How Often Do You Machine Polish a Car?

When polishing your vehicle, there are essentially only two ways to do this; machine polishing or by hand. Most at home car enthusiasts will polish their vehicles by hand using a paste or spray on wax or polish, while machine polishing is viewed widely as something that is conducted mostly by professionals in the automotive detailing industry.

Machine Polishing VS Hand Polishing

Machine polishing uses the strength, speed, and movement to thoroughly work the product into the car’s paintwork. Most automotive detailing shops use some form of a rotary traditional polisher. The head of these rotary polishers rotates at a constant speed and in the process eliminates small amounts of clear coat on the cars paint. This allows the machine to cut through the scuffs and imperfections that are present on the clear coat of the car.

As mentioned above, one downside of using a rotary machine polisher is that if not used properly and at the right speed, it can inflict serious damage on the cars paint with effects such as buffer trails, holograms, and even burning through the surface of the paint.

On the other hand, the hand polishing process in general, comprises of an appropriate polish product being applied to a soft foam or micro fibre applicator pad, spread over the surface of the paintwork then being worked in, in both circular and linear motions, before being buffed off and the process repeated if necessary.

There are 4 parts to the correction process.

  • The type of machine used (Rotary or Dual Action Orbital)
  • The type of pad you use on the machine.
  • The type of product you use with the machine.
  • Is any wet or dry sanding necessary.

There are only two different types of machines used in paint correction.

  • Rotary– This is a machine that simply spins in a circular motion on a stationary axis at extremely high speeds. This machine allows you to be extremely aggressive in the paint correction process. This tool also requires a fair amount of training and experience to use correctly.
  • Dual Action Orbital– This is a machine spins in a circular motion, but on a rotating axis. The dual action allows this machine to be more forgiving to the experienced and inexperienced user alike.

Smart Refurbs is based in Bishops Stortford, Harlow, Saffron Walden, and any vehicles receiving any level of paint correction on the entire vehicle will first be carefully hand washed and then have a clay bar treatment to remove any fall out, overspray or contaminants on the finish. We will also want to make sure we remove any larger debris. For a free quote, email us on, or give us a call on 07377 267716.