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Old 10-11-2016, 10:29 AM   #1
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Polishing my car

I was recently asked how I got my car so clean.



That kind of cleaning only happens once a year, if that.
You need to get a good polisher (not the ones from Sears). Here is a link to a good one (no affiliation with this site):
Porter Cable Polisher

This is probably the best value out there. Make sure you get a variety of good polishing pads, and a good polish. There are some kits on the Autogeek site that package the Porter Cable with some pads. I like the $229 kit. I use a lot of Meguiars stuff. I start with the Meguiars 105 polish then move to either the Meguiars 205 polish or Meguiars Ultimate polish. Then apply your favorite wax.

Here is what I typically do:

1. wash the car
2. clay bar the car to remove surface contaminants. This is important. The car should feel smooth as glass at this point
3. Polish: Meguiars 105 on an orange pad(for deeper swirls)
4. Polish: Meguiars 205 on a white pad(for light swirls)
And/Or
5. (Optional) Polish: Meguiars ultimate polish on a Grey/Black pad
6. (Optional) Klasse Sealant/Polish on a blue pad
7. P21S Carnauba wax (easy on, easy off)


The Meguiars 205 and Ultimate polishes are very similar products. The 205 has more micro-abrasives to remove light swirls; the Ultimate has more oils for a deeper shine. Sometimes I need one and not the other. Sometimes I need both.

Here is a good video on how to polish your car:
Polshing tips

Good luck

Tony
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Last edited by amagalla; 10-12-2016 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 10-11-2016, 12:23 PM   #2
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Beautiful!
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Old 10-11-2016, 02:05 PM   #3
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Looking fantastic!.
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:26 AM   #4
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Nice write up. The only other things I tend to tell people is to never dry the car with a chamois, lubricate the DA pad with either a quick squirt of water or detailing spray, and never polish in sunlight. After that, you can't go wrong

Beautiful looking car.
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Old 10-12-2016, 05:42 AM   #5
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WOW, looks great Tony
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Old 10-13-2016, 04:18 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by geraintthomas View Post
The only other things I tend to tell people is to never dry the car with a chamois..
I always find this recommendation interesting. I've used a chamois for decades (though I never got real serious about detailing until I got the Box) and have never seen a problem with it. We wash our vehicles with relatively "rough" microfiber towels or MF mittens. When I use a chamois I first dunk it in a bucket full of clean water and swirl it around to make sure it's nice and clean. It feels silky smooth, and is then used to gently get the worst of the wetness off a now-clean finish.

I've done this with my Box (a 2001) for 10 years now. I purchased a PC random orbital polisher shortly after acquiring the car in 2006, but the car has never been polished because, for the vast majority of that time, it's had virtually no swirls to be concerned about polishing away. Admittedly, that's now started to change---there's a few light swirls---but I don't buy the "Well, there you go" indictment of the chamois. The never-been-polished car's now 15 years old---I would be truly astounded if it had no swirls. The few swirls I see now I believe are attributable to the process of washing.

To me, use of a clean, pre-wetted chamois seems like a harmless way of getting water (and water spots) off a newly clean car finish.
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Old 10-13-2016, 04:37 AM   #7
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I had the same thoughts a few years back bud. Basically, a chamois is incredibly smooth and it's great at absorbing water, which sounds perfect. Trouble is with them is that they're not good at trapping minor bits of dust and dirt that are naturally on the paint while the water is drying, so the chamois will push them around, swirling the paint over time. Believe it or not, this makes drying a car almost as harmful as washing it incorrectly.

A damp microfibre drying towel is designed to trap the tiny bits of dirt inside of the fibres safely, so that you're not pushing them around, while still absorbing water

So while a chamois is lovely and soft and absorbs water, it can't trap dirt inside of it. And if you think "well there shouldn't be any dirt on the car", there's tiny quantities of grit within the pours of the paint (which is what a clay bar removes) that'll still get picked up and pushed around by a chamois. This is why myself and other detailers use drying towels as opposed to a chamois. I only use a chamois for engine bays and boot shuts.

If you lay a damp and wrung out microfibre drying towel out flat on the bonnet of a wet car, then gently pull it off by the corners so that the towel is being lightly dragged on the surface, that's the best way to dry a car with a spotless finish. With the sides of the car, just fold the microfibre and brush lightly, re-folding it as you go. It's a much, much better way of drying a car, and you'll get a better result. The other added benefit of using a drying towel is that, if required, you can further lubricate the damp microfibre towel with a detailing spray (or spray wax), which will top up any wax on the car.

Hope that helps!
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Old 10-13-2016, 05:35 AM   #8
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I appreciate your well-reasoned response, and I understand what you’re saying. OTOH, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. As I mentioned, I did a lot of detailing (to include the chamois) and close inspection of the results for many years before seeing any hint of swirls. I strongly suspect my car would have as many (or possibly more) swirls had I used an alternative drying method. Part of my success may be due to the fact that often, prior to use of the chamois, I’d clay bar. I’d be the first to agree with the benefits of that process.

