Car Finish


Old 03-21-02, 09:06 PM
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Car Finish

If i wanted to use a orbital buffer to buff out the finish on my pick-up what would the procedure be? What is the best kind of polisher, and pad? What type of polishing compunds should i use?
What steps should i take and in what order? I have a few light scratches i want to buff out. I would like to be reasonably affordable on the cost of the power tool, but i want to spend the money on the compounds and pads.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 03-21-02, 10:23 PM
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The type of finish and the extent of wear/damage to that finish will determine what tools and materials will be needed to restore the finish.

For example, a heavily oxidized non-clearcoat finish would require a rotary buffer with a relatively coarse compound as the first step.

The next step would be a lighter compound on the rotary buffer.

That would be followed up with a swirl-mark remover applied either by hand or with an orbital buffer.

A glaze would then be applied, topped off with a coat of wax.

Heavy scratches may require touch-up paint, especially on clearcoat finishes. You can get good results with the little brush-on bottles available from your dealer IF you apply the paint sparingly, allow it to dry as directed, then use a nib file to carefully remove any excess. Finish the repair by sanding with an extremely fine sandpaper (1600 or 2000 grit) and a light buffing with a compound approved for clearcoat finishes.
Old 03-22-02, 06:08 AM
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It also helps to know what type of finish and if the area has been repaired....

A good thing to do is to visit a body supply shop and show them the car. Usually the guys/gals there deal with body shops all the time and can easily recommend the right product. 3M and Meguiar's make some good stuff.
Old 03-22-02, 07:06 AM
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The Porter Cable 7424 is one of the better polishers around. You can do some searching for the best prices. Use foam bonnets and stay away from wool bonnets - they are too aggressive for light duty buffing and polishing. The keys to a good job are cleanliness, light pressure and minimum aggressive compounds. Any dirt that gets in the pads will certainly cause swirls - don't hestitate to change them often. Start by scrubbing the heck out of your truck. Start by washing the underside really well then move on to the body and pay a lot of attention to trim molding areas where dirt can hide. Since you will be applying a new coat of wax after buffing you can use dishwashing soap that is better at stripping off old wax and road grime than most car wash soaps. Dawn is a good one. If after washing, when you rub your finger over the finish and it is not absolutely smooth you may want to consider using a body clay to remove rough contaminants (tree sap mist, air pollution, brake dust, etc...). Wash the truck again to remove any clay residue. As with most things, preparation is 80% of the job. You may want to consider at this point to tape off (the blue masking tape works well) any black plastic trim, windshield arms, etc. to keep the glaze from getting on those surfaces which is a bigger job to remove later on. Pick where you want to start buffing and use a light compound and foam bonnets. 3m Imperial Machine Glaze is a pretty good one or Meguiar's makes some good products. Pretty much your choice on products. This will do well for swirl marks or small light scratches like you get around door handles but probably won't do much for deeper marks like tree branches down the side of the truck from off-roading. You can use 100% cotton towels to remove the buffing haze. Any scratches/rock chips that have broken the surface of the paint should be repaired and have a chance to cure before you start the buffing process. Any major marks not removed with buffing should probably be done by hand with a bit more aggressive compound. If you don't feel comfortable starting out on your truck you could pick up a panel from the junk yard pretty cheap to practice on. After buffing apply a coat or 2 of good carnuba wax for protection. It is a lot of work (also a higher risk of damage) and I'm sure I've left out something, but this should give you a general idea.
Old 03-22-02, 09:04 AM
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This site will help.
Old 03-22-02, 07:29 PM
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All of this information should give me a good start I really appreciate your help. Thanks.
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