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52 comments on Ask-A-Pro: Best Polish or Wax for Black Paint?

  1. DJ Mayo says:

    Very detailed write up, Todd. I completely agree with learning your vehicle and it’s characteristics to get yourself started on the right track. Although us professionals have a very good idea coming into a specific job of what will work, there is always those times when the car will be completely different from the previous and a new process is taking on. Learn the vehicle, be prepared, and execute.

  2. Roger says:


    Thanks for the advice. I am only an enthusiast detailer and as far as sealants go on black (or any dark paint) I really like Blackfire Wet Diamond sealant…easy on/off and gives a slick, deep wet look. What sealant do you use on your black car?


    • Roger,

      I currently use Blackfire Wet Diamond on my black TL-S…


      • kevin says:

        I just bought a 2015 for explorer it is black metallic what should I use to take out little marks and swirls? Theb after that should I use a wax or sealant I will be using a
        PORTER-CABLE 7424XP 6-Inch Variable-Speed Polisher to take out the little scratches and also to apply a wax or sealant so whatever feedback is really appreciated so I can order what I need to get thanks alot


  3. Tim H. says:

    Half the fun of this hobby/profession is trying out new products and seeing their results. I only wish I had more cars to try them out on.

  4. Great article Todd!

    Another thing for the readers to consider, which was actually brought up by a detailing friend of mine, is that on most of today’s car you are actually waxing clear resin, and not the base color. So theoretically speaking, a wax that looks good on a black car with a BC/CC paint should have the same effect on a car that is white, blue, red…

    Now I’m not saying that this is necessarily true, and people will always see what they want to see, but it is definitely some good food for thought. 😉


  5. Andy says:

    You guys do fantastic work, its like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I had a quick question though. I recently got a VW Jetta (Black) in May, and love the way it looks from a distance, but when I get close in direct sunlight I can already see some swirl marks and such. In your experience, is VW paint (probably not too far off of Audi paint) easy to correct? I’m hoping to spend a couple hours and some elbow grease on Saturday to fix it, but on my limited budget my tools are quite limited for the job so everything will be done by hand. Again, fantastic work, especially on some of the Ferrari write-ups, and the Acura TL NBP writeup. A true pleasure to read.

    • Thank you Andy, and I’m happy to hear that you’ve found the articles to be helpful…that’s what all of the DI Blog writers are here for!

      Your VW has relatively hard paint, which will be challenging to correct it by hand. With some time and patience however, you could still keep it looking better than most cars out there. I’d recommend reading the article on polishing by hand.

  6. kevin kirkhope says:

    i just purchased a new challenger rt with the hood to fender stripes am i safe to get polish or sealants on decal i am currentley using menzerna products thanx kevin

    • Kevin,

      Congrats on the new ride! I will usually lightly polish stripes like this, but I always use just a light polish and pad combination. I always tape off the edges though to prevent any damage. I will seal and / or wax them just like I would the rest of the car.

  7. Mike Van Dusen says:

    just bought a used 2006 Mercedes S-430…BLACK. Paint looks to be in good condition, with just a little “road-rash” and car wash scratches. What polish/wax products would you recommend for this vehicle…I drive it every day and am looking for a combination of durability, wet look, and no white residue… there are so many choices, surely some products are better than others…what is your experience? Thanks in advance for your suggestions

    • To remove the defects you’ll need to polish it by machine like a Porter Cable 7424XP. A good one-step polish that will get rid of light to medium defects would be Menzerna Power Finish.

      As for waxes and sealants, you have a lot of options. If you want to use a highly durable sealant then you could get something like Blackfire Wet Diamond. If you prefer to use a wax more often, then it’s hard to beat Optimum Spray Wax.

      • Mike Van Dusen says:

        Thanks for info…Blackfire Wet Diamond works for me…do I need to use a clay bar as well as the Menzerna Power Finish…will I still have the “white” residue showing in the road-rash chips on the front of the car?

        • If you want to get rid of medium and light defects, and bring out the most gloss, you’ll want to first clay and then polish with Menzerna. You don’t have to use them, but it will make a significant difference in the final look. Before you apply the Blackfire Wet Diamond (regardless of whether you decide to polish), you should wipe down the areas with white residue using Isopropyl Alcohol. It may take a few wipedowns, but this should remove it.

