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How to Choose the Right Polish, Compound and Polishing Pad. - Lovecars

How to Choose the Right Polish, Compound and Polishing Pad.

We have a huge range or polishes and pads, and it can be confusing to know what the right one is for you.  We often get asked what is the "Best" polish, and that's a hard question to answer as it depends on the paint of the car and how bad the scratches are. Polishing is removing paint, the deeper the scratches or defect the more clearcoat you have to remove to correct it.  Polishing is only removing a tiny micron of clearcoat, but still you want to remove as little as possible to correct the issue.  When in doubt use the least aggressive approach, you can always ratchet up to a more aggressive pad or polish combination as needed.  

Best combination of Polish and Pad for a One Step Polish:

German/European Car brands with hard clearcoat:

Use Autostolz One Step Polish & Compound with the Autostolz Blue Euro Pad.


Japanese/Korean/Asian Car Makes with Soft Clearcoat:

Use Autostolz One Step Polish & Compound with the Autostolz Gold Asian Pad.



American/Australia/Other Car Makes with Medium Clearcoat:

Use Autostolz One Step Polish & Compound with the Autostolz Purple Medium Pad.



Best combination of Polish and Pad for a Two Step Polish:

Step 1: Autostolz Heavy Cut Polish and Compound with the Autostolz White High Cut Pad

Step 2: Autostolz Final Finish Polish with the Autostolz Orange Polishing Pad.


What's the difference between polishes and waxes and glazes?

Many people say they want to polish their car when really what they mean is they want to glaze or wax their car.  So what's the difference? Polish is removing paint/clearcoat, Glazes and waxes are adding layers on top of the paint.  If you want to put something onto your paint to make it look shinier and easier to clean, you probably want a wax, glaze or other type of coating.  We have a great range here   If you have a scratch, or paint that needes correcting, then you want a polish or compound, to remove the top layer of damaged clearcoat or paint, and get back to fresh flat shiny clearcoat / paint.

What's the difference between polish and compound?

They are the same thing, just different levels of aggression.  Compounds are more aggressive higher cut polishes, you can refer to them all as polishes if you like.  

How do you tell the difference between a high cut and low cut polish or compound?

This used to be easy, traditional polishes used bigger chunks to make more aggressive polishes, to you could rub some between your fingers and feel, the more gritty the more aggressive, Heavy Cut felt like sand in toothpaste, Fine finishing felt like body lotion.  But that is old technology, today it can be hard to tell by feel.  Autostolz for example has developed technology to make very fine particles diamond hard, so they cut very well, but are so fine they finish very well - these feel like body lotion but can have a very high cut, when you feel them you can not tell this until you work the polish down and feel it start to grab.  

Do you need multiple steps:

Normally you do not, with the right product and the right technique, a one step polish is normally enough.  For example the Autostolz One Step can take out up to 2,000 grit sand paper marks to a high gloss, so on bad paint you would sand to 2,000 grit then polish, this is much faster than a 2 step polish.  But a 2 step polish is still a good option for some situations, when the highest level of shine is wanted and you would like to use a 2 step process.  You can of course do a 3 or more step polish, however with modern polish technology this rarely achieves a higher finish.  More steps are not always better as it removes more paint.  We recommend doing a test spot with a medium pad and cut and seeing the results, if you need to step up to a more aggressive heavy cut then you can, but you may find that you do not, saving yourself time.  The 2 and 3 step "systems" of the past are based on old technology and ignored different paint hardness.  The new technologies of polishes achieve better results quicker and easier.  

What is the right pad and polish combination:

The polishing result varies on the combination of the polishing pad, polishing liquid, the polishing machine used, your technique, the surface you are polishing, and the conditions you are operating in (eg heat).  

You can change your pad and polish combinations to suit your conditions like changing the front or back gears on a bike to get up a hill.  You don't have to change both the pad and the polish, you can just change the pad and leave the polish the same, and vice versa.  But there are some combinations that are best suited to most situations.

How do I apply polish to my pad?

You will see a lot of different techniques used by polishers, and whatever works for you is great, but we recommend applying 5 - 6 pea sized dots of polish onto your pad, around 6 pea sized dots, and then spreading the polish across the pad evenly.  You want to polish to cover the whole pad, as if there is dry section of the pad without polish this can cause micro abrasions.  With pads that have cross hatching work the polish into the cuts as these will open up when you apply pressure.  You can spread with your finger, but this is much easier, quicker and cleaner with a clean ice block stick or spreader.  Mitre10 sell bulk packs of large iceblock sticks in their craft section.

Why is polish splattering everywhere?

You are probably using too much polish.  Try using less polish, you want to cover all the pad, but only thinly.

Tip: Consider Sanding first on bad paint

If the Paint is really bad consider sanding first.  Most paint will not require this, but if a heavy cut combination is not getting the results you want, maybe you should be sanding to an even defect free finish first and then polishing the sanding marks out.  At the same time remember you want to get the best result you can while removing the least amount of clearcoat/paint.

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