Nu Finish Car Polish has been around as long as I can remember. I still remember the old television commercials where a car that has been "polished" using Nu Finish is run through a car wash a hundred of times.
And the water still beads on the car, thus proving that the Nu Finish car polish must still be there, working to repel and bead up water with its revolutionary "once a year" claims.
The problem I have with Nu Finish is the same problem I have with virtually every other company that makes cosmetic car care products.
Misleading marketing and labeling. And the misleading is only part of the problem. Add to that the use of hyped-up terms that sound provocative and sophisticated, but in reality are completely ambiguous at best, and false at worst.
We are going to unpack this product, the marketing, and the terminology so you can become a more informed consumer and car owner.
Since Polish itself is a tricky word, I am going to start broad and work into the specifics of Nu Finish Car polish itself.
The word polish is a tricky word for many reasons:
For this part of our journey into the world of polishes, polishing, and car polishes specifically, right now we will be discussing "polish" as a noun.
Not all polishes are created equally. Some use chemicals as the "polishing agent", while others use abrasives as the polishing agent. (Once again, we need to remember that polish as a noun, is different than polishing as a verb)
Darren's Note: Now days with advances in chemical engineering and manufacturing, there are these things called hybrids (just like hybrid cars that combine a gas powered engine and an electric motor into a single car) This means there are many car waxes, car polishes, car paint sealants that are formulated using both natural wax ingredients along with synthetically made ingredients.
What this means in the context of a Nu Finish car polish is that you can have a product labeled as a wax, and yet be formulated with virtually all synthetic ingredients. (many times this is simply to make things easier on the consumer. If most people are familiar with car wax, then trying to educate them on the benefits and science behind synthetic sealants is not a challenge many companies want to take on)
It is easier just to call a product a wax, instead of the confusion that may enter the picture if it is labeled with a term that is obscure or unknown to most people. As the adage goes: "We don't need to reinvent the wheel"
Now we enter the wold of polishing as a verb. (an action word: like running, sweeping, cleaning, and wait for it...polishing)
In simple terms, it is rubbing a surface (of something) to create shine, gloss, and/or to remove unwanted defects, restore a surface (or thing) that has been rendered imperfect, or surface (of something) that has been defaced.
Literally anything can be rubbed by anything else with force or repeated actions, to create friction that will in most cases remove unwanted dirt, discoloration, surface contaminants, etc. (think of taking your finger and rubbing it very hard against the dirty windshield on your car. It will instantly remove a certain amount of dirt and create a more desirable appearance. Technically you could say that you have now polished your front windshield with your finger)
Now we will enter the wold of Nu Finish car polish and take a look at some specifics to this well known car polish that isn't.
Or is it?
Nu Finish car polish according to industry standards of the auto detailing and surface car care is neither a polish nor a car wax. It would be more appropriately designated as a car paint sealant due to its synthetic ingredients.
As a rule a car wax must be made with some form of natural wax ingredient such as, but not limited to carnauba or beeswax. (Brazilian carnauba wax is the most popular and most widely recognized type of natural wax use to formulate car wax)
Because of the way Nu Finish is marketed and labeled, there is much confusion as to what Nu Finish really is. This means despite the mislabeling or ambiguous labeling of Nu Finish, it is what is considered as a car paint sealant.
Darren's Note: car waxes and car paint sealants are products designed to add protection and visual enhancement to your cars paint.
These products are done without making any permanent changes in the form of defect removal as would be provided by a true polish that has been formulated with "abrasive technology". (a glorified way of saying the polish has some form of abrasive particles in the formulation)
Yes. But this really depends on what you mean when you ask "work". It is effective at making your car paint look better, creating a certain level of water-beading" effect, and a certain level of overall "protection".
So in the context of asking if any form of car wax or car paint sealant works, Nu Finish car polish meets the demands of that over-simplified question.
Yes and no. Once again, due to the complexity of the word "polish", it all depends on your definition of a "polish". Based on the simple definition of polishing (the act of polishing), I could argue that basic tap water can be labeled as a polish.
