Wax vs. Compound: The Difference for Those in Auto Detailing Training

Car detailing may seem like a regular car wash, but it is a lot more than that. Car detailing is the process of trying to make a car look brand new. When people are trying to sell their cars, they usually go through auto detailing to get the best value. Unlike car washing, it takes trained professionals to provide this service and give your car a new life. 

Things that are included in a car detailing service include an interior cleaning–every surface will get a good wipe-down and it will have a final spray to make sure it smells great. As for exterior cleaning, we’re talking about a high-powered wash, dry, polish, compound and wax. Here’s a closer look at the differences between wax and compound for a professional automotive detailer. 

Wax a Car to Protect its Paint

Wax is a product used on cars to fill scratches with a protective coat that makes these imperfections less noticeable. Adding wax to a car can also protect it from any unfortunate situations like bird stool, tree sap and acid rain. There are multiple different types of wax such as liquid wax, paste wax, spray wax, fast wax, and more. 

When you become a professional automotive detailing technician you will learn that the type of wax you need depends on the car model and how long you want the job to last. The specific wax performance will of course vary with weather conditions and the kind of paint used on the vehicle’s surface. For example, a typical spray-on wax generally lasts 3 to 4 months on a vehicle. 

Either way, it is important to wash the car before applying wax. Once you have washed the car you can then apply wax on a pad of towel and start applying it on the vehicle, using small and circular motions. 

Waxing a vehicle will help fill scratches and protect its paint for up to six months after your auto detailing training

Compound Gives a Longer Shine to a Vehicle

Compound is more like polish, as you may learn in auto detailing training. The purpose of compound is to minimize scratches but also take care of oxidations, swirl marks, water spots and other blemishes. Compound does the act of removing a thin layer of paint, which then helps to hide any small imperfections that created an uneven surface. To apply compound, you need a polishing machine that has a motorized spinning head. It spreads the cutting compound on the car and also removes a tiny layer of paint to make the vehicle look smooth. In a way, polish and compound both work like small grit sandpaper.

Use a motorized spinning head when applying compound to a car

Their Differences When You Become a Professional Automotive Detailing Technician

The different products used for professional detailing services can get confusing. The main difference between compound and wax is that the former is used before waxing the car. Since the compound is used to smooth the surface of the paint, the wax is added to protect the paint and make the appearance nicer. Another big difference is that wax can protect the paint but will eventually wash away, while compound and polish will help the car shine for longer. 

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