Thinking About Auto Detailing Training? Know the Difference Between Car Wax and Car Polish!

auto detailing training

From buffing to undercoating and even interior reconditioning, it takes many different techniques and tools to make sure that the cars you work on during your career come away from your care in beautiful, shining, showroom shape.

As an auto detailer, you’ll likely find yourself frequently using car wax and car polish. While it may seem like the terms are used interchangeably, both are actually separate products with specific purposes, and each bring different benefits to the detailing work you’d be responsible for in your future career. If you want to become an automotive detailer, read on for a quick look at car wax and car polish, as well as the differences between them.

Car Polish Adds a Healthy Shine and Helps Maintain a Vehicle’s Paint

Once a car has been washed, one of the first things automotive detailers turn to is car polish. Car polish works to eliminate scratches, swirls, dirt, and debris on a car’s surface by using chemical abrasives to remove a thin layer of paint. It also helps restore paint and refresh any shine it may have lost due to oxidation.

Car polish can come in different abrasiveness, depending on how serious you are about removing surface blemishes and imperfections. Some of the modern polish you may encounter after your auto detailing course even uses what’s known as diminishing abrasives, which contains particles that become smaller and finer as they are worked into the paint. No matter the level of abrasiveness, car polish should be applied in a gentle, circular motion to achieve a more even surface and thus the best possible reflection of light.

Professional Automotive Detailers Use Car Wax for a Smooth Appearance

After a car is polished, it’s usually best to apply a coat of wax. There are actually certain waxes you can use on the surface of a car to make it shine. Car wax is highly prized by detailers because it helps enhance the paint’s appearance as well as smooth over any imperfections in the paintwork. Vegetable wax such as carnauba, which is made from Brazilian palm trees, is one of the more popular waxes because of its shiny finish. It is also insoluble in water, which means that it won’t wash away in the next rain, and has a high melting point, so it can still hold in hot summer weather. Carnauba is often combined with other synthetic wax products to help smooth out the surface of a vehicle’s paint, so it may be difficult to find a product that is “100%” pure carnauba wax.

Auto detailers rely on car wax to give a car’s paint an outstanding glossy finish
Auto detailers rely on car wax to give a car’s paint an outstanding glossy finish

Knowing the Difference Is Important in Your Auto Detailing Career

Auto detailing training can teach you how to properly treat the interior and exterior of a car, as well as the right and wrong products you should use to get the appearance you want. Car wax and car polish are both important tools that can help you achieve a glossy, professional finish with the cars you’ll be working on. One of the key things to remember is that polish removes and wax smoothes. It is also crucially important to remember the order in which you apply these products—polish should always be applied first, and then wax should follow to help seal the finish. Car polish also tends to last longer than wax, even up to a year, while wax typically should be reapplied more often.

Students at ATC can jumpstart their detailing careers with the right comprehensive training
Students at ATC can jumpstart their detailing careers with the right comprehensive training

Do you want to take the next steps towards a rewarding auto detailing career?

Contact your local Automotive Training Centre for more information.

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