Abrasives can come in many forms. Much like sandpaper, polishing pads, compounds and polishes have levels of abrasiveness to them. Each have their purpose and uses for the level of work to be performed. Such as paint or even glass, yes we even polish glass, can have deep scratches that may need a more extreme approach to properly restore or enhance the particular area(s).

Acids main use pertains typically to wheels and the removal of brake dust especially with those that are heavily soiled. However, acids aren’t recommended for uncoated aluminum wheels as it can cause costly repairs or irreversible damage.

A force between two objects and or substances holding them together.

Any substance with a pH value greater than 7; also referred to as a “base.”

All In One (AIO)
A product that adds gloss as well as protection to paint in one step. Commonly a semi abrasive wax that removes light swirls and leaves a level of protection for several months.

A substance made up of more than one type of compounds or substances.

Metal surface that has gone through an electrically treated process to produce a cosmetically pleasing, corrosion resistant finish.
All Purpose Cleaner, used in many situations on varying types of surfaces.
Applicator Pad
An applicator pad can be handheld or attached to a device such as a buffer to apply products. Common products applied with applicator pads are ceramic coatings, sealant, wax, dressings and plastic restoration.


Backing Plate
This is the pad/plate on a buffer that utilizes hook and loop material to attach polishing pads securely.

Baked Dry
The use of heat for accelerating the drying or curing process of paint, clear coat as well as chemicals.
Base Coat
Base coat is also referred to as the “Color Coat.” This goes on top of a primer/sealer which is protected by clear coat to prevent fading and scratches.
Beveled Edge on Pads
Rounded edge on foam applicator or polishing pads.
Organically decomposing substances
Blotting also referred to as dabbing, is the process of lifting up and down on a surface when drying or applying a product.
Body Shop Safe
A product that will not cause fisheyes or other unwanted issues such as adhesion or premature failure of paint. Common products that are not safe in these environments are typically silicon based.
Brake Dust
This is organic particles such as iron the come from the brake rotor and pads on a vehicle. Common areas to be seen are on wheels, however small orange rust spots seen on vehicles called rail dust is also another side effect from brake dust.

A buffer is a very important piece of equipment that aids in applying products as well as removal of scratches, which comes in many shapes, sizes as well types. Commonly used buffers a very large and bulky and typically range in price upwards of $800 for professional grade. There are two common types you will here about which are Rotary and D.A. (AKA Dual Action). A rotary buffer spins in a clockwise motion with varying speeds, whereas the D.A. spins around an eccentric offset.
Detailers often say “We’re going to buff your car”. Generally, they really mean “I’m going to apply my wax with a buffer”. When in actuality, when people are looking for someone to “buff” their car, they assume they’re going to be removing scratches and imperfections from their paint. Although waxing will temporarily hide some minor scratches, it won’t remove them and after 2 washes you’ll be right back to where you started scratches and all. You need to “Polish them out” or do a “Cut and Buff” (hence the word “CUT” before the buff, referring to cutting process before the waxing step). So many Detailers use this term way to loosely and at the consumers expense.
Buffer Trails
Commonly caused by inexperienced detailers which is from improper use. This may look like holograms throughout the paint.
Car Wax
A car wax is a sacrificial barrier between the harsh elements and your car’s paint. A good wax will improve the sheen and gloss of your vehicle while protecting the paint. A typical wax lasts 3-6 months.
Carnauba Car Wax
Carnauba wax is the hardest natural wax known to man and is produced by palm trees in Brazil.
Clay Bar
Clay bar is a method for removing surface contaminants from a vehicle’s paint ranging from tree sap, industrial fall out (little rust looking spots), bugs or road tar. Although this is not necessary before waxing, it is sometimes preferred to give the vehicle a nice smooth, glossy finish.
Clay Lube

  1. Lubricant specifically made to assist a clay bar to glide over the surface it is being used on.


  1. A chemical designed to emulsify dirt or contaminants.
    Combination of a light abrasive cleaner and silicones that allow the user to clean and to provide shine in one step. Cleans and shines.

Combination of a light abrasive cleaner, silicones and waxes that allow the user to clean, shine and provide protection in one step. Cleans, shines and protects.


  1. The act of removing foreign dirt/particulates/contamination from a surface.

Clear Bra / Paint Protection Film

  1. Urethane film applied to painted surfaces to preserve them, specifically preventing chips and scratches.

Clear Coat

  1. Paint without color. It is the final coat in modern paint systems applied on top of paint to preserve it.

Cloth Seats

  1. Seating surfaces with a fabric/broadcloth covering.


  1. Any product that adds measurable thickness to the top of paint, and creates a cross linked barrier with extended durability.

Compound Polish
A liquid or paste with a level of abrasiveness designed to remove oxidation, scratches and other imperfections.


  1. Any foreign particle rested, embedded, or bonded to any part of a vehicle that would ideally be removed when cleaning.


  1. The action of a paint or coating cross-linking to form a stable matrix or film. Gases will evaporate from the surfaces during this process so you should not protect the surface until this process is complete.

Cure time

  1. The duration of the curing process, or length of time between application of a product and that product reaching a fully stable state.


  1. Removing the top layer of paint or clear coat via polishing or compounding. This is done most effectively with a buffer.

Cutting Pad

  1. An aggressive pad that gets attached to a buffer to help remove noticeable surface imperfections in the clear coat or paint.

To clean an item to the very smallest parts in order to maintain cleanliness and overall maintain condition.

Water base and solvent base liquids designed to provide protection and gloss for rubber, vinyl, plastic and leather.

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