Detailing Your Car... polishing . enhancing . protecting (stage 3)

Before any polishing takes place, it is best to use an IPA or a panel wipe to remove any wax or oil, to ensure that no foreign substance can interfere with the pad/compound combination & that you have naked paint so know fillers can hide any swirls .

Hand Polishing

As polishing machines can be expensive, and as it not always possible to machine polish the whole car, sometimes hand polishing may be required. Thankfully, there are some great products available that can help you achieve some great results without the use of any machine.

So let's go through the options you have available:

1. Machine Polishing Pads

Thanks to Flexipads you can use almost any pad with a hand holder. So you can also use any pad by hand. Use the pad to apply the polish in either a circular motion or straight lines, which every you find easier. You will have to apply quite a lot of pressure to remove the swirls. After a few motions the compound will have been worked in, remove the product residue with a clean microfibre towel. It is unlikely that you will have removed all the swirls but you will have made a vast difference

Using Flexipads hand Polishing or Cutting Pads

You will want to use a similar method to prime the pad . Use the pad to apply the polish in either circular motions or straight lines which every you find easier. You will have to put a lot of pressure to remove the swirls. After a few repeated stokes the compound will have been worked in, remove the product residue with a clean microfiber towel. It is unlikely that you will have removed all the swirls, but you will have made a vast difference

If you using a cutting pad or compound, you should use a finishing pad and polish to help refine the finish.

Machine Polishing Rotary & Random Orbit

Pads

These are used to remove swirls, scratches, sanding and hologram marks from the paintwork. They come in many different foam densities. Harder foam pads are designed for heavy cutting and compounding and the softer foam pads for medium polishing. The very soft foam pads are for finishing and applying wax and glazes. You can choose the correct pad to suit the paintwork, degree of defects to be polished out, and also the type of product being applied.

We stock many different sizes of pads, which are designed to suit the size of the area being polished.

Using Polishing Pads

If the pad is new a spray of water is a good idea to help soften the pad before use.

Initially, we would recommend that you prime the pad, which basically means spreading the compound or polish to be used over the pad. It is important to ensure that the whole pad is fully covered, as this helps to ensure an even application and reduces the risk that you will scratch any of the surfaces.

Working Clean, and not just your pad .

As you are polishing or compounding the paintwork, you will pick up some dead paint, dried compound, and contamination that are on your paintwork. This will result in your pad losing its cutting or polishing ability and you will just put the defects you are trying to remove back into the paintwork. So use a brush or compressed air, to help flush out and remove anything on your pad, ensuring the pad can work efficiently at all times.

Cleaning a Microfibre Pad.

To clean a micro fibre pad using compressed air is one of the best ways, but for most people this is not possible. but By using a microfibre towel, transfer what is on the polishing pad onto the towel, this is probably the easiest method. We recommend using a ‘basic‘ Microfibre towel , nothing too fancy for this process.

Don’t put swirls back into the Paintwork.

You should always use a clean microfibre towel, when wiping down each panel after polishing it you will not want to put any marring back into the surface of the paintwork after polishing.

The Small Details Matter.

It is essential to keep your work area clean. Always make sure you have somewhere clean and dry to put applicator pads and cloths. Ensure that they do not go onto the floor, or are able to pick up contaminants from other surfaces. Work in a safe and methodical manner, making sure that cables, from the polisher, lights etc. are safely placed to ensure you can't trip over them. It may sound very basic information but, the small things really do matter. Always remember, a professional appearance and approach will certainly impress your customers.

Different methods of seasoning the pad.

(the old way)

First, you mist the pad with water or a detailing spray, then you use 4 to 5 small dots of the compound, then begin polishing.

Well, now there is new technique.

The New method known as the Kevin Brown Method.

Firstly, apply a good amount of polish onto the pad, use your fingers to work the product into the pad to ensure that there are no fibres or pores uncoated.

Why use this method, when it obviously uses more of the product? This is because by using more of the product, it will help to keep the paint residue from burying the buffing liquid beneath the dead paint. This drastically helps reduce the machines cutting ability, so using this method with help you cut faster and more efficiently.

