Car Paint Repair: 3 Easiest Ways to Remove Paint Oxidation by Polishing

polishing car hood with tool

If your vehicle is showing signs of oxidation, you might want to consider polishing your car to slow down the oxidation process and restore the current paint. You can do this at home, and it doesn’t involve costly repairs or re-sprays at an auto-body shop. Follow these steps to remove paint oxidation.

Step 1 - Choose Your Polishing Compounds

Oxidation makes your car paint appear chalky and scarred. Wax polish will hide this temporarily, but it will eventually show through again. However, certain wax polisher pads can work wonders. Compound polishes are another choice, designed specifically for the removal of oxidation. It polishes off a skin-thin layer of the topcoat or clear coat of paint.

Step 2 - Polish

Before using any of these polishing methods, you should first wash and dry your car for best results.

Polishing by Hand

Depending on the level of oxidation, you might be able to improve your car's appearance by hand-polishing. This method is the best for controlling the amount of finish your polishing job removes. The polish-by-hand method should not damage the clear coat or topcoat.

Rubbing on a generous amount of compound polish with a clean, lint-free cloth and using a little elbow grease will get rid of the white, chalky scarring on your automobile. Continue in a firm, circular motion until the polish is gone.

Orbital Polisher

using a power polisher on car hood

You will need more than just the polisher and a rag for this fix-it job. There are micro-fiber pads, foam pads, and buffing pads that you can use to clear the oxidation from the surface of your paint. Unlike a rotary-type buffer, this type of machine polishes in a circular motion without creating heat.

To polish, you should follow at least a two-step process. First, start with a light-abrasive polish on a fresh pad to take care of swirls and imperfections. Then, use a finishing polish to remove hazing for a glossy finish. Most polishers have different speed settings to be used for different car-polishing steps, so you should read your tool's manual for specific instructions.

Circular Polisher

With a circular or rotary polisher, you can polish your vehicle in a straight motion. The machine circulates at fast speeds to clean the topcoat. Just like the orbital polisher, you will need to use special pads and speeds for each step of the polishing process. To avoid making new swirls, work in small areas not larger than 25 square inches so that the polish doesn’t dry out and set in before you polish the area. Always keep the polisher moving to avoid “burning” paint.