As soon as you drive your brand-new vehicle out of the dealership, this signifies the beginning of exposure to the elements and potential paint job damages. These are unavoidable even if you drive extremely safe, as so many factors come into play when you leave the car unattended. Depending on where you park, where you drive, or the harshness of seasons you experience in your area, your car will receive scratches, dings, and even paint chips if you are unlucky. 

This is why it is important to not only inspect your car regularly, but also have it detailed from time to time. Detailing your car will maintain its resell value for prolonged periods of time and make it look genuinely good and almost brand-new. While products are available at stores to detail your car, purchasing the wrong products for the job will result in your car looking worse for wear. At Drip Detail, we have come up with a short guide regarding the differences between two commonly mixed up car detailing products: wax and polish. 

About Polish

Polish is a semi-abrasive substance that works by sanding the surface of paint until it is smooth and gives it a good shine. This is best done for cars that have had their paint go flat after years of use and neglect from proper car exterior maintenance. Sunlight, dirt and grime, and even road materials can cause damage and degrade the quality of the finish of a car. Note that when you polish a car, this removes small layers of paint each time, and doing this too often will bring you to the car’s undercoat, leaving respraying the only remaining option. Polishing treats below surface defects best, so consider whether or not the defects on the paint are treatable by a deep clean before proceeding with polish. 

About Car Wax

Car wax is non-abrasive and usually contains a number of waxes. This is applied after a thorough wash and dries to a thin, milky-white layer when applied properly. The layer is then buffed or wiped off, acting as a clear and shiny protective layer between the elements and the coating of your car. It can fill in microscopic dimples in the paint coat of your car, which then helps it shine to a near-showroom finish. If you find that the surface of your car is free of bumps and irregularities, this is a sign that car wax is enough to make the car shine, otherwise, it would be best to use polishing products. 

Upsides And Downsides

Polish is abrasive in nature, which means it will eat away paint if used too frequently. Older cars that have already had their paint thin due to time will suffer even with polish because of reaching the undercoat, which means that repainting the whole body would be better. Thanks to technology, polishing products have been crafted to contain mild abrasive ingredients or polymer blends that cause minimal damage to the coats. Polish’s biggest advantage is that it holds shine longer, and will cause a hydrophobic effect that wicks off water from the surface of your car. 

Wax needs to be applied more frequently because of its less strong properties. It also melts when exposed to sunlight too often, which can cause the paint to fade. However, this is easy to apply and is the best way to get your car to shine ASAP. It is also the cheapest and most accessible to all people. 


Each kind of detailing method has its applications, and its own advantages and disadvantages exist for both wax and polishers. Remember that each requires a certain amount of labour and care to apply properly, so be sure to look up the process and know what you are getting into. Otherwise, consider taking your car to a professional detailing shop near you. 

Drip Detailing is the number one car detailing service in Calgary. Whether you are looking to revamp your car’s look, detail the exterior and interior, or adding a nice ceramic coat to the finish, we have these services available for you. Pamper your vehicle regularly by giving it a trip to the detailer every so often, it’ll thank you for it!