How to Use a Power Car Polisher

Updated April 13, 2018

The glossy sheen of wax on your car looks great, but it also protects the car from wind, rain, dust and tiny pebbles. A power car polisher can get the job done more quickly, but there are dangers. You risk paint swirls and even paint burn if a power buffer gets away from you, so start small. Leave the big, two-handled ones to the pros. With a little practice and the right sized auto polisher, you can have a gleaming finish in no time.

Wash your car thoroughly and dry it with lint-free shop rags. Park it in a cool place that is out of direct sunlight. Tape over the seams in the doors, boot, bonnet and also over any exposed rubber, like the trim around the front and back windshields. Tape over any raised creases in the car body.

Put the wax applicator pad onto the power polisher, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Pour a thin line of liquid wax onto the car. Turn on the power polisher and use it to spread the wax over a small area in a thin, even coat. Do not press down on the polisher; let the machine's own weight be enough. Work along the lines of your car, not in circles.

Cover the entire car with a thin coat of wax. Let it dry to an opaque glaze.

Turn off the power polisher, take off the wax applicator pad and replace it with the buffing pad.

Turn the power polisher back on and go back over the car in the same order you applied the wax. Do not press down on the power polisher. Move it back and forth along the lines of the car, not in circles. Polish the opaque wax to a high shine.

Turn the polisher off and dispose of or clean the pads, according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Spread the wax around a little with the wax applicator pad before turning the power polisher on to avoid splattering the wax.


Do not ever lean into your power polisher; too much pressure causes paint swirls and paint burn.

Things You'll Need

  • Car cleaning solution or mild dish soap
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Clean, lint-free shop towels
  • Narrow, residue-free painter's tape
  • Wax
  • Power polisher
  • Wax applicator pad
  • Liquid wax
  • Buffing pad


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About the Author

Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.