This is where things start to get complicated, and we begin to lose the hobbyist title and enter into the what I would call the pro-sumer realm. If you are willing to take your car care skills to this level, you should have already become proficient in your washing process and have now figured out how to decontaminate your car in preparation to pick up a polisher. So the question you should ask yourself is, "Am I ready and capable of removing scratches and swirls in my paint?" I think the answer to that question is simple if you've followed along with me through the washing and decon processes. As much as detailers wouldn't like to admit, getting a decent result with a polisher isn't all that difficult. Now...there are different levels of correction and results, but I think we can all greatly improve our car's finish with minimal risk and a healthy dose of not being stupid.
There are a lot of great polishes out there. I've been guilty of jumping around a lot from polish to polish to come to this conclusion. To date, this is by a large margin my favorite "finishing polish." I think about and rank polishes like this:
Compound (Most Aggressive): Break this out with a Meguiar's Microfiber Cutting Pad when you have scratches and swirls in the paint.
Polish (In the Middle): With the combination of this Sonax Perfect Finish and the Jescar that I have in the store, I've found this type of medium polish unnecessary.
1-Step: This is generally a polish that starts out cutting to some extent and diminishes as you make more passes to finish out the surface. Sonax Perfect Finish is an example.
Finishing: I happen to use Perfect Finish to finish most of the time, but there are dedicated polishes that are used to refine the surface after compounding or when you just want to clean up a car that doesn't have any major defects.
In the world of finishing polishes, this is quite different than most. It has diminishing properties which means it starts out with some cutting ability and with successive passes breaks down to a finer finisher. I use this most often with a RUPES Yellow Foam Pad as a single step polish or to follow my heavier compounding polish to remove any having of imperfections left behind.
Again, use this after decontaminating the car with Chemical Guys Citrus Wash, CarPro Iron-X, and an Optimum clay bar/Autoscrub.
Wipe the surface with CarPro Eraser and tape off all trim with 3M Precision Masking Tape.
Inspect with a light. I use PD-35 v 2.0 Fenix Light.
Generally, I use with RUPES Yellow or White Foam Pad. Prime the pad by "buttering" it. Cover as evenly as possible.
Add a few dots and polish on Speed 4 on your RUPES polisher. I make 2 passes left to right and 2 passes up and down. Make sure to move the machine slowly. It's okay to add some pressure. Do 2' x 2' sections (or smaller) at a time.
Wipe off with Polish Removal Towel and CarPro Eraser.
Inspect your spot with your light.
Once you've determined it's working, you can generally roll through the rest of the car inspecting periodically.
Follow with CarPro Eraser then you should be ready for you protection product like wax or a coating.
Available in 250mL or 1L bottle. I'd recommend getting the bigger bottle if you can swing it.