HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COMPOUND OR POLISH FOR YOUR CAR
We get a lot of questions about selecting the
“right” machine, polishing pad, and polishing compound. People always ask what
works best for black paint, for red paint; for hard paint, for soft paint; for
domestic cars, for import cars, etc. You can make just about any paint
finish shine on any vehicle if you select the best combination of polishing
machine, buffing pad, and polishing compound for that particular car. Every car
and every paint job is different, though: How much paint did the manufacturer
spray on? What paint brand and formula did they use? What type of paint is it:
petroleum-based or water-based? Was it waxed and cared for, or was it neglected
for years and destroyed by the elements? How humid was it the day they painted
that run of cars? Was the car in an accident and was it repainted with
completely different paint? These are the questions you need to consider as you
start polishing a car.
So there is no cookie-cutter answer that will work
for every car out there. What there is, though, is a method. We have a method
for selecting the best combination of machine, pad, and polishing compound for
any car we may detail. The method we use in the Chemical Guys Detail Garage is
STEP 1: POLISH A TEST SPOT
We start by polishing one small spot on the car. We
use this spot to find out what combination works best for removing scratches
and restoring glossy shine on the paintwork. Once we determine what combination
works best for this paint job, we repeat this process over the rest of the car.
STEP 2: USE THE GENTLEST METHOD THAT PRODUCES THE BEST RESULTS
Start with the least-aggressive combination of
Machine, Pad, and Polish that gets us the results we want. We can always remove
more paint if the prior step did not remove all the scratches, but we can never
undo the paint that we removed. Paint doesn’t grow back, so always start on the
gentle side and get more aggressive as need be.
with Dual Action over Rotary
action polishers spread out their energy over a larger area because the
buffing pad orbits as it spins.
orbit moves over a bigger circle than a pinpoint rotation of a rotary
polisher, so there is less energy and heat put into any given place as the
Pads: Start with Orange
the 7 Hex-Logic Polisher Pads, 2 are “cutting” pads that remove a lot of
paint at a time: Yellow and Orange.
pick the Orange Medium Cutting Pad because it is less aggressive than the
Yellow Heavy Cutting Pad.
your first pass with V36 Cutting Polish
choose V36 Cutting Polish because it has lighter abrasives than a heavier
compound like V32 or V34.
cuts away swirls, and refines glossy shine, but does not cut out deep
scratches or oxidation like a compound.
STEP 3: CHECK YOUR WORK; MAKE ADJUSTMENTS
After finishing your first pass with V36 on an
Orange Hex Logic Pad with a Dual Action Polisher, check your results for
satisfactory scratch removal. Shine a halogen light on the paint and look at
all angles to see if the scratches and swirls are gone or reduced. For the most
scrutiny, pull the car outside and look at the test spot in direct sunlight.
Compare it with the untouched paint and see if your results are satisfactory.
If you are satisfied with the amount of swirls and
scratches removed, go on to the next refinement step: White Soft Polishing Hex
Logic Pad with V38 Final Polish. Check for enhanced gloss and depth with this
step. If there’s no discernable difference between the finish of V36 and V38,
If you are not satisfied with the amount of swirls
and scratches removed, start changing variables and get slightly more
aggressive until the scratches and swirls are gone:
try using a harder compound:
V34 Hybrid Compound with the same DA machine and Orange Cutting Pad.
that didn’t work, try using a harder cutting pad:
from Orange to Yellow Cutting Pad, or try a Microfiber Cutting Pad.
all else fails, switch to a rotary polisher:
the test spot with a new combination:
Polisher, Orange Cutting Pad, and V36 Cutting Polish.
results as you go and make adjustments as needed.
Just remember one truth as you polish: You will not
remove 100% of defects. It’s just not possible.
Some scratches are just too deep for machine
polishing to fix. You would have to wet-sand and polish all the paint off the
car to get the scratches out. There comes a point where if you want perfect
paint again, you simply have to repaint the car. And even then, it’ll be full
of defects, runs, and holograms from the body shop polishing the car with a
wool pad on a rotary polisher.
Embrace the limitations of paint technology and
polishing methods: accept that you can get paintwork to look as good as it
possibly can without simply starting over with a new paint job.