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Car Polishing Tutorial for Beginners

Machine polishing your car for the first time could be a scary, daunting experience. This blog aims to give you a fast, simple, easy-to-follow method That’s not going to break the bank and get you very good results on your car, particularly if you’re doing this for the first time. So, let’s get stuck into what car polishing is all about.

There are 4 main steps to this process.

The first one is simply Washing your car.


I have done a full video on a safe wash process that you can watch here. If you’re interested in the purpose of this video, though, a highlights reel of some of the important things you might want to consider when washing to prepare for machine Polishing are down below.

1). Use powerful cleaning products, whether it’s a prewash a contact shampoo, or an APC. I recommend the Koch Chemie range as well as being powerful cleaners, They are also very cost-effective. 

2). Make sure you have a good detailing brush as well as a wash mitt is very important to pull out dirt from all the crevices and panel gaps before machine polishing, as well as just using your wash Mitt to make sure you get all of the panels clean.

Step Two is Decontamination.


The word decontamination sounds very impressive when you first start in, but this is an additional cleaning step to remove via chemicals and abrasion forms of dirt and contamination that you cannot get off with the wash mitt or a soft brush. The first thing I’d say with this, if you’re trying to get your car detailed and polished in one day, I think you’re going to need to skip the chemical decontamination and go straight for a clay bar or a clay cloth, and gets stuck in removing these contaminants from your car.

I’d recommend perhaps by default you look at the Chemical Guys Medium Clay Bar or the Black Heavy Clay Bar If you’ve got Heavy contamination to use by. All means use whatever clay bar you feel is best for you. I’d also strongly recommend you get yourself some optimum no rinse or ONR, which is a rinse less wash product that you can dilute down to a clay lube concentrate, which is extremely effective at reducing marring But also won’t break your bank account at the same time, because you can make so much of it for so little money. So, when you’re ready to start playing guys, just section stuff off in your mind. So, like a quarter of your front hood panel, for example, a wing a door, those are the sort of areas you want to work out and then just spray your ONR lubricant over that area.

As you work a section, you’ll start feeling the contamination when you hit it. You’ll also see it on the clay When you inspect the specter and your first few sorts of sets of claying will give you an idea of generally how contaminated the car is.

When you finish a surface or, you know, you’ve picked up a load of contamination, fold your clay, to give you a nice clean surface for the next paths you will find there’s more contamination on the lower sections of the car behind each of the wheels on the car and the back section. So try and be consistent and thorough as you clay your way around the car.

Next up, it’s an optional step.What-to-Tape-on-a-Car-before-Polishing-Featuring-Meguiars-Professional-Masking-Tape

You can choose to mask up any areas of the car that you think might get damaged by the polishing process. Or there’s a risk that Polish will get stuck in certain areas and dry. For example, the rubber seals around the doors, the rear emblems. Front Badges any grills areas like that headlight you can use masking tape to help protect the car from the polishing process.

The Third Step is Polishing.


Now, guys I’d recommend that you use the Rupes LHR 15 Mark 3 with a five-inch backing plate, In terms of our Polish or compound choice, we’re going to be using Scholl concepts S20 black, which is a one-step compound. And in simple terms, that means we’re just using that one product to deliver a soft cut and our finish. And we’re gonna be pairing this abrasive up with the Chemical Guys green hex logic, mid-range pads, for multiple stage correction. I’d recommend you use Scholl S3 gold XXL with chemical guys, yellow or orange cutting pads. And then for finishing, I’d recommend with that combo You use Scholl concept S40 with the chemical guys white hex logic pads by the quantum or normal hex logic.

So we’re nearly ready to get going. So the first thing we’ve got to do guys is shaking the living bejesus. Uh, the Polish to make sure we mix it all up properly. Very important that we use a fresh pad, We’re going to put four pea-Sized blocks of Polish on the pad. Then every subsequent set, after that we’ll use three, we then dab our product around the two by two section of a panel with the machine off in with the machine on the slowest setting, we turn it on and we spread those fin footprints of product evenly over Off section of panel that we’re going to Polish. This is your opportunity to find out you’ve used too much product, It should generally be a thin film.

car Polishing GIFWhen you’re ready to start setting the speed dial between four and five on your machine and turn it ON. We’re then going to move the machine in a crosshatch pattern, going very slowly and applying just gentle pressure on top, literally the weight of your hand on top of the machine and moving the machine reasonably slowly, just to allow it to actually affect and work those abrasives properly.