I could also argue that my spit (saliva) can be a polish. Haven't you licked your finger and proceeded to rub your wet finger against a surface with the goal to "polish" some unwanted dirt or blemish away from some surface? (how many kids have pulled away in disgust as mommy licked her finger and rubbed [polished] the grunge off their kids face)
This means that Nu Finish is not incorrect in labeling their product as a polish. The issue I take with Nu Finish car polish is multiple reasons:
I will examine each of these for greater understanding with this statement I have made many times on the pages of this website and within my YouTube video tutorials:
"Virtually every company selling cosmetic car care products uses hype, generalizations, and misleading advertising and marketing to separate you from your money."
It is a pervasive problem that most every industry uses, and a problem that actually grows within the industry of detailing, surface car care, and cosmetic car care.
Misleading Marketing: Nu Finish is misleading in that it uses a generalized word (polish) that leads people into thinking that the Nu Finish car polish is capable of performing like other forms of car polishes that contain actual abrasives and can actually improve the paint surface of your car through abrasive polishing.
It also misleads by calling it the "once a year car polish". That in itself is not only a bold claim, but a claim that is in most ways, impossible to verify.
Very few people look for excuses to wax or polish their car, so naturally we are going to be seduced by a product claiming to last a full year. But once again; a claim virtually impossible to verify.
Exploiting Ignorance: Any topic of life is worthy of a deep-dive of knowledge, experience, and understanding. I will use the analogy of an old-school, mechanical wrist watch. The kind your father probably wore that had a face with 2 or 3 moving "hands": the second hand, minute hand, and hour hand.
This simple working understanding of a watch is the only real requirement. All that really matters is that watch attached to your wrist has the ability to keep accurate time.
What goes on below the surface is of little concern to most people. As the owner of such a watch, you have a rudimentary understanding of how to set the time on your watch and how it operates. But if you were to lift the face of the watch to reveal all the countless moving parts, your jaw would likely drop in disbelief!
The countless sized gears, cogs, levers, pins, and dials turning and spinning below the surface is of no concern to you.
But that is where your knowledge ends and your ignorance begins. And your ignorance is exactly where marketing and advertising likes to play. Because within your ignorance, anything is possible.
All you have to do is add the right words, create the right emotions, add enough mystery and intrigue and Bingo! You are now separated from your money.
Exploiting Language: I realize this statement likely makes little sense to most of you. It is one of my "pet peeves" with any sector of business and life. Companies use ambiguous terms and even coin new terms used to market and sell their products.
Terms that are dramatic, sound sophisticated, or create intrigue. Terms that at a casual glance make a compelling case, but when examined are nothing more than hype!
Language is filled with endless examples of terminology that is not standardize, is not regulated, and therefore are used to exploit peoples' ignorance on any given subject.
Nu Finish car polish can make your paint and the scratches in your paint "shinier", but Nu Finish will not actually remove scratches, but simply shine-up the current scratches in your paint.
Which for many cars owners, that is all they want: car paint that looks shinier, despite all the defects remaining.
Because Nu Finish car polish contains no abrasives (despite the product being called a car polish which implies that it can remove some degree of scratching or other paint defects) it cannot remove scratches or other paint defects.
Car polishes formulated with abrasives are the only way to truly remove scratches or other car paint defects. Car waxes and car paint sealants (Nu Finish is a car paint sealant) only "cover" paint defects and car paint scratches temporarily as these type of products wear off and need new applications. (car waxes/sealants only help conceal paint defects and blemishes temporarily)
No. Just as no traditional car wax or paint sealant can. Despite the fact that most car waxes promote their products as being formulated with UV inhibitors or UV protectors, this claim has never been substantiated. By anyone! Ever!
And even though this claim has never been proven, manufacturers continue to label and promote their car waxes and car paint sealants has having this ability.
Enter into the world of sunscreen for application on your skin to protect from sunburn and UV rays and you will see specific ratings as to how much UV protection is formulated into a particular sunscreen.
This is known as SPF: Sun Protection Factor. And I ask if the world of sunscreen can quantify their products, why does the world of car wax not quantify the UV protection supposedly in their car wax products?
