Is it possible to restore the shine to my car?

Some parts of my car look very dull. A few months ago I washed the car and applied to a small section ‘Turtle Wax: Rubbing Compound Heavy Duty Cleaner’ and then applied Wax. The truth is that the paint cleared a bit, but today it is the same as before. Opaque and dull. what dou you recommend? I don’t have an electric polisher.

Here’s a picture from months ago, after applying the compound and the wax to that small section. Don’t know if I did it wrong or what.

Compound is an agressive polish that won’t give a great shine. It needs to be followed by a less aggressive polish and often an even finer polish. All before wax.

Since it appears as though you know nothing about this subject, I’d suggest visiting They sell various products for this but the real value is the instructional videos and info. Far more that the casual waxer needs bht it is all there. There are tons of YouTube videos, too.

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Additionally, if the paint originally had clear-coat over the color, it is possible that the OP took the clear-coat off by rubbing it too much.


Might be better to just have a detailer do the restoration. You just can’t do this stuff by hand and once the paint ages takes more to restore it. The only Turtle Wax product I use is the bug remover, otherwise 3M and Meguires. The only time I ever used rubbing compound is with new paint, or restoring paint. Then follow with polish, glaze, wax, using a buffer.

You need to decontaminate the paint before you start buffing. Use a prep solvant or wax silicone remover and a lot of clean rag to apply the prep solvent and the other to remove it.Do each panels until the old wax and contaminants are gone. Buffing and compounding won’t work if your panels are full of old wax…it will not cut right.Use an orbital palm polisher with a "6 foam pad available at most autoparts stores for under $30 Use a good polish like Megluar’s ultimate polish and enjoy the results.

Good advice above, the rubbing compound, esp if it is applied aggressively can have that effect, best results if you follow that up with some finer polishing compound before applying the wax. I’ve used the rubbing compound without the polishing, but only when I have small spots w/ minor problems, like a couple specks of rust starting to form. What you’ve done looks to be in the way of a good start though. Some common sense is in order about what’s actually possible to achieve of course. It’s never going to look like a new showroom paint job with just rubbing, polishing, and wax. But you should be able to make it look considerably more presentable. I’ve never found the need to use a buffing machine myself. First off, with a buffing machine it is easy to remove too much. In any event I’m not seeking perfect finish, and sort of enjoy doing the work slowly, by hand, relaxing. You don’t have to do the entire car is one session, take your time.

One bit of advice, never use those green cleaning pads on your car, like the ones you probably use to wash dishes in the sink. For cleaning dishes they work great, but are too aggressive for paint. This is something I learned the hard way … lol … There’s another type of that product that’s colored blue, and that seems to be ok to use on older cars, being careful to use mild pressure.

Thank you guys. I listened to all your recommendations and here is the results:

First I washed the car. Then I used a clay bar to remove all the remaining dirt and stuff. Then I bought a cheap Hand Polisher from the brand ProElite for $31.99 and applied some Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound and to be sincere… it didn’t work at all.

The problem was that the applicator which comes like a bonnet style, doesn’t work. So I bought some Velcro and stick it to the hand polisher and attached the 6.5" Griot’s Orange Foam Correcting Pad and that really made a huge difference. All the contaminants came off like butter.

Then I applied some Turtle Wax, the one that comes like a paste. It’s not perfect, but for a used car with 12 years and 145k miles that never had been washed… it really did a big difference.

Thank you guys :slight_smile:


Maybe should have said I use a rotary buffer (actually bought it at a pawn shop) with the Meguires foam buffing pads. Four different pads depending on the stuff being used. They are velcro and work great. Not cheapo though. Wore one set out and think the replacements were about $20 each. Paid $100 for the Dewalt buffer but half the price of a new one. Glad it worked out.

Well you learned a few things, didn’t you. That after picture is worlds better than where you started. Nice work!


That’s some major difference you got there OP. Congrats for sticking w/it. Good info on how you did it as well, thanks.