Hand Polishing vs. Using a Polishing Machine

Unfortunately, merely running your car into a car wash every few weeks isn’t enough to keep your vehicle’s paintwork clean and well maintained. This is especially true if you live in an area that’s prone to adverse weather, such as storms or blistering heat. Polishing your car at least once a year should be considered an absolute necessity if it’s not already. But that begs the question – which method of polishing is best? Hand polishing or using a polishing machine?

While those on a budget might instantly side with hand polishing, using a machine to polish your vehicle isn’t just for auto detailing professionals. Both methods have distinct advantages and disadvantages, so it’s best to know which method is right for you. Here are some cases for when to hand polish, when to use a machine, and when polishing might not be required at all.

The Case for Hand Polishing

Most home car enthusiasts will naturally employ the hand polishing method. This is because it’s the most budget-friendly and straightforward way to polish a vehicle. As this particular detailing work will only need to be carried out once or twice a year, most average car owners will see little reason to spend money on an expensive polishing machine.

If your car is relatively undamaged and the paintwork isn’t faded due to sun damage, then hand polishing may be the way to go. This method works best on small surface areas of your vehicle and is arguably safer than machine polishing, as it will be impossible to burn your car’s paint.

The Case for Machine Polishing

While hand polishing is a reliable, budget-friendly and safe method to bring out the shine on your vehicle, it will do little on cars that have been neglected or are otherwise looking worse for wear. A polishing machine uses high speed to thoroughly work polishing pastes into a vehicle’s paintwork, ensuring a higher grade finish by taking care of deeper scratches and faded paintwork that hand polishing simply can’t. Using a polishing machine requires precision and a steady hand due to the nature of how rotary polishers work. If not done carefully, you could inflict serious damage onto your vehicle’s paintwork and even burn through the surface of the paint itself. The upside of this method of course is that it cuts the time it takes to complete the task in half, and when done properly, machine polishing can bring a car’s paintwork back to life, making it look good as new.

The Case for Not Polishing Your Car At All

Although polishing will invariably bring out the very best in your car’s paintwork, there can be too much of a good thing. Ultimately, you should only be thinking about polishing your vehicle if you notice problem spots, marks or scratches on the paintwork. Polishing should also be considered for any vehicle that has been left out in the elements, as this can leave the paintwork of a car looking dull, faded or lifeless after enough time has passed.

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