Best Car Polish

In this article we are going to review the top 10 buyer rated car polish that is currently available on the market. We have based these ratings and reviews from customer feedback that we have found online, from a variety of automotive websites.

Car polish is primarily used to create a deep glaze or a deep shine on your vehicle. Polish works particularly well on any dark colored car. For white or light colored vehicles there really is not a great deal of point in polishing them at all.

Car polish creates what is termed a glaze. In essence this is about lifting and enhancing the color in the vehicle.

If for example you have washed, dried, used a clay bar and a compound on a white or light coloured car, it will look really good. If you then added a polish to that, you would genuinely struggle to see any difference.

Repeat the same process with a black or dark coloured car, and you will really notice a huge difference in the sheen. Car polish really brings up what is termed the top clear coat layer of paint. The difference is striking in dark colored cars, but barely noticeable in light colored cars.

Car Polish vs Car Wax

There are 4 basic steps to properly caring for your car paint. These are:

  1. Rinse, wash & dry
  2. Clay bar and compound (if required)
  3. Polish the car
  4. Wax the car

The first stage is pretty obvious in that you should rinse your car with water, then wash it with a shampoo, rinse it off and then dry the car with a microfiber cloth. About twice a year you should also use a clay bar to remove bonded contaminants. You can read here about why and how to use a clay bar.

You can also, after you have used the clay bar, then use a compound to remove swirl marks and light scratches if you have any of those. You can read here about compounds and why you should use them.

Once those two have been completed then you can polish and then wax. If you are not using the clay or compound then you can follow steps 1, 3 & 4 and skip out that step.

If you own a white car or a lightly colored car you can also skip the polish step as I have explained and go straight to the wax stage.

Car polish delivers the sheen, and car wax offers the protective coat. That is the key difference between a car polish and a car wax. Although a car wax will give your car a shine, that is not its main purpose. Its main purpose is to protect the car and the paintwork.

You can click here if you want to read about the best car wax for cars.

So under normal circumstances a light coloured car needs to be rinsed, washed, rinsed again and then dried. Then apply a coat of good quality wax and you are good to go. (Use the clay bar twice a year)

With a dark coloured car it needs to be rinsed, washed, rinsed again and then dried. Then apply a coat of good quality car polish and then a coat of quality wax and you are good to go. The video below helps explain the difference between a car wax and a car polish.

Just below we have created a list of the top 10 car polishes. We have done these by buyer rating. Listening to what real life buyers say is very important as they have spent their hard earned cash, and also taken time out of their lives to leave a review. They are worth reading and understanding.

Top 10 List of Car Polish

  1. Meguiar’s M205 Mirror Glaze Ultra Finishing Polish
  2. Meguiar’s G19216 Ultimate Polish
  3. Chemical Guys GAP_VKIT_101 V36 Optical Grade Cutting Polish and V38 Final Polish
  4. Nu Finish Liquid Car Polish
  5. Mothers 07100 California Gold Pure Polish
  6. Adam’s Revive Hand Car Polish
  7. Meguiar’s G18116 Clear Coat Safe Polishing Compound
  8. Chemical Guys GAP_106_16 All-In-One Polish + Shine + Sealant
  9. Adam’s Correcting & Finishing Polish Combo
  10. Turtle Wax T-374KTR Color Magic Car Polish

Underneath we have done a review and comparison of each car polish. As you can see though the top branded car products from Mothers and Meguiars are included in my list above.

No 1 Car Polish Choice – Meguiar’s M205 Mirror Glaze Ultra Finishing Polish

This is one of the best selling car polish options from Meguiars that is currently available on the market. I guess that it is why it is top of our list, and it really does sell a lot, with a very high buyer satisfaction rating of 94%.

This polish provides a deep gloss and rich, swirl-free results. In fact it also helps a lot to permanently remove swirls and light defects from all paint. Please note though that we are talking about very light swirls. The end result when used on dark coloured vehicles is that you get a deep reflection and a high gloss look finish.

Buyers say it is easy to wipe on and also easy to wipe off. It can be used by hand, or if you prefer to use a rotary buffer This product usually retails around $10-12

What Buyers Liked

  • 82 out of 100 buyers gave this a full 5 star review
  • Buyers said that you get the best results if you use a car polisher rather than doing this by hand
  • The M205 does a very good job at removing and getting rid of light swirls
  • Buyers say that this doubles up as a compound and a car polish

What Buyers Didn’t Like

  • Only 2% of buyers have give this product a low rating
  • A small number of buyers said it left hazy spots and was quite hard to remove by hand


No 2 Car Polish Choice – Meguiar’s G19216 Ultimate Polish – 16 oz.

