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Polish or Wax?

Is there a difference in shine? protection? I live in a warm, wet climate, and I would like to be able to protect my car without having to cover it with a car cover. What does the better job in providing shine as well as great UV and element protection for the paint – a polish or a wax? I have used both over the years and am currently using Zaino, but I am looking for other opinions/information. Thanks!

Polish is used to remove fine scratches from the paint finish. Wax is used to protect the paint finish.


I was surprised and amazed to discover that, according to Consumer Reports, some of the least expensive car waxes lasted longer, and provided greater protection, than the expensive brands.

If I remember correctly, Turtle Wax was one of the best. Who knew?

Use any brand of wax or polish you like. They’re all pretty much the same, as far as I can tell.

The most important factor is; is the car in a garage or is it outside?

Thanks for the information. One car is under a carport, but the other is in the driveway.

In a wax look for a product with carnuba (check my spelling)

Just make sure either is compatible with clear coat finishes. Polish only when necessary.

I usually polish and then wax, but that is just because I don’t wax as often as I should. If you wax the car as often as you should, you can get away with not polishing that often. Since you live in a warm climate, you should wax frequently, at least every six months…more ofen if your car is red or black.

They’re two different products…

Polish makes the paint look good…Wax PROTECTS the paint to keep it looking good.

So, generally speaking, a polish does not protect the paint surface? I thought it was just the opposite. I thought a polish provides protection and wax shine with limited protection. ???

Correct…Polish does NOT protect the paint surface…In fact many polish’s will remove any wax. Of course you can buy the Polish/Wax combo…but I don’t recommend it. You’ll get much better results if you use a Cleaner…then Polish…then sealant/wax.

I have to somewhat disagree with my respected and knowledgable friends on this one.

While technically polish is a fine abrasive and wax a protective coating, The terms are being used interchangably for consumer protective coatings for cars. I believe the industry is using the word “polish” as in “to polish” meaning to shine.

I’m going to check this out the next time I’m at Wally World, but I think the terms are being used pretty loosely.