Car Polish and T-Cut, What’s the differences?

Figuring out whether you need a car polish or a T-Cut can seem incredibly daunting. It’s even worse if you don’t know the difference between the car polish and T-cut or what each is used for.

Quick Answer:

T-cut (compound) is typically used to remove light scratches, but you’ll need to use a buffing/polishing machine as it’s very abrasive. If you use your hand with a cloth, you will likely scratch the paintwork. 

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Polish is a fine abrasive that will remove scratches caused by the T-cut (compound) or when the lacquer looks dull. For a more detailed answer, please carry on reading:

You first need to realise that car polish isn’t car wax; if you need a rundown on the difference between the two, check out THIS article.

Often used interchangeably, car polish and T-Cut are two distinctively different compounds. To properly maintain and detail your car, it’s important to know what each is and what it’s used for. Once you understand this information, deciding between car polish and a T-Cut won’t seem so daunting.

Don’t worry. We got you covered. Car polish and T-Cut’s main differences lie in their differing abrasiveness.

Still confused? Just keep reading.

We’ll give you the complete rundown on car polish and T-Cut so that you know just what you need when it’s time to make the decision.

What is car polish?

Car polishes are chemicals that contain solvent cleaners in them. Those solvent cleaners have mildly abrasive particles. Both the abrasiveness and solvent come in varying degrees. Some polishes are stronger than others. Deciding which polish you need is going to vary from application to application.

Car Polish and T-Cut

What does a polish do?

Before you paint, you need to prime. Similarly, before you wax, you need to polish. It’s often forgotten, but it’s an essential step.

Polishing before you apply a layer of wax removes the old wax layer. Furthermore, the polish will remove any blemishes, swirls, or residue of any old paint sealants.

If you don’t polish your car before you wax it, you’re trapping all the blemishes and old wax underneath the new wax.

You’re not going to get the shiny clean finish you’re looking for, and your vehicle doesn’t look as good as it should.

When polishing is done correctly, it gives off a glossy finish, making your vehicle look like it just rolled off the showroom floor. 

You wouldn’t think of painting without priming, and don’t think of waxing without polishing.

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How to apply it?

As Mr Miyagi said, wax on, wax off. Yeah, we know we’re talking about polish, not wax, but the point remains. The best products in the world won’t work if they’re not applied correctly.

  1. Wash your car – before you polish your car, you need to wash it. A clean working surface is important for any car detailing job, and polishing is no different.

  2.  Put your polishing compound on a pad. To speed up the process, it can be a circular pad attached to a polishing wheel, or you can do it by hand.

  3.  If you’re using a polishing wheel, you must apply steady pressure and go back and forth. You should use a circular motion if you’re doing it by hand. Just like Mr Miyagi said.
Car Polish Wax

Summary of polish

Car polishes are an essential part of detailing your car effectively. They’re not meant to remove paint, just to prime your surface for waxing. Some come with sealants and protectants mixed in, but not all: Prime before you paint, polish before you wax.

What is T-Cut?

A T-Cut is like a polish on steroids. Far more abrasive and filled with more powerful cleaners. Typically for cars with new paint, all that’s needed is polish. However, once your car gets to be a few years old, T-Cut is recommended to restore your car’s appearance fully.

Car Polish Wax

What does a T-Cut compound do?

While polish removes the old wax and minor blemishes, T-Cut takes care of surface scratches and more prominent blemishes.

Dirt and grime that have become ingrained on the paint’s surface are easily removed with T-Cut.
When your vehicle is being detailed, use a polish. If it’s more of a restoration, you need a T-Cut.

How to apply it?

If Mr Miyagi ever used T-Cut, he didn’t mention it. The process to apply it is similar to polish. You must be more careful not to get the chemical onto anything else. Also, you want to avoid applying T-Cut in hot weather whenever possible.

  1. Wash your car. It’s no different from polish or any other detailing product. You want a clean surface to work on. Working on a dirty surface isn’t as effective, and you’ll use more T-Cut.

  2.  Put the T-cut compound on a pad. Either a polishing wheel or a pad you use by hand will work.

  3.  Pick a small part of the vehicle and start there. Work in small sections at a time.

  4.  When using a polishing wheel, apply steady pressure and go back and forth. You should use a circular motion if you’re doing it by hand. Be careful to keep the compound off of windows and plastic. If a little bit does get on either surface, quickly wipe it off before it dries.

Summary of T-Cut

When polish won’t do the trick, use T-Cut. Because T-Cut strips off the first layer of old paint, it should only be used as a last resort.

Using T-Cut a few times won’t cause any damage and will improve the look of your car, but if you use it every time you detail your car, you will eventually run out of paint layers to strip off. The idea is to layer your paintwork with wax to protect your nicely polished car.

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Even with all the information, you might not feel comfortable using products like T-Cut to restore your vehicle’s shine. And nothing beats having it professionally detailed.

Our team of professionals can take care of it for you. Get a no-obligation quote by clicking HERE.

Our team of professionals usually respond within minutes, but we guarantee they’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

Have ideas about what we should write about next? Ideas on how we can answer your questions better? We’re always open to new ideas! Just let us know where you’re from and how we can help!


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