Tip. When using the polisher on a low speed, mist the pad with water, not a detailing spray, this will help release the compound or polish trapped in the pad rather than using more product. This technique can also be used at higher speeds as well, but don’t use too much water or you are likely to start to flick bits of polish residue over the car.

tips for using a DA or dual action polisher like a rupes

Pre Wax Cleaning

The purpose of a pre-wax cleaner is to use after polishing, it helps to remove any polish residue and to ensure the surface is prepared for the application of waxes or sealants. They also help to improve the gloss appearance of the paintwork. As some products contain micro abrasives, these help to remove( or reduce) fine marring and scratches, which can detract from the appearance of the paintwork.

Application

Ensure you apply only a small amount of pre-wax cleaner onto a foam or microfibre applicator pad. Apply in either a circular motion, or straight lines which every you find suits you best. You will need to apply a small amount of pressure, slightly more if you want to remove any marring. When using a pre-wax cleaner, please check the time you leave it on the surface for ( according to manufacturers instructions). Usually, it is approximately 5 to 10 mins, then you need to wipe it off with a clean microfibre towel. You should apply this cleaner to all the surfaces which are going to be treated with wax.

Protecting

Now that you have spent a considerable amount of time and energy, washing, cleaning and polishing the surfaces of your car you want to protect them. This will help you maintain your car a lot easier, and ensure your car looks at its best after every wash.

You have three different products to choose from. We will go through the advantages and disadvantages to help you decide which products might suit you best. If you have more than one car you may decide on different products for different cars. This can also be a good way of helping you to decide which one is the best for you.

Glazing

Glazing is carried out after polishing. It is that extra step which really brings out the colour and appearance, giving your paintworka deep-glossy look, so that in the light the paintwork really 'pops'. It is generally more effective on darker and mid coloured cars, however,as it adds a small amount of additional protection, ( which the manufacturers have added to the product), we would recommend it for all cars irrespective of the colour. If you are looking for perfection, this process we would highly recommend as something you will want to carry out regularly.

Application.

You need to apply a small amount of the product onto a foam or microfibre applicator pad. Apply in a circular motion or straight lines which every you find suits you best. You should apply only a small amount of pressure, when applying this product to the paintwork. It is important to check carefully how long ,( according to the manufactures instructions) the product needs to be left on the surface for.( if at all). Then wipe the surface with a clean, dry microfibre towel.

Step back to admire your cars paintwork, with its perfect reflection.

Carnauba Wax

Carnauba Wax is a natural wax found in Brazil. It is normally in a paste formulation, but it is also available as a liquid. Carnauba wax will not normally last as long as synthetic sealants but it will enhance the cars paintwork more than a synthetic sealant. Which, is partly why carnauba wax is often used on cars that are being exhibited at a show. Usually, a synthetic sealant is applied first, then a layer of Carnauba wax is applied to enhance and make the paintwork really pop.

One product that is really good is Super Doublecoat by Collinite. It is very durable and lasts from six months to a year.

By applying two coats you should find that this will protect your paintwork for up to a year. It is one of the best value waxes we sell and is one of the most durable.

Applying Carnauba Wax

Firstly, you need to ensure that you have cleaned the surface with a pre-wax cleaner or IPA , to ensure maximum bonding with the surface. This will make the product last longer and perform more efficiently.

Apply a small amount of the Carnauba wax onto a foam or microfibre applicator pad. Work in a circular motion or straight lines, (which every you find easiest). You should not need to use much pressure, apply the wax over the whole car. As a rule, we always do the door and boot shuts as well. You will need to let the wax dry, one way to tell if the product is dry is by wiping over the surface with your finger, and if it appears glossy, you know that it is fully dry and can be wiped off. However, if it smears you will know that it needs a little more time to dry fully be for it can be wiped off.

