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There is always something new to learn, especially when it comes to polishing vehicles. Today, I decided to show you eleven paint correction tips that’ll improve your polishing results a lot.
Following those tips will:
- Improve polishing results you get
- Shorten the polishing time (increase efficiency)
- Reduce the chances of burning the paint
If you’re not a complete beginner, you probably know most (if not all) of them. However, it’s still good to remind yourself from time to time.
- 1. Always Start With The Least Abrasive Product
- 2. Don’t Use Too Much Product
- 3. Don’t Use Full Speed On Your Polisher
- 4. Keep The Pad Flat
- 5. Don’t Rush – Go Slowly
- 6. Don’t Use Too Much Pressure On The Polisher
- 7. Do Overlapping Passes
- 8. Use High-Quality Products, But Don’t Rely On Them Completely
- 9. Always Use Finishing Polish After Compounding
- 10. Practice On Parts That You Don’t Need
- 11. Use a LED Light To Inspect The Surface
1. Always Start With The Least Abrasive Product
Even though everyone keeps telling this, I still believe that it’s one of the most common mistakes beginners make. They just see an ad for “the best polish liquid” out there and instantly buy and use it, regardless of the car’s paint condition.
After you check the condition of the paint and determine what type of scratches your car has, you should always start with the least abrasive polish or compound.
Then, if that product isn’t abrasive enough to remove those paint defects, use the more abrasive one.
2. Don’t Use Too Much Product
Using too much of a product won’t get you better results. The only thing you’ll get is the product spreading everywhere.
More product doesn’t necessarily mean better results. It’s the opposite. You should use only as much product as needed or as instructed on the product’s label.
In general, 3-5 dots of the polish or compound is entirely enough to polish one section, which should always be 2x2ft.
3. Don’t Use Full Speed On Your Polisher
I see many people recommending choosing the highest speed on the polisher. I don’t think that’s good for doing a high-quality paint correction, especially if you’re working with a rotary machine polisher. Check out this video, “Rotary Polisher vs. Dual Action Polisher”. There’s much great information in it.
By using the highest speeds, you’re increasing the chances of burning the paint, especially if you’re using a rotary polisher.
In general, around 1500 RPM speed is more than enough for most polishers to get the job done. Check the polisher’s user’s manual to see which speed is around 1500 RPM.
4. Keep The Pad Flat
While you’re polishing, try to keep your pad as flat as possible. Don’t ever polish at any angle.
When you keep the pad flat, you’re ensuring that even pressure is all over the surface and that the pad is evenly removing a clear coat.
If you polish at an angle, you’re increasing the chances of burning the paint, and you’re also removing uneven layers of clear coat.
5. Don’t Rush – Go Slowly
When you rush, you don’t give the polisher enough time to correct the defects on the paint. You may think that you’ll get the job done quicker, but it’s not the truth.
Go slowly. That way, you’ll give the polish and the pad enough time to cut the paint, remove all defects, and bring back the paint’s original shine and gloss.
However, make sure to constantly moving the polisher, that way you won’t create a hotspot and damage the paint.
6. Don’t Use Too Much Pressure On The Polisher
I see too many people pressing the polisher like crazy, thinking they’ll get the job done quicker or better. In reality, you’ll just cause additional damage to the paint.
To fix paint imperfections, you need to choose the suitable pads and the polishes (or compounds), not the pressure.
Only around 10-12 pounds of pressure is enough. Most machine polishers weigh about 5-7 pounds, so you only need to add approximately 5-7 pounds of pressure. Mostly, that’s the weight of your arm.
The great advice I’ve seen on the internet is to practice your pressure on a scale. Put the polisher on a scale, and press it until 10-12 pounds show on the scale. Repeat that more times. Try with your eyes closed until you get used to that amount of pressure used.
7. Do Overlapping Passes
Whenever you’re polishing, always do overlapping passes. You should only do straight movements (left-right and up-down).
So, when you finish one pass to the left, when you go back to the right, cover 50% of the area you just polished to the left. The same applies when you’re doing up-down movements.
I usually do two sets left and right, two sets up and down. In most situations, that’s enough to polish one section (2x2ft) of the car’s paint.
8. Use High-Quality Products, But Don’t Rely On Them Completely
High-quality products are essential, but they’re not making you a better detailer. If you don’t have the skill, no product will help you. Whether it’s a machine polisher or a compound.
So, my advice is to practice a lot, and don’t rely on the products only. When you achieve the skills, high-quality products will make the difference from a good and well-done job.
9. Always Use Finishing Polish After Compounding
If you’re not using all-in-one products that both compound and polish, giving you a perfect glossy finish, you should always use a finishing polish after compounding.
A compound removes scratches but leaves some haziness behind, which you then need to remove by using a finishing polish. Finishing polish will bring the shine back and give it that deep gloss.
I know that it’s obvious, but yet many people make this mistake. If you want the best polishing job done, always follow all the rules and guidelines given by the manufacturer and other pro detailers.
10. Practice On Parts That You Don’t Need
The worst thing you can do is practice on your new car, or even worse, someone else’s car.
If you can, buy some old spare parts and practice polishing on them until you gain skills and confidence.
If you drive a car that has awful paint, and you don’t have anything to mess up, you can practice on that one too. Just don’t practice on new and expensive cars. You may do more harm than good.
To make it clear, I don’t want to scare you, but I need to be objective and realistic. Some damage may occur while you’re learning. That’s why I’m giving you these tips – by following them, chances of making any damage are significantly reduced.
11. Use a LED Light To Inspect The Surface
I like to watch TikTok videos a lot, and many detailing people brag about great polishing results, but they shoot videos without the lights ON to show scratches.
When you use dedicated auto detailing LED lights, you’ll only then see if you did a good job or there are still swirl marks and scratches left behind.
If a color looks perfect when you light it, then you’re finished. If there are still scratches, repeat the polishing process.
You can use many fantastic LED flashlights, one very affordable, but a high-quality flashlight is Adam’s Swirl Finder Flashlight (check the price on Amazon now).