To keep your car’s paint job looking shiny and new, it’s a good idea to buff and wax it regularly. Doing this will also preserve the value of your car and save you money by reducing the need for more serious maintenance later on.
What’s the difference between buffing and waxing?
Buffing and waxing are often discussed together, but they accomplish different things for a car. Buffing generally comes first and only needs to be done once a year or so, while waxing should be done more often — about every three months, according to Ben Murphy of Popular Mechanics. Murphy also writes that buffing helps restore lightly scratched or weathered surfaces by removing a thin layer of damaged paint. Meanwhile, waxing protects a car’s paint job and helps restore the initial clear coat, resulting in a smooth, gleaming look.
Buffing your car
Before you buff your car, The News Wheel suggests washing, rinsing and drying it thoroughly with a chamois cloth. Cover lights, moldings, badges and other elements with masking tape so they don’t get scuffed in the process. Now you’re ready to buff your car.
Murphy recommends using an electric orbital buffer. You’ll also need buffing pads and buffing compound. Working one small area at a time, evenly apply compound with a pad. Then, apply the electric buffer in steady circles to the area until it turns gleaming and smooth. Be careful to hold the buffer flat so it doesn’t hurt the paint surface. Continue this process until the entire car has been buffed. If this is your first time buffing a car, try practicing on a small, less noticeable spot until you get the hang of it.
If your paint coat is in decent shape, you can use the same process to polish it instead — just use car polish in place of buffing compound.
Waxing your car
To wax your car, you’ll need car wax, an applicator pad and some microfiber cloths. With the pad, use circular motions to evenly apply the wax to the car’s surface. Work in small areas like you did while buffing. Once you’ve applied the wax to an area, wait for it to dry — the recommended time is often printed on the wax container. Then, remove the wax with a microfiber cloth, again using circular motions.
Once you’ve finished waxing your car, remove the masking tape from non-painted surfaces. Then, The News Wheel recommends cleaning the windows and any other areas that may have buffing compound or car wax splattered on them.
If you don’t feel comfortable buffing or waxing your car yourself, you can have these tasks done by a professional. Learning how to do it yourself will save you money in the long run, and you’ll come away with a greater sense of accomplishment. Either way, incorporating buffing and waxing into your normal car maintenance routine is a great way to preserve your car’s looks and improve its lifespan.
This article is presented by Don Jacobs Volkswagen in Lexington, Kentucky.