Ask The Expert: Car Polishing, Grooming & What You Should Know

Keep your car looking its best with this expert grooming advice.

By Sasha Gonzales        16 September 2022

Your car is one of your biggest investments, and, from regular tune-ups and safety checks to maintenance services, it also requires a lot of care and attention. Polishing and waxing your vehicle are essential to prolonging its colour and enhancing its look. Regular polishing and waxing also protect the surface from scratches, rust and other small imperfections that can dull your car’s beauty.

We asked Finn Jafni, owner of We Polish at SAFRA Tampines, and Michael Koh, manager at Mach Accessories at SAFRA Mount Faber, for their advice on how to keep your car looking its best.

Q: What might cause a car’s colour to become dull and faded? 

Michael: Exposure to the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays, rain and environmental pollutants can all cause the paint to lose its lustre and vibrancy after a while. One of the best ways to preserve your car’s paintwork is to avoid parking it out in the sun for too long and to protect it as best as you can from the elements. Regular waxing also helps, as it protects the clear coat over the paint. This coat is what protects your car from the elements, contaminants, bird droppings, and so on.

Q: What’s the difference between car polish and car wax? 

Michael: Polish removes dirt and dust and eliminates or counters surface scratches, oxidation, dimples and minor imperfections. It also helps to enhance the car’s paintwork. Wax, which may be oil- or silicone-based, is designed to preserve the clear coat and give the car a clean, shiny finish.

Q: How should I prep my car before polishing it and how long after polishing my car can I wash it?

Finn: Before polishing your car, check the condition of the paint – for instance, is it scratched and can the scratches be polished off? Does the car need new paint? Before booking the polishing service, ask the groomer if it includes washing and decontamination services, too. 

After polishing, it’s best not to wash your car with shampoo for at least 24 hours, or 12 hours if you’re just using water. 

Q: How often should I get my car polished and waxed? 

Michael: If your car is very scratched or there are a lot of imperfections, or if the paint looks dull and faded, I suggest polishing it at least once a year. You should wax your car more often, though – maybe every two months, because every time your car gets wet, such as when you wash it or when you’re driving in the rain, the wax tends to get washed away as well. 

Q: How long can I expect to not have use of my car after it’s been polished? 

Finn: It depends on the chemicals used during the polishing process, but on average, you shouldn’t use your car or get it wet for at least three hours after polishing it.

Q: Do certain types, makes or models of car require special polishes? And how can I tell if the polish won’t harm my original paintwork? 

Finn: Yes, certain models, such as the Honda 2017 models and newer, require special polishing compounds and methods. Your car groomer would be able to recommend the best polishing product for your car.

Michael: Only work with trusted and reputable car groomers, because they will know what products to use. If you decide to polish your car yourself, check that the product is suitable for your car and from a reputable brand or company.

Relax at SAFRA clubhouses while your car gets pampered! SAFRA members enjoy special discounts on car grooming and services at the following outlets:

Mach Accessories at SAFRA Mount Faber (up to 25% off)
We Polish at SAFRA Tampines (up to 25% off)
Zertona at SAFRA Toa Payoh (up to 25% off)
CS Car Care at SAFRA Jurong

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