Do you wash your car regularly but find yourself not satisfied with the results? Everybody has experienced this – a good car wash can definitely make your car cleaner, but when you look closely, the paint will not be as shiny as it once was.

This is a sign that your car needs polishing, which is a way of deep cleaning the paint of your car so that it shines like new again. A lot of body shops and professional detailers already offer machine polishing that will make your vehicle look better, but they are usually very expensive. It’s much cheaper to do this by yourself, and it’s not that difficult — you just need some time.

There are a lot of available polishing kits online, and instead of sorting through hundreds of options, we’ve picked out some of the best ones whether you want to use an orbital machine or you just want to do it by hand. We have picks for all budgets, needs, and skill levels, so you’re sure to find a paint polishing kit that suits you here.

For more information on the best polishing kits for your car, refer to the table of contents.

Updated 03/04/2021 with a new featured product recommendation.

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1. Editor's Pick: TriNova Car Wash Kit Complete Detailing Bundle

trinova car wash kit complete detailing bundle

If you want the best possible results at an affordable price and don’t plan on using a machine polisher, the TriNova bundle is the best option. It includes everything you need for cleaning, polishing and waxing the paint of your car, as well as a clay bar and cleaners and detailers for the wheels, tires, windows and the interior of your car. With this kit, you will have great results on every surface and your car will look shiny and flawless from every angle.

TriNova’s products are known for their high quality – you can expect great results from any of the detergents in the package and from the included microfiber towels, mitt, cleaning cloth, high-power rags and drying towels. As a whole, the kit may seem a bit overpriced, but you get a lot for the money – all of the products together may last you several years.

With all of that said, this kit is really meant for people who are new to car care and detailing and want an easy solution. A machine polisher will definitely yield better results, even though most people (except the pros) will not be able to notice the difference.

Featured Product: The Last Coat’s Full Prep Bundle

The Last Coat’s Full Prep Bundle

Don’t blame us if the shine you get from TLC’s “Full Prep” bundle gets you pulled over for being a distraction on the road. Simply put, the guys over at The Last Coat have put together one of the most complete polishing kits we’ve ever seen, taking their most popular, best-selling products and combining them into one reduced-price bundle that will help take every surface of your vehicle to the next level, give your car an enviable, flawless shine.

The star of the Full Prep bundle is the company’s signature ceramic-based sealant, The Last Coat. In addition to that, you’ll also receive their hybrid ceramic topper, AMP – which works great on all surfaces, especially glass – as well as Iron Off, one of the most effective iron-removing and decontamination products on the market, created to help extend the life of your wheels by removing stubborn iron deposits that reside in brake dust. And, as they say, that’s not all: also included is The Last Soap, the company’s car wash soap, and CeraTrim, a ceramic-powered trim restorer that produces borderline magical results when it comes to reviving faded, sun-damaged plastics.

Rounding out The Full Prep Bundle is TLC’s Bare Slate Clay Mitt, as well as a selection of 400 GSM microfiber towels and a premium microfiber sponge. Needless to say, getting all this in one package is an incredible value. For an additional price, you can also add on an MTM Hydro PF-22.2 foam cannon, allowing you to clean like a true pro.

*This is a sponsored placement.

2. Meguiar's G55048 Ultimate Car Care Kit

meguiar's ultimate car care kit

Meguiar’s products are on top on any list when it comes to taking care of your car, and this kit is no exception. It contains everything you need for cleaning, polishing and waxing the paint of your car, as well as cleaning other parts, like the wheels, tires, and interior. Every product that comes in this kit yields great results – expect your car to look flawless.

The kit also includes high quality microfiber towels, a wash mitt, a foam applicator and a water magnet drying towel that is fantastic at removing water spots. The reason it’s not on the first spot is that it doesn’t include a clay bar, which is best for removing dirt that is stuck in the paint’s micro abrasions and restoring its mirror-like finish.

On the other hand, we really like the Ultimate Black plastic restorer that can make the black plastic, vinyl, and rubber trims appear as new again after the treatment. A well-polished paint is nothing with plastic and rubber parts that look greyish and faded.

All these great products come in a kit that doesn’t cost too much, especially given the fact that these are from a brand as reputable as Meguiar’s, which is known for their high quality. You really can’t go wrong with this kit, either.