Yes and no. It really depends on who you ask.
The metrics or standards you use to validate as to whether Nu Finish really lasts a year, or the durability of any car wax/sealant is critical before you can truly answer that question.
In my professional opinion and experience, no car wax or paint sealant can last a year based on "normal" conditions. (whatever normal would mean)
If you ask me, I will quickly work very far down that proverbial rabbit hole and dissect that question for clarity, before I give an answer.
Just like you searching for the "best car paint sealant". How do you define or determine the standards used to determine what "best" means:
No single product will be capable of every conceivable benefit. And as I am often heard saying, "Everything in life has trade-off's."
You trade one benefit in exchange for another benefit you consider to be of more value. This adage holds true with Nu Finish car polish or any other car polish, car wax, or car paint sealant.
These products all have their own set of pros and cons.
Depends on who you ask.
As we have learned, Nu Finish is not a true car wax in the accepted term of a car wax product. It contains zero wax in its formulation. It is also not a car polish in the accepted term of a polish.
But it is a decent car paint sealant. Not sure if I would consider it the best car paint sealant, but it is decent. (remember, sealants are synthetic formulations. Think of traditional motor oil compered to synthetic motor oil)
But despite your opinion or my opinion, Nu Finish car polish remains relevant to this day, and is a very popular product. Whether this is based on the real-world merits of its capabilities or just it's long legacy as a car polish, who knows.
Great question! So glad you asked. And once again; largely depends on who you ask and your definition of each of those terms or labels.
Based on the most accepted definition of those terms within the world of professional auto detailing, Nu Finish car polish would be most appropriately labeled as a car paint sealant due to its synthetic formulation, and the fact that it is 100% free of any form of natural wax. (this can be verified at the official Nu Finish website)
Due to my straight-forward, no B.S. approach I take within the pages of this website along with my YouTube channel, many of my long term followers do not want the "comprehensive answer".
I am frequently presented with a very direct plea of help:
"Darren, just tell me what you use!"
And to this question I give a simple answer as to what is the best car wax:
"The best car wax is the wax that makes it onto your car more often, not less often!"
What good is the best car wax in the world if that wax rarely, if ever, makes it onto your car?
How many other car waxes do you have collecting dust in your garage that never make it onto your car because the user experience is "less-than"??!!
Because of the endless hype and the endless opinions, I default to what I consider my "sure-thing"...
Darren's Tips: I can tell you that there are likely other waxes and sealants that in fact will last longer than the Q-7 spray wax.
But even as a professional detailer I find it incredibly hard to quantify the claims by the endless car wax manufacturers. Some of these claims are simply outrageous and my head wants to explode!
It is because of this frustration that I often choose the products I do. I simply default to what I know works, what is super easy to use, and if I can achieve some added benefits along the way, that much better.
For me, the Q-7 car wax represents all of that.
A car wax I can use on any paint, on any material of my car (and I even deliberately use it right over black trim because it is so effective at maintaining black trim), in any setting (direct sunlight, on hot paint) and is super easy to apply, which means my willingness to wax my car is more, not less willing.
I simply spray a section of my car (after it has been washed) and use a clean micro-fiber cloth that has been folded twice. The one side of the cloth is used to rub the wax in and around, then I flip the cloth over and buff to perfection. Done!
Since Nu Finish car polish is labeled as a car polish, even though it has no abrasives, I wanted to add my top pick for a true car polish.
And by car polish, I mean an actual polish made with abrasive technology to perform permanent paint correction.
Not to be confused with Ceram-X, the D1 is a polish enhancer. (As a side note, this product can be used as a stand alone polish as it does have abrasives to it, but it was developed to enhance the polishing and perfecting that is first done by the Ceram-X)
The Ceram-X above is the only true car polish needed. But ClearCoat Solutions (CSi) was developed to answer the specific needs and problems the collision repair, auto body, and high-end car restoration industry has faced for decades:
While both these products are safe for any person with any level of experience, they were formulated to operate under the extremely critical and discerning eye at the Concors/Concourse level.
The formulator and founder of this product line (Originally developed over two decades ago and was the very first single product polish system ever) developed the Ceram-X to deliver Hi-Def results.
