There are a lot of products on the market for caring for your car’s paint, and shopping for what you need may be more than a little overwhelming. However, all of the products on the market have specific purposes. Once you know what you need your products to do, making your decision will be much easier.

Car Wash

There are a number of good car wash products on the market. Be sure, when you wash your car, that you are using these. Many people use Dawn or another kind of dish soap simply because it’s what they already have around the house, but the problem with these soaps is that they are designed to remove oil and grease — and when you use them on your car, they remove your car’s protective coating of wax. Instead, use a soap that is specifically formulated for washing cars, and be sure to follow the instructions — you don’t actually need very much to get your car clean!

Clay Bar System

A clay bar should be used on all car paint, regardless of the condition of the paint, at least twice a year — more if you live in an area where your paint is exposed to more contaminants. The clay actually picks up contaminants from the road and environment that don’t come off with regular washing, and over time build up on the surface of the finish. A clay bar system should come with clay and a lubricant, which needs to be used liberally to ensure that the clay glides smoothly over the surface.

Compound and Polish

Once you’ve cleaned your car’s paint thoroughly using the clay bar system, you will need to follow up with a polish. The condition of your paint will determine what products you need to use. Just as with sandpaper, you start with a coarser product and work your way up to the finer polishes.

  • Compound: More neglected paints will need to be compounded first to remove the very top layer of damaged paint.
  • Swirl removers: A swirl remover is a polish that is used to smooth slight scratches in the paint, the kind that come from compounding or light damage to the paint. A swirl remover should be used following compounding on neglected paint. With paint that has only minor imperfections, you can skip the compounding step and go straight to the swirl remover.
  • Cleansing polishes: Paint that is still in good condition can still benefit from a light polish, although this is optional. Cleansing polishes often contain fillers to improve the appearance of the paint.


Waxing your car has nothing to do with the actual appearance — the entire purpose is to create an invisible layer of protection that will shield your car’s paint from bugs, road tar, tree saps, and other foreign substances that can damage the paint. When it comes to waxing, traditional paste waxes are known to provide better and longer-lasting protection, but liquid waxes are easier to apply.

Finishing Touches

There are a variety of other products out there for cleaning and detailing the exterior of your car, such as window cleaners, conditioners for rubber trim, wheel cleaners, and tire polishes. Then there are the products for detailing the interior, such as cleaners, vinyl conditioners, and leather conditioners. Some of these products are better than others, so a little bit of research will go a long way toward making sure your money is spent wisely. Remember, properly washing and detailing your car is about more than just cosmetics — it helps to maintain your car’s value, and protects your investment.
ColorMate Auto Appearance Specialists provides same day car paint repair services including paint perfecting, paint and bumper repair, headlight restoration, rim repair, and car interior repairs in Miami-Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach County. Schedule an appointment for a free estimate on quality car interior and cosmetic repairs.