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Meguiars Ultimate Compound vs Ultimate Polish + Alternatives

So, you just bought an old, classic car that has been sitting in the sun for years, and you are wondering how to restore its exterior and overall new car care. Or, your parents have gifted you their 20-plus-year-old car that is not in its best shape on the outside. The way it came into your possession is irrelevant; the bottom line is that the car needs serious auto detailing that may include a certain degree of paint correction. If that describes your dilemma, read on!

There are plenty of options on the market today for such detailing needs. This article focuses on the Meguiars Ultimate Compound and Meguiars Ultimate Polish. They are highly sought after by car owners who want to do considerable paint correction and restoration on their cars and come highly recommended by car enthusiasts and professional detailers.    

However, it is essential to include this disclaimer when considering such products: Not all scratches can be removed by compounds and polishes. These products are suitable for light, clear-coat-level blemishes or moderate paint transfer scratches. However, deep scratches (those that cut through the clear coat and dig into the base coat or primer) will require more extensive scratch removal methods.

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Meguiars Ultimate Compound vs Ultimate Polish: The Lowdown

Both enthusiasts and professionals in the car detailing industry have been known to throw around terms that fundamentally mean the same thing. Some of the questions that car owners ask their go-to car detailing professionals about polishes and compounds include “what is the difference between a polish and compound?”, “What is a rubbing compound?”, “Is there a difference between plain compound and rubbing compound?” and “Is polishing compound similar to rubbing compound?”  

Going by basic detailing-industry-specific definition, polishes and compounds are abrasive products that help restore faded, scratched, or heavily-oxidized car paint. So, it begs the question: do these two products serve the same purpose? And if so, isn’t it possible to do with just one of them? Let’s find out.

What is Meguiars Ultimate Compound?

Meguiars Ultimate Compound is more aggressive or more severe in its effect on paint than the Meguiars Ultimate Polish. It is designed to remove heavy oxidation, moderate to deep scratches and swirl marks, etching water spots, and other forms of paint blemishes. It does so by cutting into the clear coat layer of a car’s paint to remove imperfections or level them out, thus restoring surface smoothness and clarity.  

According to Meguairs, Ultimate Compound is superior to traditional compounds because it has 'micro-abrasive technology,' which leaves a more even finish thanks to its finer consistency. It does not contain any car wax, fillers, or silicone; it's the real deal! You can apply this product either by hand or with the help of a machine polisher.

Preparing your Car’s Surface for Ultimate Compound

For the best results, ensure that your car is clean and dry before applying the product. Therefore, take time to give your vehicle a thorough washdown using a highly-effective car wash soap. Also, depending on where you drive regularly, your car may have also picked up stubborn contaminants that may have bonded to its paint. Such pollutants include rail dust, tar, industrial fallout, brake dust, tree sap, paint overspray, and hard water spots. These probably won’t be removed by a regular car wash. If not dealt with, they may hinder the effectiveness of a compound or polish. Therefore, you will do well to also clay bar your car after washing it.

Washing Your Car

  1. Pre-Wash
    Torque Detail’s Decon Soap comes highly recommended for both the pre-wash and full contact wash of your car. Decon soap will decontaminate your car’s surfaces, stripping off prior wax/sealant coats. A good pre-wash involves spraying your entire vehicle with the thick soap suds that Decon Soap produces and letting the suds sit for at least 5-10 minutes as the soap softens the dirt on your car. After that, hose down the car using a pressure washer to wash off the soap and the loose dirt it will have dislodged.

  2. Contact Wash
    After that, use the two-bucket method to scrub down the car. Fill two 5-gallon buckets with water and add four ounces of decon soap to your ‘soap’ bucket. It is also a good idea to put a grit guard in both buckets to keep your wash mitt from recollecting dirt particles after rinsing or dipping. After that, dunk a fresh microfiber wash mitt into the soap bucket and start gently scrubbing down your vehicle. Work from the top going downwards, going section by section. Rinse off the wash mitt in the rinse bucket when it gets saturated with dirt, and then dunk it again into the soap bucket to collect more soap.

  3. Rinsing
    When you have scrubbed down all your car’s exterior surfaces, rinse them with plenty of water. Again, for the best result, spray your car with pressurized water to completely remove all the soap and dirt from your car’s surface.

  4. Drying
    The drying process must also be handled well. With a leaf blower or machine dryer, you are more guaranteed of scratch-free car drying; it will also get the job done quicker. If you don’t have such equipment, use fresh microfiber towels.

Claying Your Car

One simple method you can use to determine whether your car’s surface has embedded contaminants is by placing your hand inside a thin plastic bag and gently running it over your car’s paint to feel for roughness. The plastic bag will improve your sense of touch, so you will be able to notice sections of paint with imperfections or roughness indicative of embedded contaminants.    

If you notice embedded contaminants, you should clay your car. A high-quality, easy-to-use claying product like Torque Detail’s Clay Lube is perfect for the job. This spray-on clay lube comes with a reusable clay pad.

Before claying your car, ensure that your car’s surface is clean and dry. Then spray wax the Torque Detail’s Clay Lube onto a small paint section and use the provided clay pad to scrub that surface. Make sure that the dotted side of the clay pad is facing downwards when scrubbing. Spray more Clay Lube onto the surface as needed to keep the clay pad well lubricated as you scrub. Also, use back-and-forth scrubbing motions to dislodge bonded contaminants. When you are done claying your entire car, hose it down with plenty of water and dry it using plush microfiber towels.

