Is It Necessary To Polish A Car Before Waxing (Yes & No)

Is It Necessary To Polish A Car Before Waxing (Yes & No)


Have you ever wondered if you were missing a step before you waxed your car? Or maybe even wasting your time with unnecessary effort. The following article will give you all the details for you to decide if you actually need to polish your car before waxing.

Polish and Wax: What’s the difference?

When you are polishing your car, you are actually using a moderate abrasive to remove a fine layer of damaged paint. This will minimize the appearance of scratches and swirls on the surface of your car. Whenever you polish, you must use a wax to seal in your work. The polish takes off any wax that was already on the car leaving your car exposed to the elements.

When you are waxing your car, you are adding a protective layer onto your car’s surface. Waxing your car will leave a beautiful shine as well as maximize the time between washes. Good car wax will also help your paint last longer. 

Car Wash Scratched My Car! What To Do Now?

Do I need to use car polish before I wax?

The quick answer is not necessarily. However, you should inspect your paintwork prior to waxing the car. If your vehicle has swirls, tiny blemishes, sun damage, or scratches, it would be best to go ahead and apply polish to your car. If you don’t apply polish when your car has these damages, your car may have long term damage to the paint and the defects will be extra noticeable under the shine of the wax coating. You should also apply polish to your car if oxidation to the paint has occurred. The oxidation will make auto paint lose its shine, which a coat of car polish can fix and restore the paint to a nearly pristine condition. 

If your vehicle doesn’t have these damages, it isn’t necessary to polish the car. This will ultimately ruin your paint job. Due to the car polish being mildly abrasive, you do not want extra stress on a paint job that is brand new or scratchless. The car polish will add some minor scratches that you may not have had before.

How often should you polish and wax your car?

You should use a car polish (at the most) seasonally if your car undergoes significant wear and tear. Realistically, most people don’t think about polishing their car this often and that’s okay. If your vehicle doesn’t need the car polish, then you do not have to polish it. 

It is recommended that you wax your car once every three months. This is what is required for consistently having a perfectly waxed finish. It is important that you don’t wax your car too often because then your car will get a cloudy finish with a waxy build-up. 

Vehicle Paint Layers & Scratches

Is waxing the best choice?

If you are looking for a coating to protect your vehicle, you want the best. What if I told you that waxing a vehicle isn’t the best choice if you’re looking for a longer-term fix? A paint sealant such as Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant would be the better choice than car wax. If you were to compare the two products, you would find that the sealant lasts for 2 years while car wax only lasts for 30 days. Two years may sound hard to beat, however, if you used a ceramic coating such as Adam’s UV Ceramic Paint Coating you can extend the life of your protectant for much longer. This coating has the ability to protect for over 5 years which is a much better bargain than a car wax.

Why is a Ceramic Coating better than a car wax?

A ceramic coating is better than car wax in many ways, one of which includes durability. The durability of a ceramic coating is better at protecting in terms of heat, U.V rays, and other environmental hazards. 

When waxing a car, you are essentially placing a solid product on the surface of the car which thus causes it to wear off quicker. A ceramic-based paint protectant causes a chemical bond with your car’s paint, which in turn makes it protect against scratches and add shine for a lot longer than a car waxing. 

How to prepare for wax or ceramic coating when using a polish

If you do in fact choose to use car polish before using a ceramic coating on your car, this quick and easy step by step guide shows you how to prepare for the application of a ceramic protectant or wax.

  1. Wash the Car – Wash your car using the two bucket method and use a good car shampoo such as one by the Chemical Guys. Washing the project area surface should always be the first step in waxing cars in order to eliminate any dirt or particles that could get in the way of you having a successful polish and wax project.
  2. Clay the Surface – Use a clay bar and lubricant to remove any surface contamination that the car washing may have missed before you start polishing or using wax. We all make mistakes, but when the clay bar by the Chemical Guys is used, bigger mistakes such as contaminants being trapped under the ceramic coating can be avoided. A good lubricant to be used in conjunction with the clay bar is this Luber Synthetic Lubricant and Detailer which allows for the seamless elimination of friction to safely clay on your car’s paint job and protect it in the process.
  3. Polishing the Area – Use a dual action polisher and carefully begin polishing the exterior of the car. If your car has swirls, tiny blemishes, sun damage, or scratches, it is important that you do this step to remove these areas and prevent them from being locked under the ceramic coating or wax in a semi-permanent fashion, which is not much of an appealing look for any car. 
  4. Wipe down the Surface – Once you are done with the polishing, do a quick wipe down with a microfiber cloth in order to remove any oils, leftover splotches, or any dust from sitting on the car’s surface. Any of these could’ve been left when polishing to remove scratches. This is the last cleaning step before you apply the wax or ceramic coating, so make sure that everything is well cleaned. 


There really is no direct answer as to whether or not you have to polish your car before wax is used or a ceramic coating is applied. However, it is important to stay diligent and keep an eye on the condition of your car’s paint when you go to apply a protective coating. If you see any minor damages, it is time to start polishing and if not, you are free to apply the protective coating without it. 

As for using wax, we explained why this isn’t the best choice for a coating and it would be a better decision to go with a ceramic-based paint protectant for longer-lasting and overall better results.

By following this guide, your car will stay in pristine condition for longer and save you lots of future time and money.

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