  8. Roman says:

    Hello Todd! I’m a newbie and I’m going to try to perform a polish on my Black Jet 2000 BMW M5 for the first time ever, so how should I go about it? Are menzerna products better than Meguiars for my needs? I would appreciate your reply, thanks.

    • Roman,
      Jet Black is a challenging one for sure, even for professional detailers. You might want to read this post on Jet Black polishing to give you some insight and directions.

  9. Kaylib says:

    I am the original owner and have a black 2009 Mercedes SLK 350. From the outset swirls were apparent in sunlight. Been using Opti-Seal and quick detailers up to this point but am ready to do something about the paint swirls. Can you suggest a direction for polishing. Would most likely be applying by hand. Thank you.

  10. paul says:

    i have today applied ex sealant,poorboys.is nattys blue paste wax the best to use or should i get p21s

  11. Joe says:

    I’m not new to black cars, and i’m purchasing a new Jeep GC Limited Brilliant Black Crystal Pearlcoat. What would be the best sealer for this type of paint? Is it a soft or hard paint/clearcoat? I have Griots Garage, and Ohio Auto Supply products, and BFWD sealant that I discovered last year, and use that one for just about everything anymore. My new Ram in Bright White when it was new, didn’t seem to take too well to it, even after spending about 8hrs just prepping for sealer(no dealer prepping and it’s a 4door dually 4×4, it’s big so it took a while). It’s a work truck that sees lots of miles, and sits outside all the time. Anyway, my dealer knows not to touch the paint, or do anything to the Jeep when before I pick it up. My wife’s 2010 Wrangler(stone white) seems to love BFWD, and so does her Alpine White 1 series BMW. I’ve found BMW Sapphire Blk, and Cadillac Raven Black does well with BFWD. Should I just stick with it for the Jeep for NE Ohio winters? What’s the best shampoo to use with it? Thanks, and sorry for rambling, but I’m pretty fussy about my rides.

  12. Randy says:

    Due to the economy I was forced to buy a 1998 Ford Explorer recently. The guy that owned the car before me was a surfer and spent alot of time on the beach with this car. The wind and sand took its toll though. The paint or clear coat on the hood appears cracked over the entire hood. The passenger side has the same kind of cracking but no where near as dramatic. The car is black and actually has a decent shine but after using car polish the cracks have picked up the white hazing from the dried wax. Now they stand out. I really can’t afford a paint job at the moment but would like to know if there is a black wax that will fill in and hide these cracks that are so obvious. I have always had very clean and very shiny well protected cars. This is actually painfull seeing this every morning. Thank you for any advice you can offer

  13. Luther Lindler says:

    What do you suggest for a 2013 Black Mercedes E350? I like to use a glaze and then seal it with Ultima Paint Guard Plus. My biggest concern is ease of application and removal but I love a deep gloss shine (don’t we all). I have two of your glazes- the Mirror Finish and the older glaze with Acrylic II.

    Also what’s the best way to keep it looking swirl free. This is the first black car I have owned and I’m nervous. I did order a CD Spotless deionizer.

  14. TENN LAMBO says:

    I recently got my black Lambo. It’s new, but I’d like to protect it as best I can. Thanks

  15. Mark says:

    I have read about the hard or soft paint. I have a 2010 GMC 2500 duramax. And of course it’s black. I was wondering what is the best to get the swirl marks out. It’s not to bad but I am very OCD when it comes to my truck and usually don’t even drive it in the rain. So in other words I like it clean. What is the best polish and or wax to use in it. ?


  16. jerry says:

    I just purchased a 1963 pontiac lemans starlight black, The vehicle is almost 100% original except for the new convertible top.
    It has road rash and small chips. I would perfer not to paint it but keep it original. Is there a product that will help fill in the chips and a good overall polish. I realize that what ever I do will not make it look like new paint but I am willing to take the time to try and make it better.
    Also the interior is in very good shape but the rugs have kind of bleached out and are more a tan color instead of black. Is there some way to treat them to bring back the black color?
    Next questions is there a way to treat the paint under the hood to bring back more of the original color?

