Can You Use Polish on a Ceramic Coating?


In this article you will learn:

  • The problem with using car polish on a ceramic coating

  • Why you should always polish or paint correct your car before using a ceramic coating

  • Which wax and other products to use to touch up and maintain your paint sealant

Ceramic coatings are one of the most durable and long-lasting protectants for your car's paint. These silicone-based sealants can withstand flying debris, acid rain and exposure to powerful UV rays to keep your car looking smooth and glossy for up to a year. But, over time, as your ceramic coating is subject to more wear and tear, this sleek, hydrophobic layer will begin to fade.

Many car care enthusiasts look for ways to freshen up this worn, ceramic coating at home to get the most out of their paint sealant. Car polish may seem like the perfect solution, since a polishing compound is designed to touch up and shine your vehicle’s paintwork. However, car polish doesn't shine your car the way shoe polish shines your leather boots, and using a car polish to touch up a dull finish will actually strip away your car’s ceramic coating. In fact, unless your goal is to strip off an old layer of ceramic coating or car wax, you should only use a polish on top of a ceramic coating.

So, what exactly is car polish for, and which products should you use instead to touch up your vehicle’s ceramic coating? Let's dig a little deeper into the science.

Wax and car polish are not the same

Car waxes contain natural ingredients like carnauba wax to enhance your vehicle’s depth of color and gloss, as well as prevent scratches, swirls and oxidation. Car polish, on the other hand, contains millions of microscopic abrasives that strip a thin layer of clear coat from your car exterior in order to remove light scratches, imperfections and swirl marks. While car wax strengthens and protects your finish, car polish corrects and restores the paint surfaces underneath. Car wax forms a tough shell of protection around the surface of your vehicle, while car polish refines the clear coat itself to achieve the smoothest possible finish.

Because of its restorative properties, applying a polishing compound to your ceramic coating would simply strip away this protective layer, leaving your car with nothing but the exposed clear coat. While this is great for removing old layers of wax, it shortens rather than extends the life of your paint sealant.

You should always polish your car before applying a ceramic coating, like Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Spray Wax, to avoid wearing away that fresh layer of protection. Polishing your car once or twice a year helps to restore your vehicle’s like-new appearance and maintain the clarity of your clear coat. The best time to polish your car before you wax and after your car has been freshly washed to hit the refresh button on that showroom paint job.

Pro Tip: Prep your finish with a clay bar before using a polish like Hybrid Solutions Pro 1 & Done Compound to achieve a professional-grade, high-gloss shine!

polishing car

Touching up your ceramic coating

So, what do you do if your car has a ceramic coating that’s already starting to fade? The best way to spruce up a dull, ceramic coating is to use a spray wax that’s free of polishing agents, like Hybrid Solutions Pro Flex Wax or ICE Spray Wax, to add an additional layer of protection and shine to your finish. This type of wax enhances the durability of your ceramic coating and revitalizes that deep, hydrophobic gloss to keep your car shining for months to come without damaging your paint sealant. Alternatively, you can supplement the existing ceramic layer with a spray like Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Spray Coating.

To touch up your ceramic coating with a hybrid spray wax, wash your car with a pH-balanced car wash soap like Pro Pure Wash or Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash & Wax to remove any dirt and stains from your ceramic coating. Spray wax adheres best to a clean surface, so you’ll want to get rid of any loose soils or contaminants for the best results. Rinse your car thoroughly and hand dry with a microfiber towel.

Once your car is clean and dry, apply 1-2 mists of your preferred spray wax onto each 2’ x 2’ panel and use a fresh, microfiber cloth to spread an even layer of wax, using a wide, circular motion. Allow the product to dry to a light haze. Then, turn over your microfiber cloth to a fresh side and buff your painted surfaces to a mirror-like shine.

And just like that, your ceramic coating is good as new, and ready to go for the next couple of months before you have to touch it up again. It only takes about 5 minutes to give your ceramic coating a quick touch up, no polish or rubbing compound required!

touching up your ceramic coating


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