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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-02-2002, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Machine Waxing 101

As per request below are the basics of waxing your car with a power tool

I can’t really say I am a professional at this…I have never done it for a living and mostly do just my own cars. But I have owned a random orbital buffer for about 5 years and have had great results over that time and have never ruined a finish. I highly recommend a buffer for anyone and everyone who waxes their car regularly.

Orbital Buffer 101

There are two different types of buffing....rotary and random orbital.
They cost anywhere from $30 - $400 or more. In the case of buffers personally I do not think high price is necessarily better. I highly recommend a random orbital buffer for beginners. Professionals generally use rotary buffers. Rotary buffers end results are generally better but there is much greater risk of burning the surface with a rotary buffer. Because rotary buffer's focus their energy only on one area, the device heats up both the wax and the top one-third of the clear coat so that you not only get a better bonding of the wax to the surface, you also have a better, more consistent shine. The risk comes from too much heat which will either burn the surface or strip away your clear coat. In either case, you've got a VERY expensive mistake on your hands. A random orbital device runs at a faster speed, but more closely duplicates the motion of the hand...never focusing on the precise same point for more than a few milliseconds, thereby minimizing any chance for damage to your vehicle's paint surface.

There are three general configurations of buffers.
 Palm buffers – light weight, smaller, one handed machines
 Wheel buffers – most common, look somewhat like a steering wheel, most common random orbital.
 Right Angle buffers – typically rotary buffer, professional models.

I am only going to write about random orbital buffers from this point forward. Leave the rotary machines for the pros.

Keys to use:
1 Clean/wash the car first. The last thing you want is to buff any dirt.
2 When you buy a buffer get a few wax application pads…sell them right next to the buffers. You want a few because you do not want to mix products on the same pad (cleaner, polish, wax)
3 Always clean the pad before using. Old wax build up on a pad can cause swirl marks or scratches.
4 For buffing I personally hand wipe off a majority of the wax and then use a wool bonnet or acrylic/wool bonnet to polish. Again when removing wax you always want to use clean towels.
5 With a buffer you should use about 50% less wax than if you were doing it by hand. You are far better off doing two very thin coats of wax rather than a thick coat.
6 Key with the buffer is to just run it evenly over the surface with light pressure (barely any is needed). Never hold the buffer in the exact same spot for an extended time. If you are working on a trouble spot move the buffer over the spot for multiple passes.
7 Never wax a car in direct hot sunlight. The surface temperature of the car should be less than 90 degrees. If you feel the need to wax in the heat do not use as much pressure when applying/buffing and do small areas at a time so the wax does not bake on.
8 If there is any streaking after polishing a damp towel over the surface and then buffed with a clean dry towel should clean any streaks and provide even a brighter shine.
9 You really have to try and screw up the paint job if you are using a random orbital buffer…as long as you use common sense you should have no problems.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-02-2002, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Waxing Basics: There are really three basic step to keeping you paint looking its best.
Cleaning: is a product used to remove wax buildup, surface contaminants, oxidation, molecular crud from the base coat. If you take good care of your car cleaning really only needs to done once a year. Think of it as a spring cleaning. Make sure the cleaner is clear coat safe or you will be very unhappy.
Polishing: polishing is used to remove fine scratches and swirls. What polishing does is to first create a myriad of small, microscopic scratches on the paint's surface while filling in some of the deeper scratches as well. The desired microscopic "scratches" are designed to increase the amount of reflected light and follows the same principle as anything else that it polished....floors, diamonds. It is the combination of the microscopic scratch creation, filling of the deeper scratches and the replenishment of the paint's critical oils that build a car's surface shine. It can be said that polishes create the shine, while waxes provide the protection. Polishing should be done 2-3 times a year. A lot depends on the color of your car…black cars are notorious for swirls and should be polished more often.
Waxing: Provides a thin layer of protectant to the car. Waxes generally have some polishing properties also. Wax can last anywhere from 1-4 months depending on weather conditions and color of the car. Heat breaks down wax so generally darker color cars break down wax quicker. Rain/snow etc…also lessen the longevity of wax. Generally there are two different types of wax…Carnuba based natural waxes and polymer based waxes. Carnuba waxes generally shine better but polymers last longer. Polymers are great for the summer months as they are not effected by heat.


Whew! You didn't think keeping a car looking like new would be such work....It's NOT, if you know what you're doing, have the right equipment and keep a regular schedule of body maintenance. This means washing your car weekly, waxing it quarterly and polishing it every six months…

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-02-2002, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Some links:

Everything you ever wanted to know about buffers, waxes, cleaning materials, paint...everything about paint care. Especially the Wen site has everything you can ever think of...stole a lot of the stuff I wrote above from this web site.

http://www.wenproducts.com/carcaretips.htm

http://www.meguiars.com/secrets.cfm

Some of the better buffers/polishers

http://www.wenproducts.com/buffers_polishers.htm

http://www.meguiars.com/product_show...cfm?SrcLine=CT

http://search.shopping.yahoo.com/sea...er&tool=0&did=

Personally I think any of $40-$100 dollar buffers you can find in auto parts stores do a decent job.

You are well on your way to using some of Meguiars professional products designed to be used with machine only. :bigsmile:

Hope this helps a person or two...the big thing is do not be intimidated by the thought of using a buffer. Many of us have been told you will screw up your paint...take off the clear coat...blah blah blah. With a random orbital buffer you would really need to try to screw it up...they are very safe for anyone with half a brain.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-02-2002, 02:33 PM
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Also I tip i have is to do your waxing/polishing under a streetlight(sp?) if you can. For some reason you can see swirls and scratches you would normaly never see.
I'm also talking about a street light that is one of the more brown colours and make sure its on and dark out.

Last edited by FunkRider; 08-02-2002 at 02:38 PM.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2002, 08:07 AM
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Good stuff Chicago, and thanks!

I've done a little invistigation since asking for a tutorial from you, and came up with some good stuff too. When I have a little more time I'll re-post what I've found, along with a couple of questions.

Thanks again!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2002, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Just machine polished my R/T last night...it is still a lot of work using a buffer. Applying the polish is faster than by hand but removing really ends up taking about as long. I wipe it down by hand first then go over it with a wool pad and then take a clean towel and finish it off. Great results though.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2002, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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If you do one thing check out this web site...

http://www.wenproducts.com/carcaretips.htm
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2002, 10:14 PM
 
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Excellent stuff! Just a few tips from my experience...

1. After the car gas been thoroughly washed and dried, use a soft sponge applicator to get wax into the tight spots (behind door handles, under mirrors, grill areas, etc.) and around the trim pieces, moldings, etc. Then use the buffer to cover the open places (hood, roof, doors, etc. After you've removed the wax (also with the buffer), just take a small terry towel to the tight spots again.

2. Stick with the polymer waxes (NuPolish, Prestone Bullet Wax, Liquid Glass, etc...) Carnauba is great for car shows, but it lasts all of a week in the real world. It breaks down at like 150 degrees, where the polymers can take 300+ degrees. (Interesting trivia... dark metallic green is the hottest colour, hotter than black. They did some tests in Phoenix.) Also, the polymers can be applied in direct sunlight, and the longer you can let it sit on your paint, the better. Also comes off easy... a little dustier than normal waxes, but the finish is spectacular.

Just my two cents...

Brian
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-17-2002, 11:28 AM
 
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Stay off the sharp edges with the buffer wheel as much as possible. By sharp edges I mean the top of the front fenders where they turn towards the hood. Don't want to burn through the clear coat.
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