Best automotive buffer for beginner

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  #1  
Old 04-21-16, 09:46 AM
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Best automotive buffer for beginner

I typically polish and wax my vehicles by hand (haven't done so in years), but doing so is pretty exhausting when you have an entire vehicle to buff. So, I'm in the market for a decent electric polisher. I've heard an orbital polisher is best for beginners because there is less of a chance of creating swirl marks or burning the paint. I actually have an orbital polisher that I bought year ago, but it vibrates so much that it skips around, and it isn't variable speed so it's either on or off. Also, it's a palm buffer (if that's what you call it) so there isn't any handle to steady it. What do you guys recommend?

Other questions I have:

My truck's paint is in dire need of buffing. It is a chalky white color and very rough to the touch. I'm ashamed to say that it only gets washed maybe once per year and hasn't been polished or waxed in over eight years. It's white, so it doesn't look as bad when it's dirty, which is why it hasn't really bothered me. However, it is looking pretty bad and I really want to restore the finish. Yesterday evening I used a heavy cut compound (Meguire M501) followed by a polish and carnuba wax on one section of the bed and it looks ten times better, but it still feels kind of gritty. What is the best process to follow to restore the paint? Should I do a clay bar first, followed by a cleaner, polisher, then wax? Is it okay to use a heavy cut compound on the entire vehicle to remove oxidation, etc. I feel like if I started with a clay bar that the clay would get dirty extremely fast. I suppose I should only use the compound for removing scratches and instead use a cleaner to remove oxidation?

My car's paint is in very good condition, so I'm thinking it probably only needs the polish and wax (no cleaner). Wish there was a one day course I could take to learn some basics.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-21-16, 10:20 AM
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Don't do it. It's a day job with several special tools. I had this done by my neighbor, who is a pro body guy. Took him solid 8 hrs starting with wet sanding, then going through rubbing and polishing compounds, then buffing. He did son's Mazdaspeed that all looked like what you describe.
Man, being a good neighbor and bud, didn't charge me, but imagine the cost.
He does not use orbital buffer. His is simple adjustable speed rotary one with very fat buffing pad with lots of "strings" best I can describe it. Electrical.
It's a lot and a lot of manual labor. And special compounds and rubber heads for them.
I'd just keep it dirty. I did drywall once in my life - never again; this would've been second job I'd give to him to do.
Also, it's very easy to iff up paint as you need to know what you do.
 
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Old 04-21-16, 12:52 PM
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Well, I'll definitely be doing something. Like I said, I did a section of the bed and it looks ten times better. I just don't want to do the rest of the truck by hand. Guess I'll just go with a basic Porter Cable that was recommended for beginners.
 
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Old 04-21-16, 03:06 PM
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Of course. It's always good time to spend and good hurt after.
 

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  #5  
Old 04-21-16, 04:49 PM
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My father uses the basic 6" orbital from Harbor Freight. It runs like $20 and it doesn't hurt as bad when you drop it and it cracks apart.
 
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Old 04-21-16, 06:57 PM
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Check out the Meguiars website. They have plenty of instructional videos using all of their products. It's not really as hard as some would have you believe if you study the videos and use the correct pads and compounds.
 
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Old 04-22-16, 05:56 AM
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I would try the clay bar after washing and before polishing, may help a little.
 
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Old 04-22-16, 08:02 AM
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I would try the clay bar after washing and before polishing, may help a little.
Okay. I'll give it a try.

So should I reserve the aggressive cutting compounds for spot treating scratches only?
 
  #9  
Old 04-22-16, 09:57 AM
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Harbor Freight actually has an excellent 6" variable speed random-orbital that gets high ratings even from fussy car guys. It runs about $60 with coupon and performs, feels and even sounds identical to my Porter Cable orbital, which also gets good reviews.
 
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Old 04-22-16, 12:49 PM
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sighhhh

Now that you ARE set on that path - and no, I am not making you believe anything, simply letting you know what it took to a pro on a hatch - please, wet sand the car. Then do clay bar or whatever.
My guy used something similar to this:

7 in. 10 Amp Heavy Duty Digital Variable Speed Polisher

Personally, I am staying away from orbitals. I value my hands.
He started with 1200 wet or dry.
Btw, same buffer works great on headlights. He did wife's car lenses in my presence in like 5 minutes.
 
  #11  
Old 04-25-16, 10:29 AM
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I clayed one side of the bed this weekend followed by polish and wax and it brought the shine right back. I'm anxious to get going on the rest of the truck. What a huge difference--went from chalky to silky smooth
 
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Old 04-25-16, 12:50 PM
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Sweet.
Let's see what happens on the front, where you likely have chipped clear coat.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 12:59 PM
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Let's see what happens on the front, where you likely have chipped clear coat.
Such a pessimist! The bed was just as bad if not worse than the front actually.
 
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