Polish, Compound, Wax, Buff,… these terms get thrown around a lot during discussions about car detailing. Often, they are used interchangeably without regard to their real meaning. However, they all have very distinct meanings and knowing how they differ can make a world of difference. Whether you have a show car or just want to have your daily car looking it’s best, learning about the detailing process will insure that you are getting the most out of your time and money.
Before we look at the difference between these terms it is best to get an understanding of what paint correction is.
Picture the painted surface of your car as a smooth, mirror like plane. Over time, dust, dirt, and other contaminants build up on that smooth surface. Unfortunately, the process of washing this dirt and dust away causes the fine particles to act like sandpaper, scratching and digging grooves into the once smooth clearcoat surface. As these fine scratches build up, the surface becomes dull and hazed. Paint correction is the use of specialized machines and polishing agents to slowly remove microscopic layers of clearcoat to once again make the surface smooth and mirror like.
A buffing or polishing machine (here the words are safely used interchangeably), is a handheld machine with a motorized spinning head. Foam or fiber pads are placed on the head and used to spread wax or polishing agents onto the painted surface.
Think of wax as makeup for your car. Though it is often applied with a buffing or polishing machine, it is simply a coating which fills in the scratches – making them harder to see. Over time the wax is worn and washed away, once again, revealing the underlying scratches. In terms of paint correction, wax is purely cosmetic. It will make your car look good for a short time, but does nothing to remove the underlying scratches.
Removing the scratches requires the slow removal of microscopic layers of clear coat to, once again, level out the surface. Compounding agents or leveling agents are specifically formulated liquids that, when added to the rotating pad of a buffing or polishing machine, act as extremely fine grit sandpaper to slowly shave down the clear coat surface.
Once the compounding agents have done the heavy lifting, a polish is then used to remove any final haze and add to the depth and clarity of the finished surface. Think of polish as an even finer grit sandpaper that is used to fine tune the newly leveled surface, revealing a beautiful, highly polished surface.
Once the painted surface is perfected, it is now ready for a protective layer. Protection comes in the form of waxes and paint sealants. Waxes and sealants are applied in the same way, but offer differing types of protection. Both will protect the painted surface from acid rain, fallout, bird droppings and tree sap. A paint sealant is a synthetic polymer that will provide a high gloss finish yet will last much longer than a wax – up to a year in some cases. It was once the case that though waxes wouldn’t last as long, they would provide a higher gloss and deeper shine. However, paint sealants have come a long way in the last few years – almost making waxes obsolete. Today’s paint sealants have a higher melting point than wax, allowing them to last longer in extreme elements while still providing the depth and shine provided by a wax. Waxes can also be applied over a paint sealant – further protecting the hard work that went into your car.
Taking the sealant process one step further, we enter into the world of polymer coatings. Polymer coatings chemically bond to factory clear coat to provide a permanent protective layer. Here at PERFECTION PLUS AUTO DETAILING serving Madras, OR we specialize in a specific protective coating, Opti-Coat PRO by OPTIMUM Products. Opti-Coat PRO is a ceramic coating that is approximately 100 times thicker than typical wax and sealant products. Opti-Coat PRO is a permanent coating that will protect the factory clear coat from harsh chemicals and environmental fallout, provide increased scratch resistance, easy maintenance and permanent gloss. OPTIMUM Products is so sure about the durability of this coating that it comes with a 5 year warranty.
We can now see that the act of buffing is not synonymous with polishing, compounding, or waxing. Buffing is a generalized term for making a surface smooth and shiny. Compounding and Polishing are similar in that they fall under the paint correction umbrella, yet vary in the amount of surface that they remove. Waxing, sealing, and coating are similar in that they all offer protection for the recently corrected surface.
Each of these processes requires special tools and many years of experience to perfect. Paint correction should always be preceded by a thorough washing and claybar surface preparation to remove any surface contaminants. Any contaminants left on the surface can be picked up by the buffing agents and act like sandpaper – easily ruining a good deal of hard work.
Today’s automotive finishes are complex and designed to look good for many years with minimal effort. However, a professional detailing can bring out the true beauty of your car’s finish – sometimes making it look even better than it did when it was new! Even if you don’t plan on attempting paint correction yourself, knowing what the procedure entails will insure that you get the most out of your detailing dollar.
Perfection Plus offers leather and vinyl repair. All repairs come with a 2 year warranty.
Our detailing staff has a combined 30 years of automotive reconditioning and rejuvenation experience. We take tremendous pride in our work, customer service and meeting your expectations.
Perfection Plus offers paint chip and scratch repair. All repairs come with a 2 year warranty.
Perfection Plus offers window tinting services. Full ceramic tinting, and a lifetime warranty with all tint. Top tint products on the market.
Perfection Plus offers the most advanced coatings in the industry to protect your entire vehicle from the harsh Madras, OR - Oregon environment. All coatings come with a 2 year warranty.
Optimum Gloss-Coat™ is the most advanced polymer system that forms a layer of clear coat over automotive finishes. Optimum Gloss-Coat™ provides better scratch and mar resistance, better UV resistance, better chemical etch resistance, and has better release properties than any other consumer product while providing unsurpassed gloss and slickness. Additionally, you can top Optimum Gloss-Coat™ with any non-abrasive wax or sealant of your choice to add additional gloss and slickness.
