Dual action car polishers, also known as DA car polishers, are a key ingredient of any car fanatic’s toolkit. But what exactly is a dual action polisher, and how does it work?

A dual action car polisher is a handheld machine that polishes, buffs and sands your car. It offers an attractive alternative to hand polishing, which can often be tiring and time-consuming. While the hand polishing process often involves applying car polish products before being buffed off, machine polishers utilise the head of the machine to work the polishing product into the paintwork.

Types of dual action polishers

There are two key types of polishers, the rotary and the dual action polisher. The rotary polisher is most often used by professionals to polish and restore paintwork, and the head of the machine rotates at a constant speed and removes paint from the surface of your car. While rotary dual action polishers can be very effective, if used incorrectly, they also have the potential to cause serious damage, such as buffer trails, surface burns and hologramming.

Dual action car polishers, however, are often smaller, lighter and are easier to manoeuvre. Rather than rotating, the head oscillates, mimicking the motion of hand polishing, but at a much faster rate. This movement stops heat generating between the polishing pad and paintwork, which mitigates some of the risk of polishing your car yourself.

Hands with orbital polisher in auto repair shop. Selective focus.

Tips for using a dual action polisher

If you do have a go at using a dual action polisher yourself, here are some tips:

  • Make sure you ensure you’ve got the correct technique by doing a test spot
  • Use the right pad, polish and speed combination for the paint’s condition
  • Always begin with the softest polish, and work up if necessary
  • Keep your speed and pressure consistent, even though you might want to rush to get it finished!
  • Work in small areas around three by three inches so that you an keep track of where you are
  • Don’t lift your pad off the paint when the machine is still running
  • Make sure you have good lighting
  • Keep your pads away from your car’s trim and any sharp edges

When might I need a professional car polish?

  1. You have deep scratches on your car

While car polishers like the dual action car polisher can be great for removing light marks, they won’t necessarily be able to remove deep scratches.

As a rule of thumb, running your finger over the scratch can help determine whether you need to call a professional car body repair specialist like Concept Wraps. Run your finger over the scratch – if it catches, even very slightly, it is likely that you won’t be able to remove it yourself and will need to call a professional.

  1. You’re worried about your skill level

While having your car professionally repaired might seem more expensive than having a go yourself, that’s not necessarily the case.

It can be a false economy to buy a dual action polisher if you don’t know how to use it confidently and end up causing more harm than good. When it comes to car polishing, there has never been a phrase so true as ‘if in doubt, leave it out’!

  1. You’re looking for long-lasting protection

Although there are lots of effective car polishing products on the market, professional products that are expertly applied means your car will stay looking fresh for longer. So, having your car worked on by a professional is a long-term investment which means it will be protected for months to come, without you having to worry.

When the dual action polisher just isn’t enough

There are times when a dual action polisher can leave your car looking as good as new. But there will be times when you might be better off finding a professional to polish your car for you.


If you want specific details on vehicle wraps, give us a call today or visit our website! We look forward to working with you to assist you with your vehicle wrap.

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