This is my own personal preference. It is classed as a pre-waxing glaze that really does prepare the surface for wax. It also really brings out a deep reflection with a very high gloss. This product contains conditioning oils which add depth of color.

Itis not surprising that this is high on my list given the very high buyer satisfaction rating of 90%.

It is safe and on all glossy paints, including clear coats, and can be used by hand or a Dual Action Polisher.

This product usually retails around $6-10

What Buyers Liked

  • 74 out of 100 buyers gave this a full 5 star review
  • Buyers said this works best if you apply it, and then buff it off without letting it dry – do small areas at a time
  • Buyers say it will not remove below surface scratches but does a really good job on lighter scratches
  • Buyers say this is a good workable polish

What Buyers Didn’t Like

  • Only 3% of buyers have give this polish a low rating
  • A small number of buyers said hard to use this one by hand as it dries very quickly

 


No 3 Car Polish Choice – Chemical Guys GAP_VKIT_101 V36 Optical Grade Cutting Polish and V38 Final Polish

This is I believe the car polish with the longest name if nothing else. Overall buyers like this car polish and have given it an average 88% buyer satisfaction rating.

The manufacturer describes this as an ultra refined cutting polish, designed to remove moderate to heavy paint defects and imperfections. It has also been designed to give perfect results without having to do any filling in or covering up. You can use this by hand or by using a rotary or a DA machine.

This product usually retails around $30. That is one of the more expensive polishes on the market.

What Buyers Liked

  • 80 out of 100 buyers gave this a full 5 star review online
  • Buyers said this is a good choice if you need to cut a little deeper than most polishes to get rid of sub-surface defects
  • Most buyers stated that there is little to no residue when you are finished polishing
  • Buyers recommended taking your time and this polish will work wonders
  • Almost every buyer recommends using this with a dual action polisher

What Buyers Didn’t Like

  • 6% of buyers have give this a low rating
  • A small number of buyers said you can get just as good a result with a cheaper polish


No 4 Car Polish Choice – Nu Finish Liquid Car Polish

This polish has been around for a very long time indeed. Overall buyers rate this polish with an 89% buyer satisfaction rating so it is right up there with the best of them. It has featured and been rated as the number one car polish on the market by leading consumer magazines.

This polish contains no wax at all, and can also be used to protect boats, motor cycles, cars and even airplanes. According to the manufacturer this is one of the easiest to apply and remove, and they say that is down to the zero wax content.

This polish retails around $5-10

What Buyers Liked

  • 72 out of 100 buyers gave this a full 5 star review
  • This polish has been around for over 25 years and many car owners will not use anything else
  • Most buyers apply this twice a year and boast of great results

What Buyers Didn’t Like

  • 5% of buyers gave this polish a low rating
  • A few buyers said that it was very hard to buff off by hand


No 5 Car Polish Choice – Mothers 07100 California Gold Pure Polish

This is from the popular Mother’s brand and this one has a buyer satisfaction rate of 88%. As you can see that is a solid review, which they have maintained for quite a while.

They recommend using this once or twice a year to maintain your vehicle’s paint and look. They also claim that this helps smooth the edges of larger imperfections and removes small scratches. Like any good polish should, this one helps prepare paint for waxing,and gives a smoother look and cleaner vehicle surface.

What Buyers Liked

  • 72 out of 100 buyers gave this a full 5 star review
  • Many buyers said that this polish is very easy to use, even if you choose to do this by hand
  • Really does bring a real shine to your paintwork
  • Quite a few buyers said that after using this, it made the car look as if it had been repainted.

What Buyers Didn’t Like

  • Only 2% of buyers gave this a low rating
  • A couple of buyers said this polish was too mild to be effective


No 6 Car Polish Choice – Adam’s Revive Hand Car Polish

This product is very new to the market so will be one for us to watch. There are not a ton of reviews as yet, but we will update this section when more appear. At the moment the reviews are pretty good though. Overall buyers gave this polish an average 88% buyer satisfaction rating.

This is classed as a low abrasive polish and that makes it a very good choice for newer cars. Some polishes can be very abrasive and wear away the top clear lacquer coat of protective paint on your car. With this one you will not have that worry.

This is also a very good choice for those who want to polish by hand. This is a good choice if your paint is flawless, but just seems to lack that lustre. It will really help restore that ‘new paint’ shine and enhance gloss.