Additional evidence: the few swirls I now see are, in fact, just that: they “swirl”. When I use the chamois I: (1) wet it thoroughly in a bucket of water as mentioned above; (2) grab it by the two corners and pull it gently across the surface of the car (ie, basically exactly what you describe doing with the MF towel); and to finish the process, (3) I then gently dry with back and forth motions of a folded up chamois. I emphasize “back and forth”. The chamois is moved front to back, the same way air moves over the car when driven. I don’t “swirl” it in circles. That being the case, I just don’t see how the few swirls I now see can be blamed on the chamois. (Maybe I need to concentrate on washing in that manner, but that always seems like a lot of work, especially if the car is dirtier than usual when I wash it.)

I like MFs to wash because they provide a little “gentle friction” (I’ll call it) to help remove stubborn dirt. I know this goes against the commonly accepted principles of auto detailing, but I’ve always taken the “trapping of the particles” via a MF towel with a grain of salt. Personally, I think dragging a MF across the newly cleaned finish to dry it drags any remaining particles just as surely as a chamois does. I’ve certainly conducted no double-blind studies on the matter---I’d be the first to admit I could be wrong on this

Again, thanks for your input. As is usually the case, we all do what seems to work for us.
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:35 AM   #9
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Ah but when I said dragging a MF cloth, it's a damp one, so it's very safe.

Fair enough though dude! As they say, "Use what you like and use it often", which is something I've always gone by
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Old 10-14-2016, 04:25 AM   #10
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Your car looks drop dead gorgeous!!
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Old 10-14-2016, 02:38 PM   #11
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Thanks for the comments guys. I'm very proud of my car, but I have to say, I don't generally treat her very well. It spends most of its life outside. It's almost always dust covered. I clean it when I can, but with dark paint, it gets dirty very quickly. I'll dust it periodically, but that cause swirls. That is why I need to polish it from time to time. But, with that said, I wouldn't want it any other way. The reason it spends so much time outside is because I drive it every day. And what's the point in owning this car if not to drive it?
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Old 10-25-2016, 02:17 PM   #12
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25% off at Autogeek.net (no affiliation). That makes that polisher an even better buy.
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Old 10-26-2016, 06:59 AM   #13
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I would also ask when can you do mine. I still do it by hand, I’m concerned I would damage the finish with a power polisher. Being recently retired time is not a critical factor. However, the look you got is. I think I’ll see about taking a class at local Vo Tech
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Old 10-26-2016, 02:04 PM   #14
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Watch the videos and have no fear. These DA polishers are designed to not harm your paint. These are not like the high speed polishers of the past. Plus, you'll NEVER accomplish by hand what you can do with a good DA polisher.
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Old 10-26-2016, 02:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amagalla View Post
Watch the videos and have no fear. These DA polishers are designed to not harm your paint. These are not like the high speed polishers of the past. Plus, you'll NEVER accomplish by hand what you can do with a good DA polisher.


+1 on that. I had never used a polisher my whole life, until I went to a PCA detailing clinic and they let us practice on a junk hood with DA machines. Bought one from Griot's Garage, and couldn't be happier with the swirl removal and polish - especially on my dark paint. Just do it!


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Old 11-03-2016, 09:52 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by amagalla View Post
I was recently asked how I got my car so clean.



That kind of cleaning only happens once a year, if that.
You need to get a good polisher (not the ones from Sears). Here is a link to a good one (no affiliation with this site):
Porter Cable Polisher

This is probably the best value out there. Make sure you get a variety of good polishing pads, and a good polish. There are some kits on the Autogeek site that package the Porter Cable with some pads. I like the $229 kit. I use a lot of Meguiars stuff. I start with the Meguiars 105 polish then move to either the Meguiars 205 polish or Meguiars Ultimate polish. Then apply your favorite wax.

Here is what I typically do:

1. wash the car
2. clay bar the car to remove surface contaminants. This is important. The car should feel smooth as glass at this point
3. Polish: Meguiars 105 on an orange pad(for deeper swirls)
4. Polish: Meguiars 205 on a white pad(for light swirls)
And/Or
5. (Optional) Polish: Meguiars ultimate polish on a Grey/Black pad
6. (Optional) Klasse Sealant/Polish on a blue pad
7. P21S Carnauba wax (easy on, easy off)


The Meguiars 205 and Ultimate polishes are very similar products. The 205 has more micro-abrasives to remove light swirls; the Ultimate has more oils for a deeper shine. Sometimes I need one and not the other. Sometimes I need both.

Here is a good video on how to polish your car:
Polshing tips

Good luck

Tony
Hello Tony,

Thanks for the informative write up. It took me awhile to get the equipment and products to try and duplicate your results. This was my first practice attempt using a polisher and was highly satisfied with the results. I sort of went a cheaper route and just used the white pad that came with the polisher. I did a one stage polish with Meguiars Ultimate Polish. I initially started polishing in sections and in the end got lazy. Next time I will be more patient and try different pads with multi stage polishing. Not as good as your results but a noticeably difference from before.

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