  17. wayne says:

    i recently bought a new audi. the man in the body shop said to use a micro finishing compound on the paint and do not put any wax over it. what do you think? thank you

  18. mearl carnes says:

    If you dont want swirls in your paint..dont apply cleaners and waxes in a circular motion
    use straight lines instead.. if you already have swirls in your paint, you can buy swirl remover
    apply it in straight lines or you run the risk of putting the swirls right back. It’s the motion of your
    hand or buffer that puts them there in the first place. try not to use those california dusters on dry
    black paint.. you can really add scratches as it drag the dust off..use water to remove dust
    Never touch a black car with a dry cloth.. Even when drying a black car the rag or towel should
    always be at least damp.. a good shammy cloth works best.. Always dip it in clear water and ring
    it out. These work great for cleaning windows too.. hope this helps someone.
    A black car is beautiful if cared for,

  19. Kev says:

    Hello, I have just purchased an Audi Q5 in Phantom black, it has small swirls that I would like to polish over and deepen the colour. All will need to be done by hand, any advice welcome.

  20. Garrick Dee says:

    First off, a polish and wax are two completely different products, a polish corrects paint defects and a wax covers them up. Because a lot of people mix these two completely different products.

    I see a lot of products mislabeling their products – case in point, the new finish calls their product a polish but when you look at it closely it doesn’t have any polishes in it, it is merely a synthetic sealant.

    What is the best polish or wax for a black car?

    There isn’t any, it will depend on what you want to achieve and the severity of the paint defect.

    If you have severe swirl marks, hazing, holograms, oxidation, etc. you need to use strong compound, then follow it up with a polish then use a wax to add that layer of protection. Depending on how deep the scratch is, you may have to wet sand it first before compounding.

    For less severe scratches you can use a less aggressive product like the ultimate compound to take these off or if you’re concerned about the clear, you can just cover it up with multiple layers of wax, that’s what detailers do in car shows if they don’t have enough time to polish and wax, they just add multiple layers of glaze or wax because these products do a good job in hiding light to moderate swirl marks.

    If you want both longevity and that deep carnauba shine, start off with a sealant like the klasse twins then top it off with a carnauba wax (P21S Wax) – this is a favorite combo by I lot of detailers I know.

  21. Jack says:

    Hi Todd.nice forum here.Question for you I have a black vehicle and was wondering in the fall when I wax what would be the best wax to use that is going to give me long protection during the winter so I won’t have to wax often. I don’t think the p21s will hold up because its all carnauba and I want to eliminate the amout of times I wax during the winter because of conditions.i can do a qd after washings but I’m lookin for a good longer protection wax.
    Any suggestions?

  22. Matt says:

    Todd – nice article. Looking for recommendations for Wax/Sealant for new 2013 Chevy Volt – Black paint!



  23. tiffany says:


  24. Rick Shiller says:

    I have had excellent results on black paint with Pittman’s VaporWax paint conditioner, True its not really wax and its not a sealer either but it makes the paint shine like its new and the effect is long lasting.

  25. Bud says:

    Can you offer a suggestion of a wax for my 2014 Kodiac Brown Explorer. Reading all there is to offer out there is like trying to decide who tells the truth, Hannity or Matthews. Appreciate your help, that is with the wax.

  26. charlie says:

    any suggestions on reconditioning rear plastic convertible top window ? Scratched &faded badly !
    Thanks for any help!!!
    Charlie Weaver

  27. john jacobs says:


    After the hail storm in Pa., my insurance company refused to trash the car and instead spent 7,500 for a local repair and collisssion place to to remove every panel except the drivers door, and then paint it black.

    When I got the car the gleamimg black was amazing. Then after washing the car; it’s just a black car.

    Would you continue to recommend th blackfire wet sealant to bring some life back

  28. john jacobs says:


    I got my completely hail damaged Toyota corolla (black ) back after the local repair and collision place replaced every panel on the car.

    Gleaming black after getting it back but now, after several months, it’s just a black car.

    Would you recommend blackfire wet diamond sealant to bring some life back – John

  29. Dave says:

    Hi Todd,

    Thank you for this article. Its great to have someone with your expertise around to give us the straight goods on all the options out there.

    I have just bought a 2013 Mustang GT. The car is relatively new, but whoever owned it before me had no idea how to wash a car. Its got a ton of swirl marks! This isnt my fist rodeo with a black car and I do have a porter cable polisher, so I think I can manage with it.