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3. Chemical Guys BUF Porter Cable Complete Detailing Kit

chemical guys buf porter cable detailing kit

If you are serious about keeping the paint of your car fresh and shiny, you’ll definitely need machine polishing. This kit includes the Porter Cable 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher that is fully adjustable from 2,500 to 6,800 oscillations per minute (OPM) and that can be used for applying the wax as well. The polisher is easy to work with, even though we suggest getting familiar with machine polishing and how to use the polisher before trying it on your car. Carefully read the instructions or even talk to someone who has used one before.

This kit comes with everything you need for polishing the paint and all of the products are from Chemical Guys, a reputable name in the car care sphere. We can definitely recommend those for amateur use but don’t expect professional grade machine-polishing results. Still, for most people, we think that these products will be good enough – you’ll not get the professional shiny finish, but it will be hard to notice the difference.

4. CarGuys Liquid Wax

carguys liquid wax

Other products on this list may include everything you need to clean, polish and wax your car, but none will provide you with the finish that the CarGuys Liquid Wax will. It has a special formula that will polish the paint of your car and then seal it to prevent more damage. This product should be used 1-2 times a year and comes from a very reputable company, so we can forgive the higher-than-usual price.

And when you see the results, it’s definitely worth the money. It leaves a mirror-like finish on the car that is very close to what you’ll get after machine polishing, with the added bonus that this product can be used even by amateurs without fear of scratching or damaging the paint. On top of that, it’s very easy to use – just wash your car first, dry it, then apply from the liquid wax on the provided mitt and polish your car with circular motions. In the end, remove the remaining wax with the provided microfiber towel.

The best thing about the CarGuys Liquid Wax is that it can be used for polishing other metal surfaces on your car, like chrome details, the rims, and even the windows. It’s an amazing formula that will really get the best out of your car’s paint.

Read More Here’s What You Need to Wash Your Car Like a Pro

5. TriNova Scratch Swirl Remover

trinova scratch swirl remover

This kit doesn’t include a car wash shampoo, interior detailer, or even mitts or towels, but is great at restoring the finish of your car. It’s a specialty product meant for real paint polishing. It can remove small scratches and swirls, something that can’t be said for a lot of other kits. Use it twice a year together with a wax or sealant and possibly a clay bar, and you’ll get a mirror finish on the paint.

Considering the quality of polishing you get with the TriNova product, the price is very low, especially given the quantity you get. We also like that it can be used on all paint finishes, even matte ones, and that it’s good for use with a machine polisher. That said, this is an abrasive compound and should be used with care – don’t use it too long in the same area or you can damage the paint of your car. Be gentle and pay close attention to what you’re doing.

It would have been great if TriNova included a microfiber towel for cleaning the residue of the product in this kit. A foam applicator is included, but other kids include microfiber cloths for removal too.

6. Turtle Wax 50733 Complete ICE Premium Car Care Kit

turtle wax complete ice premium car care kit

If you don’t plan to spend a fortune for cleaning and polishing your car, but you still want it to look cool and shiny, the Turtle Wax ICE Premium Car Care Kit may be a great solution for you. It includes everything you need for keeping the paint of your car fresh and shiny while costing much less than other kits on the market.

Probably the most important product in this kit is the Speed Compound, that is used for polishing the paint of your car, or in other words, removing scratches and leaving a flawless finish. All of that sounds good on paper, but in reality, you’ll not get a finish that’s on the level of the best polishing products on the market. Still, for the money you pay, you will definitely get satisfactory results – the paint will look shinier and cleaner than before, which for most people is good enough.

On top of that, you even get a spray detailer and wax for even cleaner and better-protected paint and interior cleaner that will also protect the surfaces. The provided mitts and microfiber towels are of a good quality as well, especially for the price.

7. Griot's Garage 11620Z Orbital Correcting and Wax Kit

griot's garage orbital correcting and wax kit

For the best care of the paint of your car, you definitely need a machine polisher. In the case of Griot’s Garage 1162OZ kit, you get a clay bar and speed shine, as well as a wax. Thanks to this, you can expect a very high-quality mirror finish after the treatment – your car will look as good as new.

The included machine polisher has a power of 850 Watts and 6-inch hook-and-loop backing plate, which is enough for quick polishing of your car. The included variable speed indexing with 6 different settings helps you to polish the paint if it’s heavily or lightly damaged. The included clay bar can be used after the polishing for a best possible mirror finish.

