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Best Car Polishes of 2020

Want to improve your vehicle's sheen, but aren't sure which is the best car polish? Learn about eight great polish products and their specific advantages.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.

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Polishing a carsimonkr/Getty Images

Choosing Car Polish

Car polish is a mildly abrasive liquid designed to enhance the smoothness and sheen of vehicle paint before the application of wax or other protective coatings.

Weather, road dust and debris, oxidization and years of exposure to UV rays can all cause your once-shiny vehicle to start looking dull and old. Microscopic roughness in the paint’s surface is why, and this is where properly applied, high-quality polish can help.

With so many car polish products available, you might be confused about which to choose. Learn about eight great polish products and what makes each stand out.

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Car polishvia amazon.com

Best Overall: Mothers Professional Finishing Polish

If you want a simple car polish that works great without a lot of fancy extra ingredients, it’s hard to beat this product from Mothers. This is my personal favorite polish for all my vehicle detailing work. Simplicity is why. It’s easy to apply and does exactly what a car polish is supposed to do. Every time I use it, the results are stunning.

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Spray Waxvia amazon.com

Best Multi-Purpose: Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat

To minimize work and maximize results, this spray-on product from Shine Armor is what you need. A three-in-one product, it polishes, shines and gives a protective ceramic coating with one application.

It’s easy to apply, too, according to reviewers like this one on Amazon: “Super easy to use, none of this hard polishing work required as with some polishes! Makes the paintwork super smooth and shiny — even on a beaten up 4 wheel drive utilities vehicle!”

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Car polishvia amazon.com

Best for Scratches: Carfidant Ultimate Scratch and Swirl Remover

Not many car polishes will make scratches and swirl marks in your paint nearly disappear, but this one from Carfidant does. It’s specially formulated with just the right level of abrasiveness to wear away the tiny ridges on either side of shallow scratches and marks in car paint.

This product makes some bold claims. Reviews like this one from Amazon back them up: “The scratch was across the whole hood and it was very very deep and dark. The damages would have cost $2,000 to repair. When I used this product I was so happy and shocked! The whole entire scratch came off! I mean all of it. It didn’t just make it look less visible, it literally disappeared as if nothing happened! Amazing!”

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Car polishvia amazon.com

Best Value: Nu-Finish Liquid Car Polish

If you like the idea of polishing your car without spending a lot on polishes and other detailing products, check out this bargain from Nu-Finish. At less than $8 for a 16 fluid ounce bottle, this is one of the best deals you’ll find on well-reviewed, high-quality car polish.

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Car polishvia amazon.com

Best Shine: Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Ultra Finishing Polish

People mainly apply car polish to improve the sheen of their paint job, and this product from Meguiar’s does this better than most. Designed to work well with hand or machine application, the claims of stunningly shiny results are backed by reviews like this one from Amazon:

“Wow!!! I used this after the 205 cutting compound and man did it make the paint shine. Used it on a new to me mustang that the red paint had faded to a chalky pink. This brought the red back and made it show quality and shiny.”

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Car polishvia amazon.com

Best for Black Paint: Turtle Wax Color Magic Car Polish

Vehicle detailing purists maintain that black vehicles look best when polished with products specifically designed for them, like this highly-rated black car polish from Turtle Wax. Formulated with a mixture of powerful polish, pigments and dyes, this stuff leaves black cars looking richer, darker and noticeably more shiny in a way that one-size-fits-all products can’t match.

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Car waxvia amazon.com

Best Natural Wax Hybrid: CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant

Car polish and wax have traditionally been applied in separate steps, particularly when the car wax is natural carnauba. That no longer has to be the case thanks to this product from CarGuys. Claiming to polish and wax in one 15-minute application, the product seems too good to be true, until you read reviews like this one on Amazon:

“Very easy to use (spray on, wipe off), and yet gives incredible slickness and gloss. I really was taken aback by the slickness once I was done. The added bonus is the fact that it can be spray[ed] over trim and glass without any discoloration. First bit of rain today after applying it 4 days ago and the water formed tight little beads and rolled right off!”

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Car polishvia amazon.com

Longest Lasting: Liqui Tech Finish First Auto Polish

Most car polishes are meant to improve vehicle appearance just long enough for you to protect the paint with wax, but this product from Liqui Tech does a whole lot more than that.

Not only does it restore a great sheen to old, beat-up vehicle paint, but it lasts six to nine months after application. Most waxes don’t last more than a few months before reapplication is needed. This polish runs circles around that lifespan without any wax or ceramic additives.

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