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If you’ve ever shopped for car wax online or read the labels on some detailing supplies, you may have noticed that some waxes feature ingredients called polishing platelets. Of course, if you’re new to car detailing, you may not know what that means. What is a polishing platelet, and why is it in a car wax?
In this article, we’ll answer all your questions about how polishing platelets work, which detailing products have them, and how to use them to give your car an incredible, cloud-reflecting shine.
Well, we know it has something to do with polishing. The word that trips us up the most is “platelets.”
Most car polishes contain key ingredients called polishing agents that help them to remove bonded contaminants, scratches and swirls from the clear coat. These tiny, rock-like abrasives are like fine grains of sand, and they’re responsible for buffing away an extremely thin layer of damaged clear coat to reveal a fresh, transparent surface underneath. Think of it as wiping the haze from a dirty window to restore its original shine and clarity; that’s how car polishes work to make your paintwork look like new again.
The problem with most traditional polishing agents is that while they do a great job of removing bonded contaminants and surface imperfections, sometimes they leave micro-scratches in the clear coat that can mute the color and clarity of the paint. If you’re using a machine buffer to polish your car, these micro scratches can result in buffer trails that show up in a certain lighting and reduce the quality of your finish.
That’s where polishing platelets come in. Polishing platelets are a different type of polishing agent. Unlike with traditional abrasives, like alumina, when you apply pressure to a polishing platelet, it flattens to cut an incredibly thin layer of clear coat. This erases scratches and swirls without gouging the rest of the clear coat as a more sand-like polishing agent does. The platelets slide and glide gently over your finish, aligning themselves only to the defects you’re trying to remove. The result is a polish, like Hybrid Solutions PRO 1 & Done, that removes paint imperfections with more efficiency and precision, enhancing the clarity and depth of color of your finish for the ultimate, high gloss shine.
You may be wondering, what are polishing platelets doing in a car wax? Isn’t car wax the protectant that goes on after you correct your paint?
You’re absolutely right! In most cases, car wax is the final car care solution you use to protect and shine your paint during an exterior detail. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, like if you’re using an all-in-one polish and wax to correct, restore and protect your paintwork, all at the same time.
Many professional car detailing products are available in the form of hybrid solutions to help professional detailers save time and effort polishing and waxing their clients’ cars while still achieving incredible results. A polish and wax is one of these hybrid solutions, and it works great to remove light-to-moderate imperfections from the clear coat while laying down a sleek, glossy layer of protection. The all-in-one, polish and wax products from Turtle Wax, like Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Polish & Wax, feature polishing platelets to remove bonded contaminants and erase scratches and swirls to create the perfect surface for the carnauba wax to lay for the deepest, most reflective shine.
A polish and wax will not only save you time in the detail process, but it will also create a higher quality finish! To integrate one into your exterior detail, you’ll need a foam applicator if you prefer to apply the product by hand, or dual action polisher and a set of foam cutting pads if you prefer machine application. You’ll also need some masking tape to protect your trim and several microfiber towels.
Start by washing your car with an all-purpose car wash soap like M.A.X. Car Wash, water and a microfiber wash mitt. Remove heavier stains and soils, like tar, tree sap or bug remains, with a specialty cleaner like Turtle Wax Bug & Tar Remover. Once all stains and soils have been removed, rinse your vehicle thoroughly and hand dry with a clean microfiber towel.
We recommend applying polish and wax to the hood of the car first to get an idea of the level of paint correction needed to correct and restore the rest of your finish. The hood is often the most difficult area to polish and wax because it takes such a big beating from the sun’s harsh, UV rays.
Use masking tape to section off and cover any exposed areas of unpainted trim to avoid contaminating these surfaces with product. Once polish and wax makes its way onto your trim, it becomes very difficult to remove and can even damage or discolor this dark, plastic material.
Add 3-4 dime-sized drops of Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Polish & Wax to a light-duty foam pad or applicator. Begin polishing the hood of your car. If you’re using a DA polisher, start with a low speed and gradually increase it, working in an overlapping, crosshatch motion to get a smooth, even coverage. You should cover one square foot of your car every 30 seconds.
If you’re polishing by hand, move your foam applicator in an overlapping, circular motion, buffing the product into the hood of your car to remove scratches and swirls.
If you aren’t getting the paint correction you want, switch to a medium cutting pad or foam applicator try again. Switch to a heavy-duty applicator only if needed to get the appropriate level of paint correction.
Once you're happy with your paint correction, wipe away any excess product with a clean microfiber towel. Continue polishing the rest of your car, working in 2’ x 2’ sections until you’ve finished the entire car. Once you finish polishing, you’re done! The wax in the formula has already formed a protective barrier over your paint, creating a deep, hydrophobic shine.
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