Griot’s complete compound and wax are also of a very high quality and greatly complement the whole process. Suffice to say, with this kit you’ll get paint that others will admire and that will make you proud of your car.

That said, the price is higher than Chemical Guys machine polishing kit and the performance will be only marginally better. If you are very serious about polishing this may be a great choice, but you may get almost the same results for less money.

8. Armor All Complete Car Care Kit

armor all complete car care kit

Another suitable option for those on a budget – this one is the cheapest here. This kit includes Ultra Shine Wash & Wax that lifts away dirt, a tire protectant, original protectant for long-lasting shiny finish and glass wipes that can keep the windows of your car clean. For the price, you really get a lot of products in one package, but there are not mitts or microfiber towels – you’ll need to purchase them on the side.

As for the quality of polishing and cleaning, don’t expect results like the best polishers and cleaners out there – the finish will definitely not be mirror-like. However, it’s good enough for regular maintaining of a shiny finish of the paint. The glass wipes can definitely keep your windows clean, but they’re only good if the glass is not very dirty. In other words, use them only on the inner side of the windows and for the mirrors, as otherwise, they will only smear the dirt and not remove it.

We may have been very critical of the Armor All products, but for the price you get them, they really do a good job of maintaining the finish of your paint. Just don’t expect miracles.

9. Chemical Guys HOL401 Eco-Friendly Drought-Buster

chemical guys eco friendly drought buster waterless car wash and wax kit

The Chemical Guys waterless solution is a great product for those that want to polish and detail their cars easily and quickly. This kit doesn’t even require a hose or a water source nearby. Just mix the solution with water in the provided sprayer and you are good to go or use the concentrated solution for a very dirty car.

It’s very simple to use as well. Just spray over an area of the car and use the provided microfiber cloth to detail your car. Don’t expect professional polishing results, but for most users, this product can give the shine they want. The best thing is, it protects the paint from further damage thanks to the built-in wax.

All of this sounds very good, but don’t expect the best polishing results. Scratches and blemishes will definitely not be removed – this is more of a product for using after every car wash, and not once or twice a year like a real car polisher. That doesn’t mean that it won’t provide you with the shiny finish – it’s just that it won’t be on the level of some other products.

Still, for ease of use and people that don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning their cars, this is a very good product. Just be prepared to splurge the cash.

10. Adam's Essentials Complete Car Detailing Upgraded Kit

adam's essentials complete car detailing upgraded kit

If you are very serious about maintaining every possible material on your car, Adam’s kit will definitely do the job. It doesn’t just include a high-quality detailer, but it also includes professional car wash shampoo, interior detailer, wheel cleaner, clay bar, VRT Vinyl, Rubber & Tire dressing, H2O Guard & Gloss and a lot of microfiber towels, mitts, and brushes of a very high quality. It even comes with a bucket inside. A real all-in-one solution.

We can safely say that all of the products do their job as advertised. After using all of them on the respective finishes, you can expect to have a shiny new car. And we are not talking only about the paint, but the plastic, vinyl and rubber parts, windows, tires, wheels, interior etc. It even has a built-in clay bar that will give you that shiny, mirror-like finish.

With all of this said, Adam’s kit is really meant for people that are serious about maintaining their vehicle. The price of the whole kit is very high – several times higher than other products on this list. That’s the only reason it sits low on the list – for most people, cheaper kits higher on our list can do an almost similar job.

What is Car Polish and How is it Different Than Wax?

Car polish is actually an abrasive that is used to remove defects from your car’s clear coat. What you may not know is that when you’re polishing a car, you’re actually removing a tiny bit of the damaged clear coat. A quality car polish will remove the damage on your clear coat, from micro scratches and swirls to water marks.

But since polish is an abrasive, you should only use it when you have to remove visible flaws from your car’s finish. Wax, on the other hand, is designed to add a layer of protection to your car rather than removing a small bit of clear coat. You should always consider applying a good coat of wax after polishing your car to protect your hard work.

Why Do I Need to Polish My Car's Paint?

The body and paint on your car are abused all day long and are constantly exposed to things that are trying to damage it. Everything from stones, UV rays from the sun, acid rain, bird droppings, sand, mud, ice, rampaging shopping carts, car washes, etc.

