Your car’s paint is constantly exposed to harmful elements. There are UV rays and acid rain in the environment. Add to that contaminants such as bird droppings and dead bugs. Minor scratches and swirls may also appear on the surface over time.

These blemishes and scratches can often be removed by applying a compound and polish.

Compounding agents contain abrasive particles that remove the topmost layer of clear coat and, with it, most shallow blemishes and scratches. You can apply compound by hand or using a machine. A buffing machine produces better results because the high rotating speed of the applicator helps the abrasive particles in the compound wear down and remove the scratches. Hand application often does not move the abrasive particles fast enough to achieve the same results.

Four things you must have handy before applying compound and polish:

  1. Polishing compound. Polishing compounds are not created equal. They’re different because of the size of the abrasive materials in them. The type of blemishes and depth of the scratches you are trying to remove will help you determine what compound to use. Start by using the compound with the smallest abrasive particles, working up to a larger particle abrasive if needed.
  2. Applicator. Use the applicator recommended by the manufacturer of the compound you’re using. Avoid using bath towels or old T-shirts to apply compound. They can leave swirl marks.
  3. Micro-fiber towels. Use these to remove the broken-down compound from the surface completely.
  4.  Spray bottle. Use a spray bottle with water to dampen both the surface being treated and the applicator.

Steps to follow when applying compound and polish:

  • Wash the car. This is important, as you want to first remove all dirt, grime, and grit before starting the polishing process.
  • Make sure the car’s surface is cool. The vehicle should be in a shaded area, out of the sun.
  • Apply the polishing compound. Starting on a small area (about two feet by two feet), apply some compound to your applicator, spray wet the applicator, and then apply it to the car surface. Use light pressure to move the applicator in all directions, working the abrasives evenly over the surface.
  • Remove broken-down compound. Depending on the compound, it may become invisible or change color when the abrasive has broken down and is ready to be removed. Your compound packaging will provide guidance on when to remove the compound. Use a microfiber towel to wipe the area clean. Determine if the results are satisfactory. If not, repeat the process on the same area to remove additional imperfections.
  • Move on to the next section. When the first section is smooth and looks attractive, move to the next area and repeat the process.

Following these tips when compounding and polishing your car will help you remove blemishes and scratches and renew gloss and shine to the surface.

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