If you are applying the wax over a layer of synthetic sealant, You will not need to apply a pre-wax cleaner or IPA as you will have already done this. This will also apply when adding multiple coats to ensure maximum protection and gloss.

Should any wax become difficult to wipe off use another clean microfibre towel or apply some, 'Quick Detailer' or water to help remove it.

Synthetic Sealants

All man-made products designed to protect paintwork and other parts usually contain synthetic polymers and other synthetic elements. These help to repel water and dirt; they also help to protect the surface of the vehicle. They are normally easy to apply, and can be removed easier than the natural carnauba wax. Many of today's Synthetic sealants are available in sprays so they can be simply sprayed on and then wiped off, making protecting your car a lot easier. Most now can even be applied in sunlight. ( please read manufacturer's instructions ).

Applying Synthetic Sealant.

Like with carnauba wax you need to ensure that you have first treated the surface with a pre-wax cleaner or IPA. This helps to clean the surface and ensure maximum bonding, enabling an improved performance from the product.

Apply a small amount of the synthetic sealant onto a foam or microfiber applicator pad and apply in a circular motion, or straight lines, which every you find easier. You will not need to apply much pressure during this application process. We always recommend that you do the door and boot shuts as well. Let the sealant dry, one way to tell if the product is dry is by wiping over the surface with your finger. If the surface appears glossy, you know that it is fully dry and can be wiped off, however, if it smears you will know that it needs a little more time to dry fully before it can be wiped off.

You can apply multiple coats of Synthetic sealant to ensure maximum gloss finish and protection.

Please always read the manufacturers instructions to ensure the products are applied in accordance with their recommendations.

Glass Coatings

These are the newest way to protect your paintwork, wheels, and other surfaces. They outperform all others products for protection, durability and hydrophobic properties/beading. They can withstand high temperatures and are more resilient to chemicals than any other coating /sealant.

Some coatings are predicted to last up to 5 years (depending on the product) with some even lasting longer. If you are looking to protect the surface of your vehicle for any length of time this is what you need.

They are a little harder to apply and every coating needs to be applied in temperatures above 6 -10 oc . The coating is then left to dry for between 12 to 24 hours. To fully cure, before it gets wet.

Perfection uniform beading

Application tips.

The glass coatings are best applied using a makeup pad, a small piece of microfiber towel, or a microsuede cloth and foam pad. (Almost all coatings will come with a form of applicator). When removing the glass coating we would advise using several microfiber towels. You will need to use more than one as the product will clog the towel quickly, resulting in it becoming very ineffective. Before application, you need to ensure that the surface has been thoroughly wiped down with IPA or a panel wipe, to ensure the surface is free from any residue polish, old wax or anything else which might stop the coating from bonding to the surface. As the glass coating can only work effectively if it bonds well to the surface. If for any reason this does not happen the coating will not last long and it will not be very effective. It is also very important that the surfaces are completely dry as any water will make the coating ineffective.

It is really important that you work very methodically as most coatings need only a few minutes before they need to be wiped off. (Some may only take a few seconds) So a good way to work is, apply coating to two panels, then wipe the first on off. Then apply the coating to the third, wipe the second and so on so you are always applying the coating one panel ahead.

If the weather or environment in which you are working is hot the products will dry and cure faster to the surfaces, Which you need to bear in mind. You may need to make adjustments to your timings to compensate for this, as you don’t want to be trying to remove semi-cured products which have prematurely dried. Removal is very difficult and is often easier to re-apply the product using the applicator pad and wipe immediately with a microfibre towel. It may also be a good idea to get a new cloth to ensure you remove all the residue.

Once the coating has fully cured you can add a layer of carnauba wax to really make the paint pop and add that little extra layer of protection.

Please always read the manufacturers instructions to ensure the products are applied in accordance with their recommendations.

Step back to admire your cars paintwork, with its perfect reflection.

Should you find anything we have missed, or you have any questions please get in contact with us

Your cars paintwork should now look flawless with protection to match we hope this guide was helpful

View more of our detailing guides

Created By
Tom Robinson
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