How to Restore a Faded Black Car Paint

Getting started

Black car paints fade off as a result of scratches and oxidation. 

Oxidation causes a car to lose its radiance and makes it look faded, old and worn out. It will interest you to know that a black car fades even faster than other lighter-colored cars. 

This is because black surfaces absorb more Ultraviolet (UV) rays than others. While UV rays make up only a small proportion of the overall sunlight, they are responsible for damaging the exterior of cars and other automobiles, especially when they are exposed to the sun for a longer period.

Low-quality materials used for the paint job can also make your car paint fade even in six months. Whatever the case may be, the good news is that it can take just a little effort to restore your black car to its glistering way using modern products and techniques.

Before you get started, it is important to know how to restore your black car paint and every detail of the job, the severity of the damage, and the type of paint that was used originally for the car. 

Once you are conversant with these, you can do a great job. You wouldn’t need a professional detailer for this. 

Do I need to buy a polishing machine?

Certain products are very effective and will not require a polishing machine. 

A product like Autoglym Super Resin Polish is quite easy to apply by hand. It is very popular in the USA and UK. This product removes minor scratches and oxidation stains. 

Other products like Turtle Wax T-3KT Black Box Kit and Meguiar’s Black Wax are also very good and they give exceptional results.

You can do a good job by hand but this will take longer. In most cases, you can permanently and effectively restore a faded black car paint only with the use of a polishing machine as this will completely remove scratches and cover up the faded areas. 

Polishing machines are quite easy to use and they yield amazing results in a short time. Chemical Guys Porter Detailing Kit is an excellent Polishing Kit and it is available for sale on Amazon.

Will compound or polish remove stone chips?

Stone chips are a result of gravel and road debris flicked from the tires of other vehicles ahead of you. 

This is a common feature in car paintwork and they usually create small, deep, and localized damage in the car paint. Stone chips become an eyesore that needs urgent repairs. When left unchecked, they start to bubble out once water gets underneath the paint and they can even become rusty. Stone chips completely remove clear coats and paint from a vehicle.

It is important to fix stone chips before polishing because no amount of polishing or compounding will remove deep stone chips. 

Do compound and polish have any effect on the car paint?

Compound corrects deeper scratches while the polish is used to restore deep gloss after using the compound. The compound will remove oxidation while polish will add more shine and gloss to your car.

Compounding and polishing is something that needs to be done very often. Compound and polish smoothen the paint and clear coat that was used in forging the car’s body. Polishing has an incredible effect on the appearance of your black car, if done properly your black car will look stunning.

Compounding and polishing are not so easy as compared to waxing but it needs to be done often if you want your car to maintain its original looks. Professional retailers use a variety of polishing machines as well as polishes, compounds, and pads. However, this can also be done by hand but it will take longer than when done with a machine.

How do I know if I need to polish my car?

If your car is clean and dry but you notice some scratches, swirls, stone chips, or bird poop marks then it’s high time you polish your car. Polishing will remove all of these and make your black car look new again.

Oxidation and discoloration can also affect the surface of your car, making it look old and worn out. When this happens, you know your car needs more than mere washing. 

Polishing your car will restore your car paint and increase its value. However, it is advisable to polish your car just twice a year to avoid the polish or compound damaging your car paint because they are abrasives and they possess some form of aggressiveness.

What are the types of compounds and polishes?

Compounds are more aggressive than polishes and are used to remove heavy scratching and oxidation. Polishes are less aggressive and are useful for mild scratches. Polishes are broken down into cutting polishes and finishing polishes which can otherwise be seen as more aggressive or less aggressive polishes.

The type of polish used depends on the magnitude of the scratch on the paint. 

However, it is important to use the least abrasive product where necessary to curb future damages to the car. 

Types of polishes

Polishes are of two types: diminishing and non-diminishing polish. 

Diminishing polishes have abrasives that start more aggressive and break down as you work with them to become less aggressive and have a smoother finishing. They are also referred to as Diminishing Abrasive Technology (DAT). 

Non-diminishing polishes on the other hand have abrasives that don’t break down and have fixed aggressiveness. They are sometimes referred to as Super Micro Abrasive Technology (SMAT) Polishes.

Types of compounds

Compounds fall into three main categories:


These are cutting compounds. “Cut” here refers to how quickly the compound cuts away metal. Tripoli eliminates dull scratches to deliver a smooth but dull surface.


Cuts away rough surfaces and provides a degree of luster.

Finishing rouges

They are burnishing compounds used to deliver high-quality polishing.

Due to the aggressive nature of compounds, they are usually used on old cars where the paint is damaged or faded. It can leave the surface of a black car murky. It is important to apply finishing polishes after using compounds to make your black car shine.

Best polish options for black cars

Meguiar’s ultimate polish is a very good finishing product for black cars. They are usually used as a follow-up to Meguiar’s ultimate compound which can leave a haze in the paint. Meguiar’s polish gives more shine to the car paint. 

