Skip to Content

How Long Does It Take To Polish a Truck?

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Polishing is a great way to maintain the life and appearance of your truck's paint and exterior. This step is often overlooked, but when completed correctly, it revives the truck's look and removes all contaminants from its surface. A good polish can be time-consuming. But how long does it really take to get a good polish on a truck? We've researched this to get an answer for you!

Depending on the method used, it would take at least 4 to 6 hours to polish your truck; whether by hand or using a polishing wheel. Many people do not mind spending a lot of their time ensuring that every surface of their truck is polished. Besides, the time spent in polishing also depends on the size and type of vehicle.

It might sound like a lot of work, but there are good reasons to polish your vehicle regularly. Keep reading to learn more about polishing your truck.

Repair workshop specialist cleaning headlight with polisher, How Long Does It Take To Polish a Truck?

What Does It Mean to Polish a Truck?

Polishing is a grooming process for trucks or cars that means the application of a mildly abrasive liquid to smooths out any imperfections in your paintwork.

Car detailing series

These abrasives aid in fixing issues of contamination, oxidation, and wear in paint. Depending on the type of polish, some polishes are made to remove scratches and contain oils that improve appearance.

Tools You Would Need to Polish a Truck

It does not require so much to polish a truck. Just a few tools and materials are required; they include:

  • Rotary buffer or applicator pads
  • Masking tape
  • Microfiber towel
  • Hose
  • Car brush

How Long Does It Take To Polish a Truck? 

Here's the length of time you should keep in mind if you intend to polish your truck

Polishing by Hand

Man after washing wipes white car with a rag at car was

Although polishing your truck by hand is safer, it will take an average of 4 to 7 hours, and it is a tedious task, especially when polishing the entire truck. 

  1. Polishing can get messy, so make sure to clear the area around you to avoid extra cleaning afterward or any accidents.
  2. Remove all dirt from your truck and thoroughly rinse it with water. Dry as much as possible with a microfiber towel.
  3. Apply a tiny amount of polish to coat the applicator pad. The pad will absorb the polish because it is sponge-like in nature, and any excess polish can be squeezed out.
  4. Working in sections, rub the polish into the paint in a circular motion.
  5. Section by section, buff the polish to a shine with the microfiber towel.

Polishing With a Rotary Polisher

Working on a quarter panel with a portable handheld polisher

Using a rotary polisher to polish produces a faster result. It will take an average of 4 to 5 hours to get the job done. 

  1. Any item on the vehicle that will not be polished should be moved or covered. As it can get pretty messy when using a rotating polisher.
  2. When polishing, you don't want any dirt on your truck, so wash and thoroughly and rinse it. Do not allow the car to dry.
  3. Fix a new pad on the rotary tool and polish a small section of your truck.
  4. Spread the polish on the section you want to work on and keep the spinning wheel parallel to the polishing surface. 
  5. The truck's exterior will heat up as you apply pressure to the polisher, and the scratches will begin to clear away.
  6. As the polishing pad absorbs and removes the polish, the newly shined paint will begin to show. When this occurs, move to a different section and repeat the process.
  7. As you move across each section, the polishing pad will cake with debris, and this can be removed by rinsing the pad.
  8. Dry with a microfiber towel after polishing.

Whether by hand or with a rotary polisher, you can always get a professional to get your polishing done. 

Stages of Automotive Polishing [3 Stages]

Car polish wax worker hands applying protective tape before polishing

A three-stage polish is a process that uses three steps with three different polishes to create a finishing polish. The degree of flaws and scratches on the paintwork determines which one you start with.

Avoid using more aggressive pads and polish together as much as possible this can remove a large amount of the top coat which you do not want.

The Light Stage

The first level or light stage is usually a maintenance service that keeps your car clean and shiny. It can remove scratches, provides light decontamination, and restores shine to your truck. The work is then sealed with a glaze-protecting sealant, and you are good to go.

The Medium Stage

The second level is a two-step paint correction process for removing swirls or light scratches that could be caused even during washing.

Unlike the light stage, it involves a higher level of decontamination with specific chemicals that eat through the damage without destroying the paintwork, leaving behind a clean surface before the polishing process begins.

The first stage of polishing uses a heavy compound and heavy pads to remove defects. Your truck is then polished a second time with a lighter compound for a glossy, finished looked and sealed with paint protection.

The Heavy Stage

This is a three-step polishing procedure designed to remove severe flaws. Similar to the medium stage, but more time-consuming due to the use of sandpaper and more polishing with various polishing chemicals and pads.

It also includes techniques that are specific to the level of damage. It is important to measure the thickness of the truck's paint to avoid burning through it because if this process fails, the only option is to repaint the truck, and respraying can be costly.

Why You Should Do a 3 Stage Polish

There are many reasons you might choose a three-stage polish:

  • You may have noticed a good number of corrections to be made.
  • You have the time to go through the process.
  • You believe that three stages will give yield a satisfactory result.

In any case, a three-stage polish has advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that you can achieve a great deal of correction. The disadvantage is that it takes a long time. A three-stage polish isn't always the best option for light corrections. 

Common Car Polishing Problems

Like every other car grooming activity, polishing a truck comes with its challenges, and it is possible to mess up your paintwork. Here are some problems you will encounter in car polishing.

Overworking The Polish

The process of polishing is designed such that the paint on the truck is heated. If you spend too much time on an area, you will end up thinning the paint, which in some cases can expose the clearcoat.

Overcoating With Polish

If you are just trying out polishing for the first time, you are likely to make the mistake of coating the entire vehicle with polish. Applying all that polish at once will only leave you with a lot of mess to clean up.

Car Polishing Safety

It is important to take the necessary precautions when polishing your car. So here are a few tips to ensure you do not get messy, lose a finger or possibly have any major accidents.

  • Polish and cleaning solutions contain chemicals that can irritate the skin. Avoid contact with the skin. If possible, wear a protective glove, goggles, and coverall.
  • Keep your hair covered. Jewelry, pets, etc., should be kept away when using an electric polisher. It is prone to entangle with loose materials on the spinning disc.
  • Even if most car polishing products are made to be environmentally friendly, you still need to dispose of any byproducts properly.
  • Most work areas for polishing are enclosed spaces, which prevents unnecessary drying and has other benefits, but proper ventilation is important to avoid any buildup of fumes.

How Long Does It Take To Buff and Polish a Truck? 

Polishing and buffing are essential for repairing and preserving a truck's paint. Polishing a truck typically involves the use of abrasives to extract the top coat from your truck, thereby removing scratches.

However, buffing removes a  thin layer of paint. Experts can complete both of these tasks with minimal effort. It will take approximately 4 to 7 hours to buff and polish your truck.

How Much Does It Cost to Polish a Truck? 

Calculator with money

The cost of polishing depends on a number of factors, including whether it is done by a professional or by yourself, the type and size of the truck, and the level of polish you select. This can range between $50 and $200. 

You can save most of that cash if you are polishing by yourself. With some of the materials already at your disposal, you can probably spend about $100 on supplies that will last you for several rounds of polishing.

In Conclusion 

Polishing your truck solves paint problems leaving it smooth, clean, and shiny. However, polishing is not limited to paints; there are other parts of the truck that need to be polished as well. So, if you want to be cruising in a clean truck, you should consider taking out time to polish your truck.

For related articles on truck polishing, here are more engaging articles: 

How to Remove Paint From Plastic Car Parts

Car Paint Peeling Off - What To Do?