Can You Use Car Polisher As a Sander? (Answered)


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guy sanding the car

If you’d like to do some paint correction jobs on your vehicle, and you only have a car polisher, you probably thought of using it as a sander. But, is it even possible? Should you do it? In today’s article, I’ll show you whether you can or you can’t use a car polisher as a sander.

You can use a car polisher as a sander, but it won’t be as effective, and it’ll take longer to achieve great results. Car polishers operate at slower speeds, and sanding isn’t their main purpose. I don’t suggest doing it because the polisher will become extremely dirty, and you may scratch the paint once you start using it as a polisher again.

It would be best to consider a few factors before you decide which product is best suited for the job you are trying to achieve. The result of your car depends on a lot of factors, regardless of whether you use a car polisher or a sander for your car. The time you have to invest and the level of skill and experience you have in polishing and sanding cars will play a massive role in the overall outcome.

The Difference Between a Car Sander And a Car Polisher

One of the most significant differences you will notice between a car polisher and a sander is the spin rate. Car polishers have a much slower spin rate as compared to orbital sanders.

On the other hand, sanders are much faster and have grit on their pads to smoothen the surface of the car. Orbital sanders are typically used to make prep the car’s surface smooth enough for paint application. You can also use a sander to remove old paint.

A car polisher is much gentler with the car (especially DA polishers) and is used to compound and polish the paint to remove marrings, swirl marks, and scratches. It can also be used to apply waxes and sealants to the car’s paint.

The reason car polishers are slower and softer on the paint is to prevent it from burning and scraping off the paint. However, if you have the right attachments, you can use the car polisher to sand a car and vice versa.

For instance, car polishers mostly operate up to 7000 RPM only. Even the 7000 RPM mark is rarely used since it’s too fast for safe compounding and polishing. On the other hand, sanders usually operate at much higher speeds – up to 12000 RPMs.

Furthermore, many car sanders have the option to be connected to dust collectors, so you keep all the dust particles away from the vehicle. That’s a great way to keep the surface clean and safe when sanding. Car polishers don’t have that option.

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Can You Use a Car Polisher As a Sander?

No doubt, car polishers can be used for sanding purposes. You replace the pad, maybe even a backing plate in some situations, mount a new sanding pad and you’re good to go. You can sand your vehicle.

However, don’t expect to quickly sand the car, since the car polisher isn’t made for sanding purposes. They operate at slower speeds, and it’ll take much longer to strip off the paint when compared to a dedicated sander.

Even though it can be done, I don’t recommend using a car polisher as a sander if you only have one polishing machine. It’ll get dirty, and the next time you’ll want to polish your car, the polisher will be full of paint particles, which may ruin your car’s finish.

So, if you decide on using it, thoroughly clean the car polisher after sanding with it.

How To Use Car Polisher As a Sander?

With both car polishers and orbital sanders, you get a lot of different attachments that you can use for different purposes. For example, an angular end is meant to polish the car’s corners in areas that the flat pad cannot reach. So if you have a car polisher and would like to use it for sanding, you have to change the pads on the device to one with sandpaper.

However, since car polishers come with a slower motor to avoid scratching the car or burning off the paint on the car, even if you add the sandpaper pad on the car polisher, you will not get the same results you are looking for.

An orbital car sander spins very quickly, which is how you get the smooth texture of the car after chipping off all the paint properly. With a car polisher, you will achieve similar results, but it may require a lot of physical effort from you.

What Does Sanding Do For Your Car?

When you sand your car, you’re getting rid of all the paint imperfections (scratched paint, rust, peeled clear coat, etc.), and you prepare it for paint application.

As the name suggests, car sanders come with sandpaper at the end of the machine, which is used to smoothen the car’s surface and remove old paint to create a smooth canvas for the new paint to glide on flawlessly. If you give your car a new paint job without the sanding process, you will most likely end up with a paint job that is patchy and streaky.

Much like how painters use a primer as the base coat, this sanding process is necessary for any painting job to look as flawless as possible.

Orbital sanders come with many attachments, and you can also use them for polishing purposes. However, since they have a variety of different speeds, you should be aware of what kind of speed is best suited to polish your car without causing any damage.

What Kind of Sander Should You Use For Your Car?

A dual-action sander is best suited for sanding the car, also known as a random orbital sander. If you use a standard orbital sander, you could be left with some deep imperfections of the car’s paint, which will make the painting process harder. This happens because they only spin in one direction. However, if you go for the random orbital sander, the surface will be even and much smoother, without visible transitions.

The dual-action of the sander allows it to move in two ways – it keeps going in circles for consistency while also moving in two directions to avoid sanding the car in one area only.

Below you can find some car sanders on Amazon, they’re not expensive, and you should get one if you plan on working some paint correction jobs on your vehicle.

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