Using Wax to Remove Swirl Marks:
A one way ticket to disappointment!

Let me start off by telling you point blank that using wax to remove swirl marks is not going to happen!

If you live under this false knowledge, then you either don't know what causes swirl marks, maybe don't even know what swirl marks are, or have completely unrealistic expectations for the capabilities of waxes.

The fact that this search term is as common as it is, tells me you are not alone. The world of cosmetic car care is a world of much hype in the way of marketing and packaging. Which only adds more confusion to an already confused audience of car owners.

wax to remove swirl marks on car

What You Need to Know as a Car Owner

Now that you know wax to remove swirl marks is not a good plan, let me break this topic down for you.

I don't want you wandering off chasing your tail reading one bad opinion after another.

  • What are swirl marks?
  • Why can't wax remove swirl marks?
  • The best way to remove swirl marks?

What are Swirl Marks

In the most simple terms: swirl marks are scratches. Scratches that create a swirled pattern when looking at your car which most people will do in direct sunlight.

can wax remove these swirl marks

Swirl marks appear as a result of a few things that must come together:

  • Your car must have the endless scratching on the surface
  • There must be a circular light source -think sun- shining on your paint

What most car owners don't realize is that swirl marks only show up as this unwanted "swirled" effect as a byproduct of scratches in the paint and the circular pattern of the light source.

Since most people notice swirl marks when looking at their car in direct sunlight, the scratches in your car paint take on this "swirled" pattern.

This means that if you were to view your car paint with a light source that was of different shape, the swirled pattern would no longer exist.

swirl marks are not really swirlsThis shot shows how the scratches in the clear coat of this car mimic the shape of the light source. Since the light source is not circular, the "swirl" marks are no longer swirled, but display according to shape of light source.

As an added note of information, swirl marks is a term only used by non-professionals like yourself.

It is easy to understand how the term has become so wildly adopted by the mainstream, but in the professional world, swirl marks are really a byproduct of a certain type of machine polisher that leaves a distinct scratch pattern, thus creating swirl marks due to a specific scratch pattern only created by a certain type of buffer -a rotary polisher.

difference between swirl marks and hologramsHere is an example of what the professional world calls swirl marks due to the improper use of a rotary car polisher. This specific reflection pattern created when looked at in direct sunlight is also referred to as buffer trails, holograms, and buffer tracks.

Why Can't Car Wax Remove Swirl Marks

Wax to remove swirl marks will be nothing but an exercise in futility! Car waxes in generally offer a degree of "covering" capabilities, but these abilities are very trivial.

as a rule, wax will enhance what is already there. This means that while car wax offers a certain type f protection, it also makes whatever is present a bit "shinier".

This means that any defects, scratches, or blemishes that exist on your car paint will only be made shinier when an application of wax is put on.

Yes, certain car waxes -typically paste car wax- does have a very minimal ability to hep "conceal" paint defects, but wax to remove swirl marks is never going to happen.

The swirl marks might simply be diminished to a very small degree by using wax, but swirl marks will certainly not me removed by car wax.

Best Way to Remove Swirl Marks in Car Paint

Before I get too far with this tip, let me clarify the difference between car paint and clear coat. Anytime the topic of swirl marks comes up, you will find some people refer to swirl marks in car paint while others will say swirl marks in clear coat.

Any modern day, factory original (as opposed to repaint) will be finished with clear coat as the top layer sitting atop of the color coat. These are often referred to as 2-stage paint jobs -first stage is the color, with the second stage being the clear coat.

There are a few things to note at this point:

  • Your car will have clear coat (there are extremely very few exceptions to this)
  • The scratches that show up as swirl marks are officially in the clear coat
  • Even if your car has repaint and no clear coat, swirl marks are still a result of scratches in the paint
  • Regardless of the type of scratches, imperfections, or paint defects, the way to fix, remove, or diminish all of these car paint/clear coat problems are the same

Car Paint Defects:
You have three choices

  • You can use a car wax to help conceal them (very temporary fix)
  • You can use a car polish with no abrasives to diminish them (also temporary fix, but less temporary than just car wax)
  • You can use a product with abrasive particles to "scratch" your way to success (permanent results)

I will address your original question of using wax to remove swirl marks based on a permanent solution rather than waste time offering up temporary results for you.