Sonax Perfect Finish, Meguiar’s M205 Ultra Finishing Polish, Turtle Wax 53341 Hybrid solutions, Ceramic Polish and Wax are also notable products used to achieve excellent results.

Chemical Guys VSS Swirl and Scratch Remover is another great product that can be applied by hand or with a Dual Action Polisher.

These polishes are effective and perfect for cases like scratches, mild oxidation, and swirl marks and they quickly restore your black car paint. They are quite effective on their own and will only require a compound if the case is severe.

How to Restore a Faded Black Car Paint
man soaping his car. close-up hand drawing

What do professional detailers use?

Car detailers work for auto shops and car washes. They handle everything about your car, from washing to cleaning the interior, applying waxes, compounds, and polishes to the exterior of your car to give it a better look.

Professional detailers make use of a number of equipment and materials to restore your black car paint. They use microfibre towels, buffers, polishes, compounds, waxes, and machine polishers. 

Machines are more effective than hand because it has speed and aid in breaking compounds and polish easily.

Most professional detailers make use of Meguiar’s M105 compound because it is very effective. It has high abrasiveness and is very useful if the scratch on your car is deep or the paint is completely oxidized and discolored. M105 requires using the correct cutting pad if you must apply this properly and it’s usually followed up with Meguiar’s M205 which is a professional finishing polish. 

How to Prepare a Black Car for Compounding or Polishing

Preparing your car before compounding and polishing is very crucial and shouldn’t be skipped. 

It is important to wash and dry the surface of your car to remove all forms of contamination before you start working on it. You can use a degreaser shampoo like Chemical Guys Clean Slate, Citrus wash, Sheepskin wash mitt, or Adams Strip Wash to thoroughly wash your car. 

Below are the steps for preparing a black car for compounding:

Washing and decontamination

Before you start washing, it is advisable to remove license plates and some other parts that might obstruct the washing and polishing. Dirt also hides in these parts. If you don’t remove them, you’ll have difficulties washing and polishing around them. 

It is important to thoroughly wash the vehicle to remove dirt and debris. During washing and decontamination, we must be sure to remove not just dirt but previous waxes, sealants, grease, and tar before polishing.


When you’re sure the car is squeaky clean, you can move to this stage. Some things can stick to your car but won’t come off during the normal washing. This is where claying comes in to remove all the embedded contaminants that didn’t leave during washing. 

The claying process is very important and should be done with care. You can use a fine-grade clear bar and a good-quality clear lube to ensure a clean surface free of abrasive contaminants. I recommend Dodo Juice Born Slippy clear lube for this process.


After thoroughly washing and claying, we need to tape and cut off some areas of the car that we don’t need to touch or become damaged if they come in contact with the buffer. 

While taping, we should protect sharp items that could get caught by the buffer, window seals that could get stained or damaged by the polish, and other items that could easily get hit by a buffer such as door handles, mirrors, etc.

How often is enough to wash a black car to abate fading?

Dirt, scratches, marks will reduce the value of your car. 

It is very important to wash and care for it. But how often should the car be washed? 

It is advisable to wash your car fortnightly or in three weeks with appropriate equipment and materials to prevent dirt, grease, and grime from building up on the surface of the car. This isn’t about the normal flushing that you do manually or using a hose or pressure washer to wash it.

When contaminants build up on the car’s surface, they will discolor the car or cause it to fade.

Excessive use of machines to wash cars will damage your car paint. It is advisable to wash your car manually. 

Useful equipment to have handy while washing manually include;

  • Car shampoo.
  • Bucket.
  • Alloy wheel cleaner.
  • Soft-bristled brush.
  • Hose or pressure washer.
  • Microfibre drying towel.

How long will polish last on a car?

Polish will last for 3 to 6 months on your car if you keep the car in good condition. If you don’t leave your car under the sun for too long, wash your car with some detergents, machines, or other harsh materials, your polish will last longer. 

Adopting good washing techniques will help preserve the polish for a longer time.

Avoid taking your car frequently to the car wash as much as possible. Manual washing is much better and preserves your car polish. It is also important to apply sealant and wax to your car after polishing. This will protect the polish from wearing off.

What to do after you polish your car

After polishing your car, you can simply use appropriate products and techniques to wash and dry your car. You should wash it with a cleanser or degreaser shampoo. Chemical Guys Clean Slate or Adams Strip Wash remains a good option.

After washing, you should apply a sealant. Sealants last longer and protect the paint. Washing is a good way to remove any residue and dust left on the surface of the car. Chemical Guys Jetseal and Maguire’s Ultimate Fast Finish are good sealants that give good shine and protection.

How to Restore a Faded Black Car Paint
Man after washing wipes white car with a rag at car wash. Selective focus.