Optimum Gloss-Coat™ can be used to protect the following surfaces:
• painted surfaces
• plastic trim
• aluminum & chrome surfaces
Since Optimum Gloss-Coat™ bonds to surfaces it is applied to, any paint imperfections must be removed with Optimum Polish II or Optimum Hyper Polish before application. Also all waxes and oils must be removed from the surfaces for proper bonding.
Perfection Plus is an approved Opti-Coat dealer and professional auto detailer in Madras, OR - call us today to protect and enhance your vehicle!
Opti-Coat Pro is a hard wearing, ceramic clear coat for superior resistance to scratching (9H) and protection from chemical etching due to environmental impacts. The Opti-Coat Pro pre-polymer cross links, and forms a continuous protective film on the painted surface it is applied to, similar to a single component isocyanate that forms a clear coat finish.
Opti-Coat Pro has better chemical resistance, scratch & mar resistance, and release properties than any automotive paint coating in use. It provides permanent protection for all modern factory paints and can also be used to protect metal and hard plastic surfaces.
Perfection Plus is an approved Opti-Coat and professional auto detailer in Madras, OR - call us today to protect and enhance your vehicle!
The Opti-Coat Pro Plus Ceramic Paint Protection package now delivers even more gloss and slickness than ever before, while still maintaining the same chemical structure that has made it renowned as the ultimate protective paint coating. The advanced formulation not only delivers amazing gloss and protection, it also provides increased anti water spotting and hydrophobic properties to maintain the perfect finish in the long term.
Opti-Coat Pro Plus is an enhanced 2 step version of Opti-Coat Pro. The first step, Opti-Coat Pro, is a ceramic clear coating with superior resistance to scratching, chemical etching, fading due to UV and provides outstanding release properties. Opti-Coat Pro Plus adds great gloss and slickness for a fantastic shine and long term paint protection with a 7 year warranty.
Perfection Plus is an approved Opti-Coat dealer and professional auto detailer in Madras, OR call us today to protect and enhance your vehicle!
Opti-Guard Fabric creates a superhydrophobic coating to protect fabric seats, carpets, fabric convertible tops and other textile surfaces. When liquids come in contact with Opti-Guard Fabric and closed loop textiles, the surface repels the substance and liquids roll off without penetrating or staining the material. Additionally, for materials with an open structure such as plush carpets where liquids are able to penetrate the surface, the coating prevents any penetration of the fibers and permanent staining of the material.
Opti-Guard Leather & Vinyl creates a hydrophobic coating with concentrated UV absorbers to protect leather seats and dashboards from premature aging, cracking, and other damage such as color transfer and staining of leather seats. Opti-Guard Leather & Vinyl is an acrylic hybrid resin that creates a strong, yet flexible coating for these softer surfaces and high resistance to chemicals. The coating contains special matting agents to maintain the original factory appearance of the surface it is applied to.
Optimum Opti-Glass Pro is designed to chemically bond to silica based surfaces to form a durable, hydrophobic coating that provides long term protection to glass and other silica based surfaces and to increase chip resistance, scratch and mar resistance and protect from water staining.
Opti-Glass Pro provides increased chip resistance and will dramatically improve the drivers vision when driving in poor weather conditions with water being repelled from the surface at significantly lower speed than other products on the market. Opti-Glass Pro provides unmatched durability with multi-year protection.
Opti-Trim is a revolutionary two part system, to permanently solve the ongoing issue of faded plastic trim. Unlike other coatings that are limited in their lifespan and ability to prevent oxidation, Opti-Trim contains high levels of UV absorbers to help prevent future fading and provide a long term solution. Opti-Trim Protect is a clear, hybrid resin coating to help prevent new plastic trim from future fading due to UV exposure. For new cars, choose Opti-Trim Protect to enhance or maintain the factory appearance of your plastic trim.
Opti-Trim Restore is a durable, hybrid resin coating containing special dye additives to restore faded and oxidised trim back to a like new, factory appearance. For older vehicles suffering from damaged trim due to UV exposure, choose Opti-Trim Restore to restore your plastic trim back to its former glory.
Optimum Paint Guard is a ceramic paint coating designed to protect car dealer inventory by reducing wash induced marring from lot washers, and preventing damage from bird lime acid etching and other corrosive substances. Optimum Paint Guard will produce a harder than factory coating, that is noticeably easier to maintain, and is more resistant to the paint damage that can occur as a result of daily cleaning processes. Not only that, Paint Guard will prevent any permanent paint damage that can occur from corrosive chemicals, preventing repaint or unnecessary labor costs and therefore increasing profit margins.
Opti-Metal Coat™ is a rapid curing ceramic coating designed to bond to all metal surfaces, to prevent ongoing oxidation and damage during cleaning processes. Opti-Metal Coat™ creates a protective barrier with an extremely strong bond to metal surfaces and high resistance to acids and chemicals. The hydrophobic properties provide easy ongoing maintenance for all automotive, marine, aviation and industrial applications.