This product usually retails around $20

What Buyers Liked

  • 90 out of 100 buyers gave this a full 5 star review
  • Buyers like the finish but they do say clearly that this works best on cars with only minor sub-defects

What Buyers Didn’t Like

  • No buyers gave this a low rating
  • We will update if anything changes


No 7 Car Polish Choice – Meguiar’s G18116 Clear Coat Safe Polishing Compound

Like the one above this is classed as a “safe” polish.  Overall buyers gave this polish an average 86% buyer satisfaction rating. This product usually retails around $5-10 so one of the more cheapest products.

This polish has been designed to safely and quickly remove any type of light swirling, hazing, light scratches, and other light below surface defects. Please note carefully that as this is a safe polish it will not work on deeper types of scratches.

It contains certain polishing oils to help restore brilliance and a rich, glossy appearance to dull paint finishes. As any good polish should this then also prepares a very clean surface while boosting gloss and shine before applying a wax.

You can feel safe to use this on all glossy paints and clear coats. This is a great choice for hand use.

What Buyers Liked

  • 66 out of 100 buyers gave this a full 5 star review
  • Many buyers said this was good for getting rid of light swirl marks and water spots
  • Buyers said this did a highly effective job on oxidation removal
  • Most buyers were impressed with the shine

What Buyers Didn’t Like

  • Only 3% of buyers have this a low rating
  • A few buyers said this was too weak a polish and although it was good at the lighter marks, it was no good at the heavier markings


No 8 Car Polish Choice – Chemical Guys GAP_106_16 All-In-One Polish + Shine + Sealant

Coming in at number 8 on our car polish list is another option from the Chemical Guys. Overall buyers gave this polish an average 88% buyer satisfaction rating. This product usually retails around $12-18 depending on which size you decide to buy.

This one is slightly different as it also contains a sealant as well as a car polish.

It is worth noting that this polish is silicone free. It is classed as a high gloss final polish. It has been designed to remove 500-3200 grit sand scratches from the surface . It produces an exceptional shine, and is also effective at removing light scratches, key scratches, and most imperfections, while restoring color and shine.

Overall it leaves a classic showroom shine and is body shop safe.

What Buyers Liked

  • 63 out of 100 buyers gave this a full 5 star review
  • Most buyers said this worked very well as a cleaner and a sealant

What Buyers Didn’t Like

  • 8% of buyers gave this a low rating, and that is starting to get a little high for our liking
  • Some buyers say that it failed to deliver on the deep shine that they were looking for
  • A few buyers said they were disappointed as it failed to remove light swirl marks


No 9 Car Polish Choice – Adam’s Correcting & Finishing Polish Combo

With this combination you do get two types of polish, a correcting polish and a finish polish. That does in my opinion sound like you need to do twice the work. I think that is reflected in the average 82% buyer satisfaction rating.

This product usually retails around $35-40 and that is at the higher end of the price point range for a car polish.

This product has been designed to restore old and faded paintwork, and is classed as an abrasive polish.

This combination works best with both foam and microfiber polishing pads on a car polisher. You could use this by hand but it would take a lot of work and effort. This is an abrasive polish designed to restore even the most stubborn of paint finishes.

That does make it faster for you to use but to get great results you do need some type of car polisher. Even then you do need to know what you are doing. The polish cuts really well.

The polish is backed with the Adam’s 110% satisfaction guarantee!

What Buyers Liked

  • 72 out of 100 buyers gave this a full 5 star review
  • Buyers seemed to use this product on older cars or those that are in rougher shape
  • Most buyers said this was really good if your paint surface was really in poor condition

What Buyers Didn’t Like

  • 11% of buyers gave a low rating and that is high for dissatisfaction
  • Some buyers said this had not got enough cutting ability, and also caked on to the paint


No 10 Car Polish Choice – Turtle Wax T-374KTR Color Magic Car Polish

At number 10 on our list we have this Turtle Wax option. According to the buyers this one leaves a a deep, brilliant shine and provides long lasting protection. The manufacturer states that this is an advanced blend of polishes, dyes and pigments that help fill in light scratches and swirl marks.

Overall buyers gave this polish an average 74% buyer satisfaction rating. This product usually retails around $10-15

What Buyers Liked

  • 51 out of 100 buyers gave this a full 5 star review so not as high as any of the other products on this list
  • Works well on small and light scratches
  • Buyers said this works pretty well on dark colored cars

What Buyers Didn’t Like

  • 14% of buyers gave this a low rating
  • Those buyers said that it was not that good at scratch removal and barely covered even light scratches.