Should I use a buffer or polish by hand?

Machine polishers/buffers such as rotary, orbital, and dual-action polishers work perfectly in removing swirls, watermarks, or scratches. They give faster and more consistent results as compared to polishing with hand.

Dual-action polishers give excellent results but you can also do a good job by hand. 

Before choosing what method to use, you need to consider the hardness of the clear coat and the thickness of your car finishing. Harder clear coats take longer to polish, unlike softer clear coats.

So, when the clear coat is hard, using a machine is the best option because it will make the job easier. Softer clear coats are easier to polish with hands. You can find out about the clear coat on your car model by inquiring from the manufacturer. If your clear coat is not thick, it is better to polish with hand because this will take a lesser clear coat than a machine.

Before you invest in a machine polisher, it is pertinent to know how to polish by hand first. This will enable you to study the effects of your polishing and how compounds of various cutting strengths work on your clear coat.

However, some jobs still need to be done with the hand. Even after using buffers, you’ll still need to do some work with your hand in areas that are too tight or too small for a machine to fit in. Like the headlights, taillights, and curved surfaces.

What is the best car polisher for a black car?

Dual Action Orbital Polishers are safer to use on paint because they don’t remove too much paint and cause damages as compared to rotary buffers. Meguiar’s Dual Action Polisher is very powerful and popularly used by professionals because it is effective and easy to use.

Here’s a list of top buffers based on customers reviews:

  1. DeWALT Buffer and Polisher
  2. WORKPRO Buffer Polisher Kit
  3. Black+Decker 6-inch Random Orbit Buffer
  4. Chemical Guys BUF 209X Complete Detailing Kit
  5. SPTA Buffer Kit
  6. Ryobi RB61G Swirl -free Orbital Buffer
  7. WEN 6010 6-inch Waxer/Polisher
  8. Meguiar’s MT300 Dual Action Variable Speed Polisher
  9. ENEACRO Car Buffer Polisher 
  10. SPTA Cordless Scratches Killer Car Buffer

All these products are available for sale on Amazon and other reputable online marketplaces.

Which pads do I need to polish a black car?

It is important to use the correct pad for the product you are using. This implies that the pad must be suitable for the car paint and the size must be appropriate for the job at hand. 

Polish pads are of types. Cutting pads are quite abrasive while finishing pads are not.

You can damage your car if you use the wrong pad. You can remove too much paint from the car. The friction of the pad on the car can burn the paint and leaves marks.

You choose a pad based on what you want to achieve. If the condition of your car is not critical, all you’d need is a polishing pad. However, if your car is older with severe scratches and oxidation, cutting pads are the best.

Chemical Guys Hex-Logic Orange Pad is a very perfect option for black cars. 

Other bestselling pads for black cars include;

  1. POLIWELL 6 Inch Car Polishing and Buffing Sponge Pads.
  2. Uxcell Compound EVA Car Waxing and Polishing Pad.
  3. SPTA Buffing Polishing Pads.
How to Restore a Faded Black Car Paint
Car waxing

How to buff out scratches on a black car

If your car paint is badly scratched or stained, you should begin with a cutting compound using a microfibre cutting pad then finish it up with a finishing polish and foam finishing pad.

Small scratches can always be buffed out with just polishing compounds. While trying to examine the scratch, if your fingernail doesn’t get caught in the scratch, it is a clear coat scratch that can easily be smoothened and made invisible.

Scratches on the clear coat can easily be buffed out because the clear coat is the outer layer of your vehicle.

Deep scratches cannot be easily buffed out, you will need to use touch-up paint to cover the affected areas. When your paint is extremely damaged, you will need to go through a process called wet sanding. Sanding a scratch helps in getting rid of it, for a few scratches you can sand by hand, for more severe scratches, you’ll need to use a sanding machine attached to a polishing machine or drill.

After buffing with compounds, the paint will look hazy. At this point, you will need to use a finishing polish with a finishing pad to remove the haze and make your vehicle shine.

How to apply it right!

You can either polish your car with your hand or with a buffer. Any of these methods have procedures that need to be followed strictly. The first step is to remove the car from direct sunlight, you can park it under a shade or in your garage. 

Secondly, collect all the required tools, materials, and equipment. You will need a machine buffer, car washing materials, buffing compound, water, microfiber buffing pads, polish, and sealant.

The next step is to wash the car thoroughly. It is important to remove all dirt and debris before polishing it. You can do this using the two-bucket method. Use the first bucket of soapy water to wash off the dirt and the second bucket to rinse it off.

Thirdly, you start the buffing process. Take the buffing pad and dampen it in clean water then apply the buffing compound to the damp pad. Buff all affected areas of the vehicle. Endeavor to use the recommended polisher for your work.

Finally, apply paint sealant or wax to your car. These extend the lifespan of the paint because they will leave a small layer of protection on the restored paint.

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