pros and cons of buffing a car

The advantages & disadvantages of buffing a car

When buffing a car correctly, there are almost zero disadvantages.

After a good polish your car comes away from the process looking much cleaner, glossier and even smoother to touch.

However, there is one disadvantage (if you’d call it that).

During the cutting stage, you’ll be using a compound that “cuts” into the top layer of your car paint. This will effectively “flatten” the clear coat/laquer making it smoother while removing scratches in the process.

Most people don’t consider this to be a disadvantage of buffing a car, rather a necessary step in the repair process.

Continue reading this article to understand the advantages of polishing, the effort it takes and how to avoid making costly mistakes!

Advantages Of Polishing A Car

polished car with mirror finish

When done properly, the advantages or pros of polishing a car significantly outweigh the cons.

While most of the benefits are purely visual, it’s a proud feeling to drive your car around town when it’s looking at its best.

Whether you’re buffing the car yourself or paying a professional to do it, here’s the benefits you can expect.

Scratch & Swirl Removal If you do a multi-stage polish and use a cutting compound, you’ll be able to remove a lot of the light scratches and swirl marks from your vehicle.

Polishing your car can also get rid of some paint transfer if you’ve had a minor collision.

However it wont fix scratches that are deep into the base layer of paint. Click here to learn the different types of car scratches.

Very smooth paint – While you should very rarely touch the paintwork of your car, performing a proper detail and polish will give it a slick and smooth finish.

There are 2 reasons for this.

Firstly, Decontaminating the car is a key step in preparing a vehicle for polish.

Secondly, buffing your car will even out the clear coat, removing highs and lows that were barely even noticeable to begin with.

Mirror finish – The biggest benefit has to be how good your car will look afterward.

A proper 2 or 3 stage polish will completely change the look of your car, removing scratches and adding a level of depth to the paint.

If you’ve ever wondered how people get their cars reflecting like they’re mirrors, polishing is a key part of the process.

Remember! buffing a car will only do so much.

If you have a car that has deep paint scratches or various other defects, polishing your car will only make it look slightly less shit.

“You can’t polish a turd” is a true statement. However, you can make the turd look slightly better.

Disadvantages Of Polishing A Car

light scratches and swirls on car

Providing you don’t make mistakes or cut corners there’s not really any disadvantages of polishing a car.

Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort to properly prepare and polish your car, however, failure to do so could make your car look worse.

Here’s some examples of the negatives and things could go wrong…

Create swirls – If you’re using a dirty pad or fail to decontaminate your car 100%, there’s a good chance that taking a buffer to your car will just create more scratches and swirls.

Always make sure your pads are clean and rotate them if necessary. Also perform a full decontamination using a fallout remover or a clay bar before even think about polishing.

Burn through paint – This one’s more for the inexperienced. When using a Dual Action polisher, it’s very unlikely you’ll burn through paint. However it has been done.

Make sure when to constantly move the machine while you’re polishing, otherwise you risk burning through. This becomes even more likely if you’re using a rotary.

Barrier to entry – While you can hand polish a car using a foam applicator and microfiber towel, it’s unlikely to get you the results you desire. It’s also much more effort.

Buying a machine buffer is the way to go, however, they can be pricey. I’ve compiled a list of the best cheap dual action polishers but even then, they can cost upwards of $75.