Car Polish vs Wax: difference between wax and polish – Auto Detailing Store

TODAY ONLY 10% OFF with code FIRST10

Car Polish vs Wax: difference between wax and polish

If you have a car and care about it, you should probably be aware about any auto detailing stuff, but even for the most experienced petrolheads/gearheads out there, one thing that makes everybody lost their nights of sleep is which one they should do in their car, polish or wax it? That's exactly what we're gonna focus on this article.

car scratch

First of all, I will say right the way that you should definitely do both at some point of your car's lifecycle. We, as passionate about cars and everything related to it are always searching for even the smallest kind of imperfections on our cars and once we find it, it drives us crazy.

Polish and Wax are pretty much the opposites of each other. Let's start with car wax.

Car Wax

Its main purpose is to leave a layer of protective material on your car's body, helping your vehicle to keep looking good and protected from all kinds of contaminants such as UV rays, acid rains, etc.

Wax is all about protection. You’re putting a protective barrier between the clear-coat and the outside world to protect it from contaminants in the air, UV rays, and water. Rain and sprays from the roads is full of all kinds of contaminants, so the best way to protect your car is to make sure water quickly runs away from your car's body. That's the hydrophobic effect that many waxes have.

Car waxing is so efficient at the hydrophobic effect, that it’s possible to dry a car using specifically water. This is way safer than towels that could have the possibility of scratching your bodywork.

And it doesn't stop there. By waxing your car, make it harder for dirt and dust stick to your car, which means washing doesn’t need to be so frequent and you might even be able to make the car sufficiently clean with a ‘non-contact wash’ like using snowfoam.

And last but not least, if you’ve ever used a car wax before, you’ll also know that it gives the car a nice and shiny finish look by removing scratches and other imperfections.

One important thing to keep in mind is that car waxing should always be the last thing you apply in your car. After washing the car and applying treatments like polish, the wax goes after and protect your work.

It is also recommended that you wax your car at least 2 times a year, maybe 3 depending on the type of driving habits you have, like type of roads, etc.

If you want to look after your paintwork, make car washing way easier and get a little extra shine, you should definitely wax your car.

Car Polish

On the other hand, we have car polish. Many people will mistakenly believe that it's just another word for wax, but, it's not. Car polish is in fact an abrasive compound that will help you remove the top layers of protection on your car (for example the wax itself). But fear not, if done in a very fine and gentle way it won’t destroy your paint, it will fix it.

Polishing your car

Car polish is something that you use to remove the top layer of car's paint. So, if you have scratches on the surface, you can remove them by polishing your car. Just keep in mind that it only works on the top layer of paint and if the damage is deeper than it and actually reaches the color coating, you might have to fix it and paint your car again.

So, car polish should be used before car wax, as it helps to restore auto paint that has lost its shine due to oxidation not protect it, if you wanna protect you should use the wax. Needless to say that in the best of the world you should do both, but if you have light scratches and can just use the wax.


You can use car polish to make sure the surface is smooth and that it will give a good reflection. So basically the polishing comes before the waxing, in order to have the surface nice and smooth you apply the polish and then to keep it looking good and protected you finally apply the wax.