seal and thus fight scratches. you only need a few tools. The costs usually amount to between 20 and 200 €, depending on whether you buy only polish or also a polishing machine. with a hand polish you are rather in the lower range. The amount of work varies greatly with the car and the degree of dirt, but usually moves between 2 and 4 hours.
Have your car polished in the workshop
Of course you can also have your car washed and polished in the workshop of your choice. some garages are specialized in paint care and treatment in the context of car preparation. They even have special machines and tools for polishing and enhancing your paintwork. Here, of course, you have to expect higher costs. The total cost for the machine polishing in the workshop there are mostly between 200 and 400 €.