But at the highest level of car restoration, 4K clarity and results is often required. That is exactly what the D1 Polish Enhancer was developed to do.
Take the Hi-Def results achievable by the Ceram-X, and use a second product to create 4K clarity, depth, and gloss. (A level 99% of the world does not have a trained eye to appreciate)
Darren's Tips: I realize most of you here are looking for a simple way to both polish your car to renew the shine on your car while adding some protection.
There are endless products to choose from (more down below), but my rule is that I prefer to keep the duties of polishing and protecting as separate steps so I can use dedicated products to achieve better results of each step.
The more "features" a manufacturer blends into any given product, the more any one feature will have to be sacrificed in order to add the other features to the product.
Think of a product that can clean, polish, and protect your car paint all with a single product. These are called all-in-one (AIO) products. It seems like an easy way to save time and effort, but each of those stages of the process will require unique chemicals and processes to perform them properly.
So the formulation will attempt to combine all the necessary chemicals of those steps into a single product. There will be sacrifices necessary in order to achieve that. Which is why I prefer to keep those individual steps separate, and with dedicated products for those steps.
From start to finish, the requirements for you car paint would be as follows:
I can tell you from first hand experience that Nu Finish is a good product and delivers on expectations (at least some of the expectations). I have also read many positive reviews that back this up.
And the simple answer is that if you want to keep things super simple, you needn't look any further than Nu Finish car polish as an answer to protecting and enhancing your cars paint finish. (this is assuming that you are already a Nu Finish car polish fan and aren't bothered by the unsubstantiated claims made by this product)
What I can also tell you is that you have choices, and if you are looking to get superior results in the overall user experience as well as product performance, you have come searching in the right place!
Despite the over-abundance of great reviews of the Nu Finish car polish, what the reviews or labeling don't tell you is how to take your car paint to the next level prior to using the Nu Finish polish.
And that is where the clay bar comes in. Prior to any waxing or polishing of your cars paint, you need to prepare the surface by removing the air borne contaminants that will collect and begin to etch into your car paint.
If you are not familiar with the clay bar or detailing clay, (one in the same) you are in for a real treat! This tool of the trade will raise both the user experience of any product, and increase performance of any product by creating the optimum surface prior to application. If you need further understanding on this unique tool of the trade, visit my comprehensive Q. and A. page on detailing clay.
Steps to Proper Surface Car Care:
Once you have prepared the surface of your car paint, it is time to apply your choice in a car wax or car paint sealant. And in the event you came here looking for any Nu Finish car polish alternatives, I am going to lay out a couple of my top rated picks for you.
Nu Finish car polish has been around as long as I can remember. And it remains a sure thing for many car owners and car enthusiasts looking to work less, rather than more.
There famous marketing push of a "Once a year car polish" is a compelling claim. I would consider the Nu Finish car polish the the lazy man's car wax.
Assuming you believe that you could simply polish or wax your paint only once a year.
Or more specifically, that a car wax, car polish, or a car paint sealant can actually withstand a year of punishment delivered by Mother Nature in the form of sun, heat, and dirt.
I remain skeptical myself. And my skepticism and I are not alone, I am sure.
Since I am a fan of cutting edge technology and the advances made with chemical engineering and manufacturing, I subscribe to the compelling merits made by a company older than Nu Finish.
Their new Hybrid Solutions is a complete line-up of surface car care products that are making waves through the industry regardless of your opinion on car wax, car polish, and car paint sealants.
I am not a chemist. I cannot verify the endless claims made by any company when it comes to the terminology used and the marketing hype that seems to dominate this industry.
Just like you, I am limited to making judgement calls based on my own experiences.
And because of this, I can recommend the many products of the Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions and prefer them over the Nu Finish car polish, waxes, and sealants.
You now know more than most of the so-called professional detailers I come across in my travels around Orange County, CA. Most professional detailers around here are nothing more than glorified mobile car washers at best.
I hope you now understand the differences in car paint sealants and car waxes, as well as realize the choices you now have as a results of advances in manufacturing and chemical engineering.