How to Polish a Car

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Whether you have a sports car, a commuter sedan, or a minivan, keeping your car looking well cared for gives you a sense of pride. It’s also more fun to get into a car that looks like it just came out of the dealership — and to be seen in such a car, too.
Polishing a car is an essential part of keeping your vehicle looking its very best. If you just want to keep your car clean, you can wash it. But if you’re interested in making your vehicle look sharp and perfect, then you’re going to want to polish it.
Polishing a vehicle is exactly what it sounds like: you polish the paint, to bring out its best qualities, and make the car truly shine. There’s a huge difference between a polished vehicle and a non-polished one, and we’re here to walk you through it.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to polish your vehicle’s paint, polish aluminum wheels, polish aftermarket headers, and polish car glass.

How to Polish Car Paint

The most important part of your car to polish is the paint. That’s what will keep your car turning heads. Polishing your paint can take a little while, but it’s not an incredibly complex process.
Start by parking your car in shaded area. You don’t want any direct sunlight on your vehicle, or the polish won’t work correctly. Next, clean your car with soap and water, being sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards. Cleaning your car is necessary, because it keep debris and contaminants from getting worked into the body of the car while polishing.
Once the car is clean, attach a polishing pad to the polishing wheel. You want to use a soft pad and compound for cars with dark paint, and a stronger pad and compound for vehicle with light paint.
Get the pad damp, apply the compound, turn on the wheel, and begin polishing the paint. Move the wheel back and forth in one spot until the polish disappears, and the paint looks shiny, then move to the next portion, while making sure to overlap. As the compound builds on the pad, rinse it off and start fresh.
Once you’re done polishing, be sure to rinse the car again, and then wax it.

How to Polish Aluminum Wheels

Polishing aluminum wheels is just like polishing paint. The only difference is you need to use metal polish, and a wool pad on the polishing wheel. Otherwise, follow the same process a when polishing paint.

How to Polish an Aftermarket Header

When polishing an aftermarket header, you need to start by removing it, and giving it a very thorough cleaning. After cleaning with a rag or large brush, use a toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies and really get the header clean. After cleaning, to be extra thorough, spray the header with brake cleaner, and wipe it down. Be sure that the header is entirely dry.
Next, spread metal polish over the entire header, and begin to sand it with 1000 grit sandpaper, replacing or cleaning the sandpaper as it gets dirty.
Once you’ve polished the entire header, clean it again, dry it off, and reattach it to the vehicle.

How to Polish Car Glass

Polishing car glass is the same as polishing car paint. The only difference is you need to use glass polish, and polishing pads that are designed for glass. Using a standard pad and compound won’t hurt your glass, but it won’t be strong enough to actually get the job done.
Instead, use glass polish and a car glass polishing pad, and set the polishing wheel to the lowest setting. Otherwise, the process is exactly the same.
Polishing your car is pretty easy and affordable, and you can get all of the supplies at your local auto shop. After you’re done polishing your car, you can follow our guide to detailing the interior to make sure your vehicle is beautiful inside and out.

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