Car Polish VS Wax: Know the Difference

Has someone’s car ever passed you and left you wondering, ‘man, what a shimmer! The paint job on that car is beautiful!’ Well, it happens to every one of us from time to time. You could quite obviously tell that it was an older car. Maybe it is a classic. Who’s to say? It may even have been a new car. You see, a new car always comes with shimmer, an outstanding gloss that is characteristic of polishing. It must make you also wonder: How do they do it? How do they keep it that way?

It must be car wax. Or is it car polish? Are car wax and car polish even the same thing? It could be, but is it?

We’re here to help you figure out this rather simple conundrum. It is quite common for many people to confuse car wax with car polish. Surprisingly, manufacturers do it too. Most commonly, they refer to ‘wax’ as ‘polish.’ They are right in a way, but not entirely.

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Car Wax

Car wax creates a layer of protective material on your car. This layer has several benefits. First, it makes your car look good, giving it that noticeable shine or gloss. Second, it protects your vehicle from all sorts of impurities and contaminants. Many waxes in the market will even protect your car’s paint from harmful Ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Many of you are already familiar with carnauba wax or simply ‘Brazilian wax.’ It is the most common form of wax that many manufacturers use to make car wax. It is entirely plant-based, yet ideal for the job. Why?

Carnauba wax doesn’t dissolve in water. No matter how much rainfall you experience, it will always remain on the surface of your car. Amazing, right? Not nearly enough yet. Carnauba wax melts at an incredible 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Even on a scorching summer day, it will not melt or drip off your car. The most appealing thing about it is the excellent glossy finish it leaves on your car.

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As you drive, your car will get minor scratches from contact with sand particles and other natural elements. You may even pick up a few dents. Not to worry, Waxing mitigates this problem. A thin layer of wax will protect your car paint from a majority of scratches you would have otherwise collected. It will do an impressive job of concealing any abrasions your paint job may have.


Waxing your car reduces the cost of maintaining it. It especially comes in handy when you lease a vehicle from a dealership. Dealerships always require you to bring back their car in good condition. They will inspect the car for scratches, which tend to be part of the wear and tear car experience on the road. A good waxing job will reduce these costs for you.

Easy to Apply

Unlike what you’d assume, applying wax on your car is quite easy. All you need is a can of carnauba wax and a soft rug. Once you have washed and polished your car, applying wax is pretty straightforward. Many experts suggest that you should wax your car at least twice or four times a year. That isn’t as tedious as you might have thought.

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Car Polish

Car polish is quite the opposite of wax. It is not an alternative name for wax, so henceforth, remember not to confuse the two. Polish is an abrasive material that removes the top layers of protection on your car paint. For this reason, it is fine and gentle on your paint. You can use car polish to ensure that the surface of your car is smooth enough to give a good reflection.

While car polish will remove dirt, grease, scrapes, and scratches from your car surface, it will not offer any protection. Consider it a way to prepare your car for waxing, and you should be careful not to polish too much. Doing so will take off too much paint from your vehicle and expose its undercoat and primer.

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Enhances Appearance

Polishing enhances the appearance of your car. A good polish will usually have diminishing abrasives that become finer as you polish your paint job more. It removes significant scratches and oxidation, leaving your paint job with a clean, smooth finish

Removing Dirt

There is some dirt that an ordinary car wash cannot remove. It could be oxidation, dull painting, scratches, or swirl marks. Merely waxing your car will not restore the finish you desire. Polishing will remove these imperfections and prepare your car surface for waxing. Polishing also removes dead insects and asphalt that gets caught up on your car paint.

You should polish your car at least twice a year. It is not a rule written in stone, however. It entirely depends on the conditions of your car experiences. You might need to polish your car a lot sooner. For example, in the case of bitumen getting stuck on your paint job due to road works and maintenance, you will have to polish it as soon as possible. Don’t let it stay there.

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Wrapping Up

From this short description, we think you can now tell the difference between car wax and car polish. Earlier, we mentioned that manufacturers usually get it wrong. To understand the difference, we suggest you look at the label and identify the contents of the polish or wax. Often, car polishes will not contain any wax. Car wax, on the other hand, has a label that identifies the type of wax used. Don’t worry so much about it, however. Carnauba wax tends to be the industry standard.

We humbly suggest that you stay away from any products that claim to both polish and wax your car. Polishing and waxing are different processes, and one product cannot quite get both of them right. Go for polish if you need to polish your car. Go for a wax if you intend to wax your vehicle. The results of adequately polishing and waxing your car are stunning. After treating your vehicle to a proper polish and wax, you’ll have people turning heads after you too.

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