How To Use A Car Polisher

 How To Use A Car Polisher

How To Use A Car Polisher

Once you have been able to pick the right car polisher machine, you need to know how to use a car polisher. It does not matter whether you want to use the hand polisher or the machine polisher, you must know how to use either of the alternatives effectively.

If you do not know how to use a polisher, chances are high that in the process of trying to give your car an awesome detail job, you might actually do some damage to it. On the other hand, you can also choose to get a professional polisher to do the work for you, but this could set you back financially.

We can actually hit two birds with the same stone by learning how to use a car polisher. When you do this, you will be able to do the polishing on your own properly, and at the same time you will save on money that you would have otherwise had to pay someone to do the work for you.

Hand or machine polishing?

From time to time we are asked which one is the better between hand polishing or machine polishing. Of course the most obvious answer is that you are better off polishing by machine. It is faster, and delivers the result you want, without much effort.

Besides, try as hard as we want, our hands are simply incapable of delivering the same results that we can achieve from a machine. Whether you want to compare paint polishing or maintaining the finish, the machine will always win hands down.

Fact: It is impossible for any human to oscillate their hands over the car, at a rate of between 2500 and 6800 oscillations per minute, but a machine can.

Safety measures on how to use a polisher

One of the other questions that we come across from time to time is about the safety standards that are associated with machine polishing. Of course even if you pick the right car polisher machine, if you do not know what to do with it, or how to use it, it will always be a dangerous experience both for yourself and your car.

The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you get the right type of polisher for your car. Ideally, there are three different types of polishers that you can get in the market:

  • Rotary buffer
  • Wax buffer
  • Dual-action polisher (random orbit, and variable speeds)

Rotary Buffer

We recommend this machine for use only by professionals, or someone who has some experience in polishing. It is also a machine that comes in handy when your vehicle has severe paint damage to be corrected.

This particular polisher has a very high spin rate, and if used by an inexperienced person, a lot of damage could be imminent. Other than that, it could also burn through the paint on your car, leaving you with more repair expenses than maintenance.

Wax Buffer

These machines are easily affordable, and you can get them for as low as $50 from the local auto spare store. They are designed with a cloth bonnet, and in as far as the accessories are concerned, there is not much that you have to choose from.

These machines are relatively effective for applying wax on your car, but when it comes to polishing or removing defects, they actually offer little assistance. In fact, most of them just jiggle on the surface of your car, even though they are labelled as variable speed or random orbit – this is actually the perfect example of getting what you paid for.

Dual-action Polisher

DEWALT PolisherThe random orbit, variable speed dual-action polisher is in fact one of the options that we would recommend. With this polisher, you are able to get rid of the following imperfections you’re your car:

  • Isolated scratches
  • Acid rain etching
  • Water spots
  • Oxidation
  • Swirl
  • Damage from bird droppings

This is more than just a polisher, it is also a really good maintenance tool when you need gloss enhancement polishing, pre-wax cleaning or if you need to apply thin coats of car wax, protectant or paint sealant on your car.

Apart from being highly effective, it is also one of the safest tools that you can get for car polishing so far.

For professional detailers, perhaps the portable cable car polisher would be an ideal weapon in your arsenal. Even beginners can work with this particular polisher.

Techniques on how to use a car polisher

machine polishingBefore we begin, perhaps we need to assure you that this is an easy and safe process. You just need to pay attention, and follow the instructions to the latter and you will be good to go. Even in the event that you have never used any polisher before, you can easily pick the right car polisher machine and learn how to work with it over a few trial sessions.

In terms of technique, there is very little you will need to worry about, because so far, most people learn their way around in under 10 minutes. All you need to do is use overlapping motion while running the polisher over the paint on your car.

Remember to do this at a slow speed first, then adjust as you get accustomed to the job.

The following is a basic guide that should help you set the right speed when you are using a polisher for the first time, or even if you are a repeat user:

  • Speed 5 – 5.5: Removing serious defects on the body
  • Speed 4.5 – 5: Removing minor defects and swirl
  • Speed 4.5: Gloss enhancement and pre-wax cleaning
  • Speed 2.5: Paint protection from harsh environmental elements
  • Speed 3.5 – 4: Removing product residue

The speed setting that we have shown you above, is also the procedure that you need to follow when using a polisher. However, you will not necessarily need to use all the 5 steps for all paint finishes. Just use the steps that are appropriate for the specific condition you need to finish for your vehicle.

Polisher tips

The following are some useful pointers that you need to have at the back of your mind when you are still learning to polish your car, especially if you are using a dual-action polisher:

  • Always use a test spot – This will help you know whether the process you are planning to use, and the technique will deliver the results that you desire, before you do the same for the rest of the car.
  • Make sure you consider the paint condition of your car, because this is supposed to guide your choice of polish, polishing pad and speed combination
  • At all times, make sure the pad is level to the paint surface
  • We recommend starting with the least aggressive polish, then if need be, increase the aggression
  • While polishing, always use overlapping motion for the best results. While you are at it, try not to run the machine over the paint surface too fast. This will definitely not get you the outcome you desire.
  • In order to concentrate better on the job and get good results, work on a small area at a time.
  • Using too much polish will not get you good results. To be precise, try and use roughly 3 or 4 small dabs, and if necessary, add more.
  • You should never dry buff your car. If you realize that your polish is thin, or it is starting to become clear, add some more.
  • Experts advise car owners never to buff their car on a hot or warm surface, or under direct sunlight
  • While detailing your car, be sure not to use more than one type of polish on the polishing pad
  • The pads should always be kept as far away from sharp and trim edges as possible
  • This is particularly for the beginners; you should never lift up the pad from the paint when you still have the machine turned on.
  • While working on the body, make sure that you have the cord away from the paint, and over your shoulder at all times.


Just because you are able to pick the right car polisher machine does not always mean that you will know what to do with it. There are so many people who have the best polishers in the market, but are still unable to get the fine shine that they desire. It all comes down to learning how to use the polisher you have.

We have elaborated the three major categories of polishers that you can come across in the market. From here, you can make an informed choice on what you need, especially by considering what you are willing to comfortably spend, and what will work for your car.

We have also shown you 5 of the steps that you need to follow when polishing your car, including the speed settings that you can use. Remember that this might not always be the same for all polishers, since they come from different manufacturers. Also, through constant improvement, the speed settings might not always stay the same.

For this reason, you will be better off checking the manual that comes with the polisher you own, and use it effectively.

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