Many customers who come into their local Autobell carwash think that polishing and waxing are one and the same thing. It isn’t, not by a long a shot, although these two different processes can be performed one after the other for great detailing results.
On one hand, polishing improves the appearance of a vehicle’s paintwork either by:
- Using abrasives in leveling out the surface and removing its defects; or
- Filling in these surface defects, usually by using a masking substance; or a
- Combination of both these processes
On the other hand, waxing protects a vehicle’s paintwork through the application of a natural carnauba product (i.e., wax usually in solid paste form). Unlike the substances used in the polishing process, waxes don’t contain fillers and abrasives so these aren’t formulated to improve paintwork per se. But when these are applied to a properly polished surface, these add depth to a vehicle’s appearance, as well as a dewy look.
There’s also a difference between a wax and sealant although these are often confused as the same. Instead, a sealant is a manmade “wax” applied on a vehicle’s exterior surface to protect its paintwork after polishing has been done.
It comes in two forms, namely, as a bottled liquid and a paste. It’s also more durable and provides a higher-quality finish than a standard wax.
But there are also all-in-one products that both polishes and protects a vehicle’s paintwork. These usually contain light abrasives, which reduces defects in the paintwork, and fillers for masking surface imperfections.
The frequency that your car has to undergo polishing depends on several factors including the paintwork’s condition, the type of product used, and the budget for the service. You may want to have your car polished once every 4-8 weeks if it’s paintwork is in good condition; an all-in-one product will work well.
But if it’s in poor condition, your car should be polished twice a year with a heavy abrasive polish; any more than twice a year and your car’s paintwork will be worse for the wear. But if you must polish it soon after it has been polished with heavy abrasive product, then ask for an all-in-one product.
In contrast, you can have your car waxed as many times as you want; waxes and sealants don’t contain abrasives. Just be sure that the waxing services are delivered by trained technicians at the likes of Autobell, as well as check that the wax has been applied after polishing and reapplied after washing your car.