All we need to focus on here is making sure we maintain a roughly constant speed and we achieve around 50% overlap with the existing law that I’ve just polished. There are not too many other things to manage Guys. These machines are not prone to stalling. You seem to slow down a little bit. When you go over raised edges or you put too much pressure on one area of the pad when it’s not level the product or compound we’re using is very oily. So you won’t get much Dusting from that. So really you’re just going to be keeping that machine level and work in a slightly kind of robotic, consistent method. One really useful tip is to try and keep your back straight.

So once you finish your first pass of going up and down inlines with 50% overlap, you’re going to change directions and go left and right with the same overlap, once you’ve done one up and down pass and one left and right pass, that is like a full sweep. At that point and then you can see just navigating to a little section of the bonnet it is perhaps a little bit more awkward. , there are lots of difficult areas to Polish on cars, and there are lots of hard areas. Most times you see a demo of polishing, it will be on the nice, easy hood area. And, you’ll very rarely see people demoing On very intricate, awkward areas to hit and Polish. 

we are not trying to put any pressure on that Raise the edge, although it’s not heavier. And not working with aggressive kind of rotary polisher with pressure and speed, where I’m overly worried about burn through and stuff like that. So this is the benefit of this particular machine and this particular method here is that it’s very safe, but it’s a relatively slow way to kind of cut back clear coat, but that’s good when you first start. Over a period of roughly three to four minutes Like I said before, then that is your polishing set. And after that third or fourth pass you, then stop the machine, and then we’re going to show you what to do next.

And there you can simply see the leftover Polish residue, which will still be loose, oily, and hasn’t dried down. To remove the Polish residue I recommend the inter detailing free 50 yellow edgeless plush, buffing cloths. This cluster is incredibly soft and absorbing you just work them with a four-way fold in gentle circles, picking up 99% of that spent product first. If you then want to inspect your work more closely, you can do a quick, further IPA and water wipe down using a clean side of the microfiber cloth after each set of polishing.

Guys, it is really important to clean out your pad, make sure the surface of the pad, You can see all the little kind of holes rather than it getting kind of caked up with them, spent Polish. So simply set the machine to a sensible level, use the soft bristle toothbrush, fire the machine up and just stroke the pad reasonably gently and you’ll see that product start to come out of the pad.

Final Step: Inspect Work.

Inspecting Polishing Work With Torch

After the IPA is wiped down, you’re ready to go and inspect your work. If budget Isn’t an option You can go for an elite mode, Sealy workshop inspection torch, or even a very cheap pocket led torch. Thoroughly check the area you worked out and if you find any area which needs improvement do another pass right there. we’ll probably find other scratches and defects If we look hard. there will be reasonably deep scratch that the polishing hasn’t removed, this is the reality of polishing guys.

You do not go in with a single stage and achieve perfection, which we’re going to talk about in a second, but it also gives you a rough idea of what to expect, because every paintwork is different, there is hard BMW paint and medium or soft paint like in Honda cars. So, the products and technics need to be selected according to the paint and the level of defects that needed to be corrected.


Instantly make flawless paint, So that’s the one thing I want you to take away if you’re doing for this for the first time expectation you can drive towards perfection, guys by doing set off the set. When you make the decision, you’re going to do more than one set, then immediately the one-step one stage one-hit polishing approach is obviously not going to give you the best results. It’s a starting point, The biggest thing with it is, are a massive time-saving without having to invest in multiple pads and multiple compounds. So if you’re using a heavy cutting compound with a finishing Polish, you double the amount you’ve got to spend on products, and you’ve also got to spend on pads to support those. So, of course, there are going to be limitations, but the benefits are that it’s realistic that you can actually Polish your car in one day and you can still take it to whatever level you want to with this particular approach. It just might take you a little bit longer if you’re going to do multiple sets. And if you’re doing beyond two sets, it becomes very unviable, really where you should be using heavier compounds and finishing polishes because it’s more efficient and you’ll get better results, but it’s going to take you more time and it’s going to cost you a lot more money.

If you haven’t taken the plunge into machine polishing your car, unlocks a massive amount of what detailing is all about There is nothing to be scared of. Take your time and enjoy. And if you’ve got any questions, please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Thank you for reading this article, Happy Detailing.