I have my Mitsubishi lancer 2004 (silver) that was painted last year. Today I bought a polishing compound named http://www.abro.com/pc-310.html . I put a small amount of the polish on a cotton cloth, and using my hands I applied the polish to my entire car, area by area.

I thought that this would protect my car paint from sun, dust, rain , etc., but it seems I should have applied wax rather than polishing compound. Unfortunately I should have read more before buying the product. Can anyone advice if applying a polishing compound can ruin my car paint?

Now I read the instruction on the product, I noticed that it mentioned this polishing compound is not recommended for clear coat finishes, rubber surfaces, and plastic term. Can anyone advise on this please? It seems the product I used is some sort of abrasive , but I am not sure how serious the damage can be in polishing my car like I did, and I don't know whether there's a way to fix any damage that could happen. Some online articles said that applying a good polishing compound product (like the one i used) on a good paint (my car was painted last year) is not a big problem - can anyone advice if I did any damage to my car paint by applying the polishing compound? If the answer is yes then how serious is the damage, and how could I fix it?


Yes, you did indeed apply an abrasive "compound". Polish materials come in coarse and finer grits just like sandpaper. To polish scratches left by a polish of a course grit finer grits are used to polish out the deeper scratches. The good news the clearcoat can, very likely, be restored to a normal smooth surface shine.

You have two options: You can take it to a professional detailer and have it polished. Or you can obtain the required tools and materials and polish it yourself. See my answer to this question for the required materials. How to polish clearcoat

  • but i already applied a polishing compound this is the product i used abro.com/pc-310.html it is used to shine the car surface,, why do i need to polish it again ? i did not get your point ?thanks – John John Jul 4 '16 at 0:56
  • Good question, see update to the answer. – Fred Wilson Jul 4 '16 at 1:02
  • Sorry @Fred but i still did not get 100% your answer. Now i applied a Polish compound. but not sure what do you exactly mean by i have two options; to Polish it by myself or by a professional . i mean i already polish it ? Why do i need to polish it again? Now my car surface is fine, i cannot see anything wrong . my question was if applying the polishing compound have ruined the paint and to which degree. so let me summarize my questions now,, question1) you said to polish my car again,, so what you name what i already did ,, it is a polish ? ... – John John Jul 4 '16 at 1:21
  • question2) Now if i keep the situation as is ,, what will be wrong ?third question what is the degree of damage i could have done to the paint by applying the Polishing compound , bearing in mind that this is the first time i did that,, so since i got my car painted last year it was not polished before..Thanks in advance for your help.. i really appreciated answering my 3 sub questions – John John Jul 4 '16 at 1:22
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    If the paint looks fine, I really don't see the point of another polish. It's just adding insult to injury (taking more good paint off). Just wax it. – kmarsh Jul 4 '16 at 16:01

I thought that this would protect my car paint from sun, dust, rain , etc., but it seems I should have applied wax rather than polishing compound. Unfortunately I should have read more before buying the product. Can anyone advice if applying a polishing compound can ruin my car paint?

You're right, there's no point in polishing a new car, or a fresh coat of paint, with or without a clear coat finish. The purpose of polish is to remove dirt, industrial overspray, and oxidized old paint on the top level of an older paint finish. A new (or one year old) paint coat should not require polishing. If it does, it should be a warranty service done by the paint shop.

Put a coat of high quality wax on it and move on.

  • so what I could have done wrong to the paint ? I mean could the whole clear coat finish get damage, of just applying small amount of the compound and apply it by hand ? second point you mentioned to put a coat of high wax so will this restore what I did wrong? as wax is different than the clear coat that might have been negatively affected by applying the compound.. or the wax is just a workaround to achieve protection ? – John John Jul 7 '16 at 12:18
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    @JohnJohn 1. You were removing good paint/clearcoat unnecessarily. 2. You were introducing a surface finish that may have been inferior to the original, that is, duller, more fine scratches. 3. Yes, mostly, a good coat of wax will smooth and protect your now slightly sub-optimal surface. 4. Yes, wax is inferior to clear coat, but the same basic concept, a clear coating to protect the colored paint beneath. – kmarsh Jul 11 '16 at 21:34
  • you mentioned ". You were removing good paint/clearcoat unnecessarily" but how much I could remove good paint is I only apply a small amount of the polish , and I was applying the polish by hand ... ? second point , is there a test I can do to check if the clear coast paint is damaged or not ? – John John Jul 13 '16 at 14:30

Can polishing compound ruin your car's paint? Yes. Is that a guarantee? Nope. The purpose of compound is to remove just enough paint that surface imperfections (scratches, swirls, holograms, oxidation) go away with the paint that is removed.

The compound you linked to is specifically for hand application and as such is likely very aggressive. Thankfully it takes a lot of effort to destroy aftermarket paint when compounding by hand, even with the most aggressive of compounds. Your paint probably looks fine as is, but chances are it's just a little less shiny than it was. A compound that aggressive almost always requires a finish polish to achieve maximum shine. Omitting the finishing polish will not damage anything, you just won't have as much shine as you could.

In the future, if the paint is rough, clay it. If there are scratches, swirls or holograms, compound it. After whatever else you do, wax it. Any time I take the paint all the way down to... well... paint, I like to put at least two coats of wax on it to restore the protective layer. That protection is critical when you park outside like I do.

The difference between polishing/compounding and waxes/sealants is that the former is for paint correction and the latter is for paint protection. They are both important for maintaining the best finish possible for your car, but please use them appropriately in the future. Your paint will thank you.

  • so your point is that since I apply the compound by hand so most likely the clear coast did not get a high degree of damage is this correct? and could the worst case be that I removed the whole clear coat paint by just applying small amount of the compound and apply it by hand? second point you mentioned to put at least two layers of wax to restore the protection layer.so is applying two layer of wax will restore what I might damage?, I mean applying a compound might damage the clear coat paint ,, so will applying two layers of wax will do the job of the damaged clear coat ?? – John John Jul 7 '16 at 12:29
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    If you severely damaged the clear coat, you would see it. It would be nearly impossible to remove anything so evenly by hand that you didn't realize it was removed. It's rather difficult to do so even with a machine. If it still looks good then you're fine. Clear coat protects base coat against physical damage while wax protects paint against contaminants, dirt and oxidation, so they serve very different purposes. – Lathejockey81 Jul 8 '16 at 19:56
  • but how I would see that I could damage the clear coat ? as clear coat does not have a color.. as you mentioned "If you severely damaged the clear coat, you would see " .. so how I could see the damage ? – John John Jul 13 '16 at 14:27
  • Because some would be gone and some wouldn't. There's no way you would've consistently removed all of it by hand. As a result there would be variation in shine, coloration, etc. in the areas that would've been damaged. – Lathejockey81 Jul 13 '16 at 16:14
  • @JohnJohn you would see it because it would look cloudy, scratched and/or hazy, not clear. – kmarsh Jul 14 '16 at 14:11

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