All of this abuse and wear and tear can make your car look dull and old. You will see micro scratches, swirling, water spots, and stone chips on the paint. These imperfections not only ruin the look of your car, but can ruin the paint in the long run. For example, micro scratches can accumulate even more dirt and grime inside, water spots comprised of calcium carbonate can get harder to remove, and the acid from rain or bird droppings can fade the paint away.

A good car polishing, done at least once a year, can help greatly to reduce the damage on the paint and help protect it from further damage. After polishing and waxing, the paint of your car will look shiny, almost like new. Combine all of that with clay bar detailing and you’ll have a car that looks brand new. And the best thing is, taking care of your car is not that hard – all you need is few hours of your time, preferably on the weekend and a good car polishing kit. You take care of the former, and we’ll take care of the latter.

How to Polish Your Car by Kshitij Sharma

The summer is almost upon us and the end to social distancing is nowhere in sight. Though you cannot yet go to the beach or for a full-family barbeque, you can use this time to give your car some TLC. If you’ve been putting off polishing your car or just haven’t found the time or don’t know how to, we can help. Polishing your car removes blemishes, minor scratches, and swirl marks that tend to appear on the paint over time. It also helps your car look good as new and the envy of your neighbors. As the summer approaches, give your car the shine it deserves.

You can approach polishing your car in two ways, you can either do it by hand or use a polishing machine. We highly recommend using the polishing machine as it is easier and faster. But if you want to build your forearms or train to be the next karate kid (or adult), who are we to object.

Machine Polishing

There are distinct types of machine polishers you can use at home. But we recommend that you use the dual purpose orbital polisher that is very beginner-friendly. If you have some previous experience you can even use random orbit polishers which creates little orbits from the momentum of the central rotary system.

People with intermediate experience can even use forced rotation dual-action polishers which combine orbital and rotary motions. But be mindful that this has a higher potential to burn your car’s paint and the full rotary polishers should be handled by professionals only. That is because rotary polishers can heat up due to friction very fast and cause the paint to burn. Having cleared that up, let’s go ahead with the procedure.

  1. First, you will need to ensure that your car has been freshly cleaned and wiped of all debris. Also, it is preferable that you work in a shaded area.
  2. You should cordon off the area you are working at as the polish will likely fling out from the edges and cause a mess. You want to avoid cleaning the rest of the garage afterward. It is also important that you wear a respirator to avoid breathing in any fumes.
  3. Next, take a spray bottle and add a few drops of soft detergent to a bottle full of water and spray the area you intend to polish.
  4. Next, you will need the clay bar, it is like a soft putty that you rub on to the surfaces to ensure the car is free of any residual debris or dust particles or any little thing that can ruin the paint of your car.
  5. Now take your orbital polisher and apply dime-sized polish on to the applicator pad. Never apply the polish directly to the paint.
  6. First spread the polish on the surface you intend to work on without switching the polisher on. Also, remember to work in small sections as the dried polish is very hard to remove.
  7. Next, start with the lowest speeds and ensure the polish is spread evenly. Spread it upwards in a smooth motion and then circle downwards so the polisher overlaps with the previous spread.
  8. Repeat this until only a thin layer of the polish remains on the surface.
  9. Now you need to use a clean microfiber cloth and buff the residual polish to reveal a shiny paint finish. Always remember to keep changing sides of the cloth and once all sides are exhausted, change the cloth for a new one.
  10. Also, ensure you polish in small batches as a dried polish will leave the paint hazy and will be difficult to clean up.

Polishing by Hand

Though this is the more cost-effective method, it is also tedious and time-consuming. Although, we will admit it can be a good workout. As with machine polishing, you will need to ensure the car is washed and cleaned. You will also need to clean the car with the clay bar to ensure there is no residual debris on the surface of the car.

  1. Ensure you have plenty of spare applicators and microfiber cloths.
  2. Add about a tablespoon worth of polish on your applicator and gently apply it to the surface you’re working on in gentle circular motion.
  3. Gently increase the pressure. Also, ensure you press with your fingers and not your fingertips otherwise the polish will not spread.
  4. You will also need to ease off the quantity of product you put on the applicator with each cycle as the initial dollop is to ensure the applicator is wet enough.
  5. Rub until the polish is nothing more than a thin film on the surface. Be warned though this will take a while.
  6. Next, use the microfiber cloth to buff the residual polish off and a shiny surface should reveal itself.

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