    You mentioned in the article the differences in paint hardness. How can you tell how hard the paint is? If I was to guess, I would say that the Mustang has pretty soft paint.

    What polish would you recommend for this car? I currently have Sonax.

    What would you recommend I follow up with? Sealant and/or wax? You seem to be recommending the Blackfire Wet Diamond sealant. Is it best to follow up with a wax on top?

    I have plenty of time and really want to do a great job. Your advice is appreciated!

  30. jay rabkin says:

    Hi Todd
    I just purchased a new E440 black mercedes —i am looking for an outstanding shine and if i have to wax a bit more often that is no problem—what product or combination of products would you suggest???——-i was thinking of using Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste Wax
    Thank you

  31. Julie says:

    Hey Todd! I recently purchased a 2014 F150 that is black. The paint is gorgeous and I want to keep it from fading, what wax/polish/sealant would you recommend? It also has quite a bit of chrome so what recommendations do you have for chrome polishes? Thanks!

  32. Shane Wray says:

    what to use on a black harley davidson street glide. would the blackfire be good to use

  33. joey says:

    Klasse All-in-One, and Meguiars liquid wax makes a black cars shine likes it’s new.

  34. Mike Phillips says:

    Todd, I just finished a frame on restoration on my 1970 Monte Carlo, it was and now repainted black. What questions should I ask my restorer regarding the paint so I know how best to maintain it. I like a deep glass shine. No swirls.
    Thank you.

  35. Tom Pirwitz says:

    Todd (or whoever is there now), I just got my sister’s old ’04 Subaru Outback in Mystic Blue Pearl/Titanium Pearl. She took terrible care of the exterior–the paint is a mess, but it’s a Colorado car, so no rust and it’s mechanically sound. Here’s my problem: The dark blue paint appears cracked/crazed all over and any polish she may have used has left a white haze in the cracks. They really stand out. I can’t afford a new paint job but would like to know if there is a wax and/or sealer that will fill in and hide these obvious cracks. In the past, I’ve had clean and shiny cars with few if any paint imperfections. Seeing this every day is painful. Thank you for any advice you can offer.

    • Reece @ DI says:

      Tom – Without seeing the cracks I can not say for sure what it is. However with you calling them cracks and not scratches or imperfections it sounds like you have some clear coat failure or need some paintwork done to fix this. I would highly recommend contacting a body shop to get their recommendations on a fix. For filling in the cracks, detailing products unfortunately will not help. Sealants and waxes will not fill in cracks, but they will protect the paint, hopefully helping these cracks stay protected longer, allowing the paint not to fail faster, etc. If you want to fill in deep cracks, you will have to use a touch up paint. After you use this paint, you can protect your results with a wax or sealant. Hopefully that helps and if you have any other questions please contact us here: https://www.detailedimage.com/Contact/

      • Tom Pirwitz says:

        Good morning! “Cracks” may have been an overstatement. When I first saw it, it reminded me a little like a lacquer sprayed over an enamel before it completely ‘gassed’, thus ‘crazing’ the lacquer layer. (You can tell I’m ‘old school’ and haven’t been active in dealerships or body shops for a number of decades…)

        What I’d like to do now is to eliminate / hide the white ‘spider-webbing’ with some product, preferably that can be hand-applied. When I worked at a highline European import store in the late ’80’s, we had something we put on black or dark paint to cover swirl marks and very minor surface imperfections. I can’t remember what it was. I know this would be a temporary fix, but if I could get it to last 6 months (fall & spring reapplications), that would be dandy!

        Any suggestions would be really appreciated. Most of the guys I worked with are now either retired or passed on, so I don’t know how up-to-date they’d be with their knowledge.

        Thanks! Tom

  36. Justin Rigsby says:

    I’m getting ready to possibly do something I said I would never do, buy a black car. How hard is it to keep it looking like something. I’m not a perfectionist, and the car is not going to be garage kept, so how do I keep it from looking old before its time. It’s a 2017 Cruze. Thx for any help.

  37. There is nothing bad I can say about this. A must read post for all car owners.

  38. Tylor says:

    Awesome information. Really helped me.

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