Why You Should Use Car Polish?

Using any type of car polish is or can be a complete waste of time, unless you are prepared to do some preparation work. The secret to a deep lustre shine on your car, is to do all of the prep work first. That can be time consuing but it does bring greater long term benefits.

Using a clay bar removes those firmly bonded surface contaminants. Some car owners will also use a specific tar remover. Those products then leave the car surface very smooth.

The defects that sit below the paint surface are removed by polishing. Just to be clear polishing is a term for any process that removes or masks paint defects and really help enhance the surface gloss in preparation for the addition of protection. (wax)

More than any other term, the polishing step is often misunderstood by many car care enthusiasts. It is a step that is also skipped a lot as well. That is simply down to the fact that people don’t understand the difference between a car wax and a car polish.

Manufacturers are also very much to blame for this as they often advertise their products as both a polish and a wax. Polishing does take work, as does using a clay and to be honest, most car owners don’t really have the time to spend either.

The reality is that using a clay bar only needs to be done about twice a year. Car polishing should be done every couple of months. The effort in doing that will do wonders for your car in terms of shine, and also in terms of protecting the body work

How Does Car Polish Really Help?

The next time you have time to look at your car body paintwork, have a really good look. Try and see if you can notice these sub-surface defects. It does take a little training of the eye, but once you figure it out, then you will quickly start to see the benefits of polishing a car.

These defects are any forms of damage that have cut into the uppermost layer of paint. These are things like those annoying swirl marks, light surface scratches, stone chips, water spots and acid marks caused by bird droppings and insect remains.

I know with my own cars that the most popular of these is the amount of stone chips that I get on the front end of my car. Those along with swirl marks and then light scratching, make up the most of the sub defects I have described above.

It is easy enough to explain stone chips and the reality is there is very little that you can to prevent those from happening, other than avoiding gravel or stone pathways. It is inevitable though that you will pick up stone chips on any car.

Swirl marks and water spots are almost always the result of a poor washing technique. If you have ever run your car through an automatic car wash, then for sure you will have picked up swirl marks from the large brushes that they use.

What many people don’t realise is that even using a traditional sponge will cause a lot of swirl marks. That is because a sponge can not lift dirt and dust particles safely away from painted surfaces. Those particles stick to the sponge, and they then get moved around the paintwork on the body of your car.

That is what causes those very fine scratches.

Here is a very useful video on how to polish a car.

Understanding Car Paint on a Car

In the factory paint is applied to cars in three coats:

  1. Base Coat – a primer
  2. Paint Base Layer – a layer of flat color
  3. A Clear Coat –  this is a top coat of clear lacquer

On most vehicles the top lacquer coat is about twice as thick as the base layer of paint. That top coat is designed to improve the appearance of the finish and also provide environmental protection.

The sub-surface defects I described earlier happen when they penetrate this top coat. If that is the case then they can be corrected by using a good quality car polish, like those described on our list above.

If any of these defects have broken through the top layer and damaged the pain surface, then polishing will simply nor help at all. Sadly if you want to correct that problem, it will mean a partial respray, and that is never cheap.

To test and find out if that has happened simply run your fingernail over a defect and if it catches, even a little bit, then the chances are it is too deep to be corrected by polishing alone.

Polishing by hand can be done, but I do assure you that is is manual hard work. The end result will not be as good either compared to using a polishing machine. It is still better than doing nothing though. With the hand you will be able to get rid of swirl marks, but that is as good as it gets.

Using a polishing machine is a better option, but be warned it also comes with its own problem. If you over use a polishing machine, or use it too often, then over time you can easily remove the depth of your lacquer top coat.

It is very good at removing all serious sub-surface paint defects, but don’t get carried away.

 

Steps to Great Car Care

Using a clay is one of the five basic steps to complete car care. There are 5 basic steps if you want to have your vehicle feeling smooth and with a great deep showroom shine. I have listed those below.

  1. Always rinse, wash and dry the car first
  2. Use a clay bar and then a compound to remove contaminants and swirls
  3. Polish You Car to a brilliant high gloss. You only really need to polish dark colored cars
  4. Wax your car as this is what seals the car and protects the paint surface.(Click here for the best car wax)
  5. Detail your car – maintaining the car, so use a quick detailer and microfiber cloth for fast removal of contaminants

If you are a car enthusiast or just someone who wants to look after their car, then a wash and wax should be done every couple of weeks. Then keep a detailer handy to top this up if your car starts to pick up general dust and dirt.

About twice a year complete the 5 step process shown above and your car will always look fantastic.