Applying Ultimate Compound

Finally, apply the Ultimate Compound. It is also important to remain conscious of the fact that the product’s purpose is to cut into the top portion of your car’s clear coat layer. Therefore, you must rub it onto your car’s painted surfaces with significant pressure. For this reason, a machine polisher is bound to deliver better results.

When applying the product using a hand-held foam pad applicator, first shake the bottle vigorously and then squeeze a few drops onto your foam applicator and spread a thin film of the product over your working surface. After that, use the applicator to rub the product onto your car’s surface. Detailers advise working one section at a time, on sections no bigger than 18” x 18”. This is because the compound starts to dry out when left too long on car paint; when it starts to dry, it is much harder to work with and also harder to remove, so it is in your best interests to work the surface while the compound is still moist and dense.  

Work the product onto that surface using circular motions as you move up and down that section while applying a healthy dose of pressure. Make several passes, overlapping them to ensure that every square inch of that portion of paint has been worked on exhaustively. When you have covered that section, use a plush microfiber towel to wipe off any excess compound, and then buff the surface to your desired shine using a different side of the towel. Before moving to the next section, it is wise to inspect the surface using a bright light to see if you have successfully removed all imperfections. If not, repeat the process. When you are finally satisfied with the work, you can move on to another section of paint and repeat the process.

What is Meguiars Ultimate Polish?

The Meguiars Ultimate Polish picks up where the Ultimate Compound leaves off. Because it is less abrasive, it removes light scratches and fine swirls, e.g., those left by abrasive towels. This product is also infused with glaze, which fills the scratches or imperfections that you cannot remove through abrasion. As a result, it leaves a glass-like reflection. The glaze also restores color and shine, making painted surfaces look newer than they are. This product is ideal for when you want to prepare your car’s paint for the ultimate waxing.

The Meguiars Ultimate finishing Polish also needs to be rubbed onto your car’s painted surfaces with a fair amount of pressure, but not as much as is required when applying Ultimate Compound. It can be applied by hand or with the help of a machine polisher.

When applying it by hand, shake the bottle vigorously and squeeze a few drops of the product onto a foam applicator pad. Rub the product onto a section of your paint using circular motions. After that, use a plush microfiber towel to wipe it off to reveal a glossy shine. For even better results, repeat the process and then move on to another paint section.

Alternatives to Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound and Polish? Is there a better alternative?

Reverse: Scratch & Swirl Remover
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  • Repair car scratches, swirl marks and water spots.
  • Will also remove oxidation, spider marks and paint imperfections. 
  • Works by hand, no fancy tools needed.
  • Contains no fillers, silicone or wax.
  • No hazing, no streaking.
  • Product contains 4oz of all-in-one paint correction compound.
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Yes, there are several alternatives to Meguiars Ultimate Compound and Ultimate Polish. One product that is a combo of the benefits of both of the above products is Torque Detail’s Reverse Scratch Remover.

Torque Detail’s Reverse Scratch Remover is an all-in-one paint correction compound that removes scratches, swirl marks, water spots, oxidation, spider marks, and other blemishes that may be on your car’s paint. Like the Meguiars Ultimate Compound, it does not contain silicone additives, fillers, or wax, so it does not leave streaks or hazing. Also, it is enough to apply it by hand; you do not have to get a machine polisher to improve its effectiveness.

As when using the Meguiars Ultimate Compound or Ultimate Polish, you must prepare the surface of your car before applying Torque Detail’s Reverse Scratch Remover. Wash, dry, and clay bar the surface as described above. After that, spray a small amount of the Torque Detail Reverse Scratch Remover onto a clean, fresh microfiber towel and use the towel to rub the product into your car’s paint. Just like you would do when applying Meguiars Ultimate Compound, apply the Torque Detail Reverse Scratch Remover using a considerable amount of pressure to ensure the removal of all scratches and swirls. Rub the surface using circular motions, moving up and down or side to side to ensure every square inch is worked on. If the surface will still have some traces of scratches or imperfections, repeat the process.  

After that, use another microfiber towel to wipe down the surface thoroughly.

Summary: Meguiars Ultimate Compound vs Ultimate Polish vs Torque Detail (Who won?)

Well, considering the different attributes of these products, the best answer is that there is no winner here. The two products appear to be similar but they perform different functions; they compliment each other. Therefore, if you are thinking about buying the Meguiars Ultimate Compound, you will do well to also buy the Meguiars Ultimate Polish because it picks up where the Meguiars Ultimate Compound leaves off.

Worth noting is that these products will not leave any protection on your car’s paint, so you need to apply a coat of cleaner wax or paint sealant after working with these products. Torque Detail’s Mirror Shine comes highly recommended because it is infused with ceramic (Silicon Dioxide). It is also easy to apply. Just like you would do with the Torque Detail Reverse Scratch Remover, you just spray a small amount of the Mirror Shine product onto a fresh microfiber towel and use it to rub the surface of your car. You won’t need to use force when doing so. After applying the product, using buffing pads for the surface with a secondary towel to your desired shine is essential.

  • Published on Sep 19, 2022
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