"The goal with products like rubbing compounds, polishing compounds, and polishes formulated with abrasive technology is to scratch your way to success"

This technique exists in countless areas of life: wood working, fingernail polishing, etc. Basically any surface that needs to be refined, improved, made smooth, or develop gloss will rely on abrasives to perform this task.

Your car paint/clear coat is no different. In order to refine the surface to remove scratches, defects, and imperfections of many kinds, you will need a product with some type of abrasive particles to achieve superior results and permanent results.

does polish remove swirl marks

If you accept that using an abrasive product is the only way to permanently remove swirl marks, then you have a few choices to make before moving on:

  • What compound or polish do you use?
  • Do you use polish by hand or machine?

In many ways, your commitment towards results will determine which route you choose. I will tell you that using a machine polisher really is the better choice. Using your hand to polish will never produce the superior results of a machine polisher.

The Best Polish to Remove Swirl Marks

Any trip onto the Internet in search of the best car polish will deliver a mind-numbing amount of options. You will literally be faced with millions of search results all in the name of finding the best car polish so you can remove swirl marks from your car.

This illustrates a perfect example of why so frequently I default to an answer I refer to as WWDD:

"What Would Darren Do"

Many of my followers realize how easily they can fall into the tail chasing the industry would have them engage in if they tried to research certain topics themselves.

Which is why so frequently people just want to know what I would do. Which is this:

  • Use a dual-action, random orbital machine polisher
  • Use a single cutting foam pad
  • Use the industry's original Single Product Polish as the polish choice
  • Polish the car until you have achieved desired results

Ceram-X Car Polish:
the best polish to remove swirl marks

CSI Ceram-X Car Polish 62-203-Quart - Single Product Polish (SPP) Superior Single Polish Replaces The Countless compounds/Polishes You Think You Need

  • One polish versus the multiple products the industry teaches
  • One product does the heavy defect removal (based on pad and buffer choice)
  • One product removes swirl marks, holograms, buffer trails (based on pad and buffer choice)
  • Waterborne technology
  • Uses controlled abrasive technology (the industry standard is diminishing abrasive technology)
  • Can be used by hand, any machine, any polishing pad, any car, any color, any clear coat hardness

Why Using Wax to Remove Swirl Marks Fails

Traditional car wax serves two specific purposes:

  1. Adds protection
  2. Enhances shine

Traditional car wax is not intended for the following:

  • Paint correction
  • Surface refinement
  • Defect removal
  • Swirl mark removal

With that said, all those statements are over-simplifications. So let's dissect each for additional understanding.

Traditional car wax in any form -paste, liquid, or spray- is intended only to provide protection and gloss enhancement. Since any traditional car wax will have no abrasives, it is unrealistic to think that using wax to remove swirl marks would ever prove effective.

Wax will only "enhance" what is already there. So if your car has swirl marks and you apply wax to remove them, you will be completely disappointed.

Only by using a product that contains abrasives can you expect to refine the paint surface of defects of any kind, or expect to develop further shine, gloss, and depth to your car paint.

You literally use the abrasive particles in a given product to "scratch" your way to desired results. Car wax has no abrasives, therefore will provide no real distinction in the removal of swirl marks on your car regardless of the wax you have chosen.

The real paint correction, defect removal, depth creation is all about polishing! And polishing your car with a product that has actual abrasives to it.

Once you have developed the paint through polishing to the level that meets your standards, then can wax be applied to add an additional degree of gloss, along with some protection.

Wax to Remove Swirl Marks Removal:
Summary Takeaways

If you have made it this far down the page then you deserve a badge of honor!

Not too many people are willing to take the necessary time and effort to take a deep dive into a given subject for better understanding. You can count yourself among the select few of society.

We exist on an instant gratification mentality, but instant knowledge is really superficial knowledge. And the real answers of life rarely exist at the surface.

Thanks for tuning in and I sincerely hope I have help expand your understanding when asking if wax will remove swirl marks in your car.


Darren Priest

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